thinking design,

creative solutions

4 Key Differences Between Interior Design and Interior Decorating

Whether redecorating your home or starting from scratch, it is vital to understand the key differences between interior design and interior decorating. Do you need help picking out new furniture for your home? Are you unsure what style to go with or which colors will work well together? If so, you might consider hiring an interior designer or decorator. How do you know which one is right for you and your home? 

These two services are often confused, but they are actually quite different. But what’s the difference between the two? Keep reading to learn about the four key ways interior design and interior decorating differ.

What is Interior Design?

The practice of improving a building’s interior through art and science to produce a comfortable, functional, and appealing atmosphere for those using the space is known as interior design. A person who designs, researches, coordinates, and manages such improvement projects is known as an interior designer.

The goal of interior design is to take into account the characteristics of the space and the desired style to create the most functional arrangement possible that maximizes a room’s potential for use and aesthetics. An interior designer will sometimes work with your contractor to re-design your home’s interior to create the layout and functionality you desire.

What is Interior Decorating?

The act of furnishing a space with visually pleasant items like furniture, wall coverings, accessories, rugs, and more is known as interior decorating. Instead of working with architects to design new interior spaces, interior decorators enhance those that already exist.

Interior designers are comparable to personal stylists. They decorate and furnish the house and create an atmosphere in a manner consistent with the tastes of their clients. Decorators use paint, fabric, furniture, and accessories to alter a space’s visual appeal.

Brilliant Staging and Design is a well-known company from Seattle that offers interior design, interior decorating, and staging services for their clients, regardless of your needs. The professionals at Brilliant Staging and Design will help you decide which type of services you require for what you

wish to achieve. You can learn more about Interior Design and Interior Decorating services by visiting our website.

Now that you know what each of these services provides let’s discuss how the role of an Interior Designer and an Interior Decorator influences these services and differentiates them.

Interior Design vs. Interior Decorating

Function vs. Form

The first key difference between interior design and interior decorating is function vs. form. Interior design is about creating a functional and comfortable space that meets the homeowner’s specific needs. This might include things like reconfiguring walls, adding or removing doors or windows, even designing a custom kitchen layout that makes meal prep or entertaining easier, or coming up with a floor plan that maximizes the space in a small apartment. 

On the other hand, interior decorating is all about making a space look good. It’s all about choosing the right furniture, accessories, and color schemes to create a stylish and inviting space. An interior decorator will work within the existing layout of a space and simply help you choose new furnishings and décor. Decorating can be done in any type of home, regardless of size or layout.


Although there are no formal education requirements for becoming an interior decorator, most interior designers have at least an associate’s degree in interior design. Some even have a bachelor’s degree or higher. On the other hand, an interior decorator does not need formal education and can instead learn through on-the-job training or by completing a short course.

In addition to their education, many states require that interior designers be licensed. Although this isn’t always the case, it is something to keep in mind when choosing between an interior designer and an interior decorator and what kind of expertise you wish to have present in your home project.

Scope of Services

Another key difference between these two services is the scope of services offered. Interior designers are licensed professionals who are qualified to develop floor plans, select finishes, and oversee construction projects. Decorators, on the other hand, do not typically have these responsibilities. Interior Designers have a wealth of knowledge about color theory, furniture styles, how architecture plays a role, and more.

Interior designers also have access to trade-only resources like fabrics, furniture, and flooring that most people don’t have. This means they can often get their hands on high-quality materials at a fraction of what you might spend if you went out and bought them yourself.

Interior decorators do not usually offer as many services as designers. Most decorators will help you shop for furniture and accessories and maybe even help you with things like hanging pictures or arranging your furniture. But they typically don’t offer services like floor plan design or custom window treatments.

Cost of Service

Another key difference between these two services is the fees charged. Because interior designers offer more comprehensive services than decorators, they usually charge higher fees. Often, designers charge an hourly rate for their services, which can range from $50 to $250 per hour, depending on their experience level. Some interior designers may also charge a flat fee or a percentage of the total project cost. However, because they have access to trade discounts, they may be able to save you money in the long run by helping you get your hands on high-quality materials at a fraction of the retail cost. 

Interior decorators’ hourly rates tend to be lower than those of designers, ranging from $25 to $100 per hour. Decorators may also charge a flat fee based on the size and complexity of the project. 

The cost of services varies widely between these two professions and services. Some factors that can affect the cost of services include the size of the project, the location of the project, and whether you are working with an individual designer or a design firm. All in all, due to their service and expertise, you can expect to pay more for interior design services than you would for interior decorating services.


Both interior design and interior decorating can be great ways to refresh your home. Still, it’s beneficial to understand and keep these key differences in mind before hiring someone to help you. Generally speaking, if you need help making your space more functional, if you want to completely redesign your living space or build a new home from scratch, you will need to hire an interior designer. But if you’re mainly concerned with aesthetics and are simply looking to update your décor with new furniture or a new theme for your space, then hiring an interior decorator will likely suffice. 

No matter the route you choose to go, be sure to do your research to find a professional who meets your specific needs and budget requirements. Homeowners, real estate agents, and contractors can all benefit from these services and are encouraged to explore the endless possibilities of hiring a professional to help in the process of making your home more appealing when redecorating, remodeling, staging, or selling your home.

Brilliant Staging and Design is an excellent option for those in the Snohomish and King County region. We offer various home decorating and design services that are sure to fit your remodeling or redecorating needs. We have a brilliantly skilled team of professionals who is happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding Snohomish and King county interior design services and what we have to offer for your next home project! Contact us today, and let us lead you through the process of beautifying and personalizing your home.

More Ideas