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Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator

The terms interior designer and interior decorator are often used interchangeably, even though there are significant differences between the two. While we love adding in furnishings and accessories and final details, that is only a small part of what we do as interior designers in Sarasota. So what is the difference between an interior designer vs. interior decorator, and when should you use an interior designer? 

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What is an interior designer?

While the laws may vary by state, generally to call yourself a licensed interior designer you must have a bachelor’s degree, extensive hours of work experience, and be certified through the NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification). For interior designers in Florida, you must be registered to work in commercial spaces. Make sure you are working with a registered interior designer (like us!). 

Interior designers are skilled in spatial planning. We focus not just on the look of a space but also the function. This is a key difference between designers and decorators. An interior designer works closely with architects to design the interior space and has a good amount of experience within the construction field to achieve the look our clients want, whether that is a home, office, hotel, or any other type of interior space. Decoration, or decorating, on the other hand, is the furnishing of a space with beautiful or fashionable things while working within its functionality. 

Another important difference is interior designers are involved in the project from beginning to end, where interior decorators are typically only brought in at the end. Designers study people’s needs to create functional, structural living or work spaces to satisfy those demands. Decorators furnish interior spaces with furniture and accessories, creating an aesthetic environment. As a result, interior designers may decorate, but decorates are not permitted to design. 

We also must have expertise in building codes, Life Safety, health and well-being, ADA Guidelines, sustainability, construction, technical drawings, project management, lighting design, and more. As you can tell, there is a lot more to interior design than just what you see in the pretty photos on Instagram!

What is an interior decorator?

To be an interior decorator does not require formal schooling, as an interior decorator only works with the surface look of a space. They can help with color selections, furniture, style, furnishings, and accessories.

When should you use an interior designer?

As you may have guessed, interior designer rates are typically higher than an interior decorator due to the level of experience and education you are receiving. If you are building a new home or office or doing a full remodel, having the expertise of an interior designer is essential to making sure the space turns out the way you envision. From Plans to Pillows, start with a designer in the planning phase to make sure your space is just the way you want it. 

Those are some of the key differences between interior designer vs. interior decorator. Here at Trade Mark Interiors, we go even a step further with our unique background in psychology. While psychology and design may not seem complementary, they absolutely are! Tracee’s background in psychology comes in handy in a few key areas. Particularly when working with couples, they may not always see eye-to-eye on how they want their house to look. We are good at managing multiple perspectives and really understanding what our clients truly want. Also. the way an interior is laid out and designed can impact our mood. Having a psychology background helps with deciding on layouts and colors that have a positive impact. Our Sarasota interior designers have over 20 years of experience to make your home or workplace even better than what you envision.

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If you are looking to build a new home or remodel your current home, Trade Mark Interiors is here for you! Our interior designers in Sarasota specialize in creating beautiful spaces that reflect Your Style of Living and Working. Contact us to schedule your consultation. 

Do you have any questions about Interior Design? Each Wednesday we are doing a Designer Q&A on our Instagram to answer all your questions!