Contrary to many people’s belief, these job titles are not interchangeable, and a few critical differences can have a major impact on your office design project. Sometimes confused with interior decorating, the profession of interior design requires specialized training that extends beyond decorations to issues of employee safety, efficiency, and public welfare.

According to the Council for Interior Design Qualification “qualified by means of education, experience, and examination, interior designers have a moral and ethical responsibility to protect consumers and occupants through the design of code compliant, accessible, and inclusive interior environments that address well-being, while considering the complex physical, mental, and emotional needs of people.”


There are many distinctions between interior designers and interior decorators, but the biggest one is training. Interior Designers have more comprehensive expertise than Decorators. Interior Design is a specialized career and requires a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design, internships within the field, and licensing and certifications in most states.

Interior Decorators focus mainly on the aesthetic details of an office space, which does not require formal education or standardized training.


A large part of what an Interior Designer focuses on is space planning. This process includes an extensive analysis of how the space is being used, the needs of your employees, and functional changes that should be made in a redesign. This includes changing the layout to achieve better efficiency throughout the space. Along with space planning, designers specialize in architectural drawings, sight lines, acoustics, color schemes, styles and motifs, city and building codes, furniture, fabrics, and everything in between. Designers also manage your project by working with general contractors, architects, and landlords.

Decorators are not usually involved in the planning or design of an office space because their role takes place after all architectural work has been finished. Interior decorators can handle aesthetic tasks such as selecting color schemes, window treatments and wall coverings, purchasing new decorative items and furniture, and hanging wall art. They can help you bring a new look to your existing space.

When To Hire

You should hire an interior designer for your office if you’re relocating your office or working on an office remodel that requires professional expertise beyond aesthetics.  If you plan to make any structural or functional changes; or are redoing a room like a kitchen or bathroom. They will help you redesign your space from top to bottom; and manage the project by working with contractors for you.

Hiring an interior decorator might be the right choice if you just need cosmetic changes to your office. Decorators can be another set of eyes to help bring your design inspiration to life.

Interior designers are more expensive, but they have unparalleled expertise when it comes to creating efficient, functional, and stunning office spaces. Interior decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with beautiful things. In other words, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design.

Still unsure if an interior designer is right for your renovation project?  Give us a call for a free consultation.

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