Design and decorating are often assumed to mean the same thing; however, these two terms cannot be used interchangeably. This is something you should take into account if you are looking to redo your home and are seeking to find a professional interior designer. As there is a distinct difference between what a designer and decorator are, this article reveals this difference.

Top view of houses made out of wood blocks

What is Design?

Design is the process that goes beyond just making a space aesthetically pleasing to look at. It focuses on how functional the space is, according to its architecture and structure.  The process of designing involves a well-coordinated and systematic methodology in making a space practical and liveable. A designer will go through the creative process of analysing and researching how the space will satisfy the client’s daily needs in a way that is beneficial to the client’s quality of life. Additionally, designers also look at the physical location and social context of where the space is located to ensure their structural design complements its surroundings. Design is therefore a balance between aesthetics and living in a home intended for functionality and liveability. 

What is Decorating?

Decorating can be part of the design process; however, it can also be a task down without the restructuring of a space. Decorating focuses solely on the aesthetics of a space and how the space can reach its full potential visually. This process of decorating begins by firstly examining the existing environment then adjusting the space to fit a specific style. These could include styles (or aesthetics) like Scandinavian, Hamptons, French Provincial, Mid-century modern, Industrial, Eclectic, and so on. The decorator, therefore, focuses on how the space makes visual sense and whether it is pleasing to look at. 

The Difference between Design and Decoration

As the work of the designer involves technical aspects, they need grounded knowledge of various materials and architecture. A designer, therefore, should be well-informed about colour and fabric, computer-aided design (CAD) training, drawing, space planning, furniture design, etc. They are required to draw up floor plans and reorganize the structure of a space to enhance its functionality. So, formal training or schooling for a designer is essential.

The decorator on the other hand, does not require any formal training as their work does not involve renovations or structural planning. The decorator only looks at the surface of the space and how they can reorganize the space according to the appropriate style, colour scheme, furniture, and accessories best suited to the space as well as the client’s needs.

The Importance of Interior Design and Decorating 

Without proper design and decorating effort, a space will not be able to reach its full potential. This can make a space unliveable, impractical which may become a hindrance to the client’s daily life. In contrast, when proper planning is done, good design and decorating enhance the space by adding value to its structure when it uses space efficiently and is well-used by the client.