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There's a Big Difference Between Interior Designers and Interior Decorators

If you're thinking about buying new furniture and accessories for your living room that's one thing. But if you're talking about knocking down a wall to enlarge your dining room and you want to add on another bathroom, too, that's another. One requires the services of an interior decorator but the other means you'll need to start interviewing interior designers. Many people don't know which is which. Do you?

Interior Decorators are people who help you redecorate you home. They help you choose fabrics and finishes and paint colors that will give you the look you want for your existing room just as it is. They'll suggest different furniture arrangements and help you pick out new accessories or artwork. But they will not physically alter the dimensions of your room, even though they may be able to make it look bigger, or they may be able to actually give you more space by arranging the furniture in a different way.

Interior Designers are usually brought in while the house or office space is being designed, before it's even built. Or, if you're adding a room onto your home, you might want to consult an interior designer to make sure you're making the best use of the space.

Home builders generally have a designer on staff to consult with their clients before they start building the home. The designer works from the blueprints up, listening to the buyer's concerns. The buyer may want more closet space than what's called for in the plans, or perhaps a larger kitchen or an extra bath. But overall, the dimensions of the house still stay the same. So it's up to the designer then to work these changes into the blueprints in such a way that they make the buyer happy, but they don't affect the structural integrity of the home.

Interior Designers and interior decorators do occasionally overlap in the services they provide. And you'll need the services of both when you're building a new home. For example, your designer will need to know that you're planning on a king-size bed so he doesn't put the closet door in the middle of the wall. You decorator will need to know that your designer is knocking out a wall to make room for a fireplace so he doesn't plan bookcases for that spot.

But generally you'll use the services of the designer before your house is built to make sure everything you want in your home is there and that it's all functional. And after it's built, you'll use the services of the decorator to help you make your home an expression of you and your family.

Here's an easy way to remember the difference. When you design something, that means you're creating something new. So designers are involved in creating your space. When you decorate something, that means you're adorning something that already exists. So interior decorators are involved in adorning your room, or putting the finishing touches on it, after it's already been built.

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