Choosing Between Interior Designers and Decorators

Back to List

Interior designers and interior decorators help people redesign rooms, but they have very different qualifications and responsibilities. Before you start on a home improvement project, determine if you need an interior designer, decorator or home designer.

Interior Designers

Interior designers have more formal training than interior decorators. Interior designers must obtain a four-year Bachelor of Interior Design degree, and many go on to study at the graduate level.

Interior designers focus on more than just a room's appearance. They also consider the function of the room, and how people use their surroundings. Because interior design includes architectural training, interior designers can also work with a home's basic structure, adding or removing walls, doors and windows. For projects that involve changing the physical structure of a room, you should work with interior designers.

Interior Decorators

In contrast, interior decorators work only with a room's appearance. Interior decorators may have earned two-year associate degrees, but some have no formal training.

Interior decorators work with paint, flooring, furnishings and artwork, but cannot alter a room's physical structure. Interior designers can perform all the tasks of interior decorators, but the reverse is not true.

Home Designers

Home designers are individuals with some architectural training. Although not architects, home designers are trained to design single-family homes. You might hire home designers to plan a home from the ground up, or contract home designers to plan an addition to an existing home.

Finding Interior Decorators and Designers

Whether you're looking for interior designers, decorators or home designers, your search will take you along the same paths. You may be able to get recommendations from family, friends or coworkers who have contracted designers. A search through the local Yellow Pages can turn up the names of local designers.

Interior decorators and designers may have individual websites, or list their services in searchable online databases. You can also ask your Chamber of Commerce for local designers, or ask for recommendations from building associations and local home improvement contractors.

Once you locate potential designers, be sure to interview them to see if they match your needs. Interior design and decorating should be a fun activity, and one in which you are actively involved. Designers who dismiss your plans out-of-hand are probably not a good fit. Ask to see portfolios and examples of the designer's work, and always check interior decorator or designer references.

Need More Help?

If you need professional help with your project, LendingTree Home Pros can help.

The good news is that LendingTree Home Pros maintains a directory of home service professionals and can match you with a home pro in your area. All the home pros listed in the LendingTree Home Pros directory are properly licensed and insured and are backed by a $10,000 money-back guarantee!

Let LendingTree Home Pros help you find a pro today!

Back to List