INTERIOR DESIGNER & DECORATORS

The terms interior designer and interior decorator sometimes are used synonymously, but each has its own job description and function. Designers study people’s needs to create functional, structural living or work spaces to satisfy those demands. Decorators furnish interior spaces with furniture and accessories, creating an aesthetic environment. An interior designer must obtain a license to practice, but an interior decorator isn’t required to do so. As a result, interior designers may decorate, but decorators are not permitted to design.

Interior Designer

An interior designer creates interior living or work spaces to accommodate people’s needs. A designer problem-solves difficult structural living arrangements to create spaces that enhance residents’ qualities of life. According to the Patty and Rusty Rueff School of Performing and Visual Arts at Purdue University, interior designers must adhere to code and regulatory requirements, encouraging environmental sustainability. An interior designer researches, analyzes and plans interior layouts to make them physically, socially and aesthetically functional. Students in Purdue’s interior design program develop analytical skills to plan commercial, institutional, health-care, retail, and residential interiors. Modern technology and advanced computer programs allow interior designers to create virtual living areas before finalizing them for development or construction.

Interior Decorator

Interior decorators don’t create interior spaces; they embellish interior spaces that already exist. “Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable or beautiful things.” An interior decorator often paints walls, hangs wallpaper, selects and places furniture, installs window treatments, and adds accessories such as throw rugs, lamps, throw pillows and wall art to a room. An interior decorator doesn’t knock out walls or structurally change the layout of an interior space. An interior decorator often uses her skills to adorn a living space once an interior designer has made necessary structural or functional changes.