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The Difference Between a Decorator and An Interior Designer

Last modified: 2022-08-09 | Approximate reading time 2 mins

Whether it’s your home, condo, or apartment, it’s normal to want to change your decor after a while, and even more so if you’ve just moved in. However, although you hope to do it on your own, you may not have the time or the imagination, and a helping hand can never hurt.

Decor and interior design are 2 professions that seem similar but have very different characteristics. When you’re not familiar with their specifics, it’s normal to mix these two up. Of course, if you’re looking to hire someone, it’s important to understand the differences between these professions in order to best suit your needs and the scope of the project.

plan avec crayons_plan with crayons

The difference between a decorator and an interior designer

First of all, it’s good to establish your needs and expectations: does your project require major physical changes or simple aesthetic modifications? Is it renovation or decoration?

Here are some examples that will define an interior decor project:

  • Painting and arrangement of accessories in the room ; 
  • Redefine or rearrange the furniture in your rooms;
  • Change or add accessories (curtains, carpets, door handles, etc.);
  • Choice and knowledge of the textures and patterns of your furniture and accessories.

Here are some examples that will define an interior design project:

  • Modifications, changes or resurfacing of kitchen cabinets;
  • Creation of built-in furniture;
  • Change of sinks, baths or showers;
  • Modification of floor, counter, or wall materials.

All these points will help play a decisive role which will help you in the process of choosing between a decorator or an interior designer. One is technical while the other is aesthetic.

The role of the decorator

In Quebec, a decorator must undertake a training process of around 1800 hours and can help with the coordination of colours between these accessories and the paint, the choice of furniture and their locations, the choice of different materials, and so on. 

In short, a decorator can help you with everything that affects the aesthetic appearance of your home, without making major changes.

chaise noire avec vase_black chair with vase


The role of the designer

For this job, a designer must undertake a 3-year college education where they will need to obtain a college certificate (DEC), and can also pursue studies at a university to complete a specialization in this field. While it may also be the role of the decorator, the designer will be able to take on larger tasks involved in your project. 

Indeed, with their specific training, a designer can manage your project, stay in contact with contractors, make lighting plans to work towards the desired result, or take on larger construction work and so forth. 

kitchen decor

The final decision

Although one requires a larger budget than the other, it’s clear that each of these professions has a specific role that offers results tailored to different needs, with different experiences. With their expertise, a designer will be able to give a turnkey project for the complete modification of the rooms of your home, while a decorator will be able to advise and guide you in the beautification of your decor. 

One of our writers has shared her experience collaborating with an interior designer for a large-scale renovation project. To read her article, click here.

Get 3 renovation quotes for your interior decor and renovation project can help you get quotes for your interior decor and renovation project. If you submit your project to us, we’ll put you in contact with top-rated contractors. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will receive quotes from companies that are specialized in home renovations.

Dial 1-844 828-1588 to speak with one of our customer service representatives


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