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What’s the Difference Between a Designer & a Decorator?

If you’ve been researching different home remodeling companies in Dallas, you might have used the terms “interior designer” and “interior decorator” interchangeably. It’s time to set the record straight: designers and decorators are not the same things.

What’s the difference? And which title should you look for when hiring a remodeling company? Let’s find out.

Designer vs. Decorator: Job Description

Interior designers decorate—but decorators do not design.

Interior decorators have an eye for aesthetics and making an existing space feel a certain way. They focus on improving the appearance of a home with cosmetic changes only.

Would it surprise you to learn that interior design is only 10% decorating? Most of a designer’s job entails dealing with the building’s space planning, ergonomics, function, structural integrity, health and safety, code compliance, and environmental factors. Choosing furniture, paint colors, and window coverings are just the final touches of an entire project devoted to making sure a newly constructed or redesigned building is safe and accessible.

Designer vs. Decorator: Education Level

Interior designers need six years of training to begin their careers—decorators need none.

There’s no such thing as a college degree to become an interior decorator. Someone with an eye for decorating can start a career without any schooling whatsoever. This is why people who use the terms “designer” and “decorator” interchangeably assume a degree in interior design is easy and pointless.

However, to start their career, designers must complete six years of preparation. The traditional career path involves earning a four-year Bachelor’s degree (preferably at a school accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation) and gaining two years of work experience under a licensed designer or architect. Before they can start designing for clients on their own, designers must pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam.

Designer vs. Decorator: Form Follows Function 

Decorators make rooms beautiful—designers make rooms functional.

There’s a saying in the interior design world that “form follows function.” This means the way a space works for the people using it is more important than the way it looks. You might hire a decorator to make a room look spotless for the cover of a home and garden magazine, but you’ll certainly want a designer’s expertise to make sure the room functions the way it should.

This is difficult to understand when you think of the basic function of a living room. But consider the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room. These utilitarian spaces require a particular layout for the best function and traffic flow.

Also, consider other buildings in your community. After all, designers don’t just make homes comfortable, beautiful, and functional – they also design schools, hospitals, car dealerships, grocery stores, movie theaters, and every other commercial and hospitality venue you can think of. Their careful attention to detail is what ensures the bathroom stall door swings the right way; the spacing in the movie theater maximizes seating without compromising comfort; the lighting in the grocery store makes everything easy to see; the ventilation in the school keeps students comfortable while minimizing heating and cooling bills; and countless other factors you take for granted.

Work With an Interior Designer at Hatfield (now Alair Homes- Plano) Builders & Remodelers!

We have a team of licensed, experienced interior designers available to help you transform your home’s interior through in-depth remodeling projects. Check out their experience and profiles here!  The new flooring and paint color is just the icing on the cake!

Ready to work with an award-winning design and remodeling company? Then contact Hatfield (now Alair Homes- Plano) Builders & Remodelers online or call us at 214-281-8800 to speak with one of our designers today!

Posted on: February 22, 2017
THE HATFIELD (now Alair Homes- Plano) PROCESSLearn More >>
  • 1
    Initial Meetings
  • 2
    Space Measurement
  • 3
    Project Selection Meeting
  • 4
    Design Package Review
  • 5
    Initial Budget Review
  • 6
    Selection Finalization
  • 7
    Construction Agreement & Deposit
  • 8
    Pre-Construction Hand-Off Meeting
  • 9
    Start of Construction