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Interior decorator and interior designer: two different positions

Interior design is a discipline in itself. Whether a change in style is required for a new room or an existing one, there is always a debate about the best person to contact. Would it be better to ask an interior decorator or an interior designer? In fact, both of these professions are primarily focused on interior design and therefore possess strong expertise in the field. However, there are many discrepancies between the two specialities, which manifest themselves differently in their respective fields.


Decorator or interior designer: two very distinct training courses


The training required for one or the other career path is a first fundamental difference between the two professions. In order to obtain a professional qualification, the interior designer will have to get a bachelor or a master’s degree in architecture, specialising in the design of interior spaces. In fact, this curriculum is essential to gain a general knowledge of design and trends, but also to know how to use the design software and acquire a certain amount of technical knowledge.

Conversely, the interior decorator can theoretically practice their profession without any training whatsoever. Nevertheless, not everyone can become an interior decorator. Indeed, this activity requires a certain aesthetic instinct, as well as a solid general knowledge of interior design. With the increasing importance of this function, diploma courses in interior design have emerged, and can be very useful for those wishing to embark into this field. This is exacerbated by the fact that these courses are accessible both in initial training and as part of a specialisation, or even a conversion course, which offers a certain level of flexibility in your career.


The interior designer: a specialist for the layout of your property’s rooms


In general, an interior designer will be mandated by their client to work on the layout and ergonomics of the rooms of a building, whether it is an apartment, a house or corporate offices. However, they are not allowed to modify the structure of the building, nor to touch the load-bearing walls, while performing their functions. Thus, their role will focus on ensuring that the converted space is welcoming, functional, comfortable, while sticking to the aesthetic requirements desired by the client.

As a master of space layout, the interior designer can add or remove partitions, while playing with lighting and the choice of materials used. Finally, it may be necessary to decide on the location and distribution of furniture, or even working on their general design by modifying their shapes, lines or colours. To conclude, the interior designer is the true thought leader for the layout and distribution of spaces for a room, with an extended mandate that leads them to propose and carry out works.

The interior decorator is more focused on the aesthetics of your property


Unlike the interior designer, the interior decorator does not have a mandate for the technical layout of the space. In that respect, he doesn’t order work to change the distribution of the interior of a room. As its name implies, the interior decorator role will be dedicated to the decoration of a space, in which he will be able to give advice thanks to his/her design culture and knowledge of the latest trends. The interior decorator will act primarily according to the style of decoration desired by their client.

To optimise the aesthetic aspect of a room, the interior decorator will work on the choice of furniture and their layout. This role can lead to advice on the choice of the coating of the room, as well as the colours and materials most capable of enhancing the aesthetics of an interior. By respecting the style desired by the project sponsor, the interior decorator can advise on the choice of decorative accessories, whether it is curtains, lights, textiles, furniture or the colour of the walls. Thus, the mandate of the interior decorator is primarily focused on the visual aspect of the room.


Interior design is at the centre of these two professions


In conclusion, interior designer and decorator trades have quite specific functional distinctions. While the interior designer works mainly on the optimisation of the space and the technical aspect of its layout, the interior decorator refines the visual aspect of an interior. However, these two types of specialists may have very similar areas of work.


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