Interior Design and Interior Decorating can sometimes be used interchangeably, so knowing the differences might not be so apparent. Each play their part in the design process, just in different ways.

Interior Decorating

Interior decorating is all about making a space more aesthetically pleasing and functionally useful for the inhabitants. Anyone who has been involved in decorating a home or office has been involved in interior decorating.

An interior designer is someone who is hired to design a space. While this job may seem like simply choosing paint and placing furniture there’s actually much more to it. Interior designers take part in the conceptual development and execution of their design. They often are involved in site visits and working with construction management especially when it comes to large commercial buildings. You can hire an interior designer to redecorate a room in your house or to help you completely remodel it. When it comes to large remodeling jobs hiring an interior designer will help ensure that you get the maximum amount of use out of the space you have.

Interior Designing

An interior designer’s main objective is create the look, feel, and style of indoor spaces. To do this they need artistic skills that let them pair colors, shapes, textures, and sizes in their imagination. They also need the technical skills to understand building structure, building codes, wiring, and plumbing so that they can make their design fit within the physical limitations of a space.

On top of this, they need the people skills to communicate their ideas and manage any accompanying workers who will create the vision. An interior designer will spend time noting the electrical sockets on a technical sketch, working with electricians to rewire for a ceiling fan, and helping clients envision the final outcome. On a high level overview the interior designer needs to envision what an interior space could become, communicate that vision to the client, then manage the actualization of the vision.

Most designers work on a mix of residential and commercial properties which range from living rooms to restaurants to the conversion of industrial factories into residential lofts. And while a great sense of style is obviously helpful, there are many different areas within this field in which they can specialize.

What’s the Difference? Comparing Designers & Decorators

According to NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) as well as other sources, the biggest difference appears to be level of involvement with technical aspects of the building as well as coordination with builders or construction contractors.

They explain the difference between the two in the following way…

Many people use the terms “interior design” and “interior decorating” interchangeably, but these professions differ in critical ways. Interior design is the art and science of understanding people’s behavior to create functional spaces within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable or beautiful things*. In short, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design. Interior designers apply creative and technical solutions within a structure that are functional, attractive and beneficial to the occupants’ quality of life and culture. Designs respond to and coordinate with the building shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project. Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability. The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology—including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process—to satisfy the needs and resources of the client.

Here at Norwest we have an in-house interior design team. This means easy coordination and a streamlined process. The ability to develop and integrate a design plan with engineers and technicians is very important and takes into account every important factor that goes into maximizing an office or business space. This means getting both a great design as well as the greatest possible use with convenience, practicality and beauty all in one.