People often use the terms interior design and interior decoration interchangeably but this is not correct. The two are different, although can be related. An interior designer may do some decorating but an interior decorator does not do designing. Let’s explore how these two fields differ and how they relate.
Interior design is considered a science. Design takes knowledge of how people interact with a particular environment and design spaces that make things easier and more productive. This may include the layout of a home or office or get into minute details of where outlets are most efficient within a room. Interior design takes into account things like lifestyle and culture to create an environment that makes daily tasks more efficient. In order to be considered an interior designer, you need to take courses and a licensing test. Interior design is based on research and analysis of how people interact with each other and their environment.
Interior decoration is the art of choosing colors, patterns, and furnishings that reflect the kind of mood a person wants to convey in an environment. The main role of a decorator is to make the area beautiful and reflect the personality of the occupants, or at least the personality they wish to present. There are no requirements for an interior decorator to set up business. Interior decoration is based on having a sense of what elements work well together to create a pleasing environment. A knowledge of mood creation with color and an understanding of feeling psychology come in handy.
Interior designers work with the architect on a project. They are concerned with such things as how the lighting provides safety throughout an area, how practical it is to have a bathroom located in a certain area and how the set up of appliances works in a kitchen. For example, does having the outlets for a stove near a sink make things easier or more difficult for the user and how practical is it to set up a breakfast nook here instead of there. The designer considers things like how one area easily flows into the other, making the course of the day easier to navigate through.
Once a building is designed, the interior decorator comes in. The designer consults with occupants to find out what their likes and dislikes are, what kind of feeling they want to convey, such as coziness, professionalism, or excitement. Choosing colors for floors and walls, furnishings for each room, and accessories to bring the look together, the decorator creates a feeling within the living or working space. While the designer determined that lighting needed to be in a certain hallway, the decorator determines what kind of covering looks best on the lighting.
Together, the interior designer and the interior decorator can create an environment that is not only practical but also beautiful. One is concerned with the physical and the other with the emotional, but it all comes together to create a whole environment that is productive, comfortable, and pleasing for the occupants.