Interior Design vs. Interior Decorating

So you’ve decided to make a few changes at home, and you realize that you’re going to need a bit of help. You begin looking for possible services and find that some professionals describe their work as interior design while others are interior decorators. Suddenly you’re faced with new questions, namely, “What’s the difference?” And more importantly, “Which one do I need?”

Interior design and interior decorating are often mistaken as the same thing, but the terms are not completely interchangeable. There are many similarities between the two jobs—so many, in fact, that opinions vary on exactly where to draw the distinction. There are also more than a few differences between the professions—some subtle, some significant. As you decide which kind of help you need when planning changes in your home, it will help to understand the differences between professional designers and decorators—their schooling, the credentialing, their services, and their clientele.

Interior Design

  • Schooling: Interior design is a profession that requires specific schooling and formal training. The work involved usually includes studying color and fabric, computer-aided design (CAD) training, drawing, space planning, furniture design, architecture, and more. Upon graduating, designers often apprentice with a registered and established interior designer before moving on to establish their own companies.
  • Credentials: In some states and provinces, professional designers are required to pass an exam and become registered with a governing council (which one will depend on what country and state/province he or she is in) before they can be called designers. However, there are just as many locations where no credentialing is required. So it’s a good idea to find out what the situation is in your area before starting your search.
  • What they do: Designers are comfortable with spatial planning and can help design and renovate interiors—from drawing up the initial floor plans to placing the last decorative accent. Designers don’t just enhance the look; they also enhance the function of a room.
  • Who they work with: Interior designers often work closely with architects and contractors to help achieve the look the client desires, whether that client is designing a residential home, an office, a hotel, or any other interior space.

Interior Decorating

  • Schooling: To practice professionally, interior decorators aren’t required to have formal training or schooling because they focus primarily on aesthetics and don’t participate in renovations or structural planning. A decorator comes into the picture after the structural planning and execution are completed to focus on the surface look of the space. Many professional interior decorators have college degrees in related fields, but it is not a requirement for the profession.
  • Credentials: Even though no schooling is required to become an interior decorator, there are many programs and courses available. These courses often focus on color and fabric, room layouts, space planning, furniture styles, and more. Certifications from organizations like C.I.D. (Certified Interior Decorators International) offer coursework and certification to help decorators authenticate their practices.
  • What they do: Good decorators are skilled at coming into a room and whipping

10 Things You Should Know About Becoming an Interior Designer

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An interior designer must serve many functions. Is it the right role for you? Image: zhu difeng/Shutterstock

Are you always receiving compliments on your interior design taste? Do you love decorating rooms and arranging furniture? If you answered yes to these questions, then maybe a career in interior design is right for you.

Before you make a life-altering career choice, there are some things you should know about the design world. Interior designers face challenges every day; some of these may not appeal to you, while others may excite you and open doors to a career that you never thought was possible.

Read on to learn the 10 things you should know before becoming an interior designer.

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Interior designers understand color, textiles and spatial arrangements. Image: AKA-PHOTO/Shutterstock

1. There Is a Difference Between Decorators and Designers

What’s the difference between interior decorators and interior designers? In one word: education.

Literally anyone can become an interior decorator. Someone who loves playing with colors, fabrics and textiles can become a decorator by simply printing business cards and promoting themselves to clients. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but educational background is also important.

On the other hand, an interior designer must have an accredited education; an associate or bachelor’s degree is a requisite for working in the interior design field. Do you want to pursue an education, or jump immediately into the decorating world? Keep reading to see if interior design could be the right fit for you.

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Do you have the insight and talent that it takes to become a designer? Image: Klaus Vedfelt/GettyImages

2. You Must Have a Knack for Design

It may seem obvious, but in order to become an interior designer, you need to have an innate flair for color, spatial arrangements, architecture and textiles. Do you enjoy decorating your home and get lots of compliments on your decor? That doesn’t necessarily mean you should be an interior designer, but it’s certainly a good sign.

The first step to a successful career is to follow your passion. After all, doing something you love will never feel like work. Take this fun quiz to see which field you should consider majoring in. Is a career in interior design in your future?

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There is more to interior design than looking at fabric and paint swatches. Image: Gaf_Lila/Shutterstock

3. Interior Design Isn’t All Fabric and Fun

While fabrics, furniture and color may play a large role in interior design, there are plenty of other tasks that are required of interior designers — many of which may seem less like fun and more like work.

Interior designers need to be educated in the history of design, the structural integrity of buildings, building codes, ergonomics, spatial concepts, ethics, psychology, computer-aided drawing (CAD) and much more.

It might seem that interior designers are expected to be Jacks (or Jills) of all trades, doesn’t it? This broad range of skills is required

22 Different Interior Design Styles for Your Home (2020)

Interior design styles

Welcome to our main interior design styles where we list and explain the different styles and include photos.


Welcome to our main interior design styles where we provide access to the main styles.

Below is a gallery setting out each style.  Just click into it and you’ll be at that particular style’s main page.  You can filter your search from there.

Below is a listing of 18 main interior design styles with links to photo galleries for each individual style.

1. Traditional Interior Style

Example of traditional living room interior design style.

Traditional interior design style stems from a variety of old-school European styles and together are now referred to as “traditional”.  Elements of this design include:

  • Reflects classic European decor,
  • Elaborate moldings and wood paneling,
  • Built-in cabinetry,
  • Elegant furnishings and antique pieces,
  • Pairings of furniture and accessories,
  • Neutral palette with vibrant colors for furniture and accent pieces,
  • Expensive textiles like silk, velvet, cashmere or comfy fabrics like cotton or linen, and
  • Intricate tile and wood floor patterns

Our traditional home decor style guide includes an extensive photo gallery that includes all rooms of the home.

Traditional interior designers are those that are heavily influenced and inspired by the old European décor that gained popularity, particularly during the 18th and the 19th century. They are big on heavy furniture and fittings that are still very stylish and elegant.

This type of interior designing is perfect for those who love decorations and styles that a have rich history behind them for instance, classic art pieces, antique elements, and symmetrical objects.

Some key markers or features of the traditional interior designs include rich tones, dark woods, and sophisticated colors. The most distinctive feature is that the walls are often painted with neutral colors so that the furniture and decorative accents can be highlighted. The ‘traditionalist’ also loves creating intricate architectural details like wood paneling, coffered ceilings, in-built cabinetry, etc.

One of the most vital aspects about traditional interior design is ‘symmetry’ which means that everything from sofas to lamps to accessories has to be in pairs. The underlying idea behind this is that there should be a balanced space centered on a focal point, which is usually the television, a decorative art piece or the fireplace.

2. Modern Interior Style

White modern living room.

Modern style for interiors is more popular in the media than in real life.  I think people appreciate the look of it and it’s definitely cool, but when it comes to living in the more austere design, people opt for warmer home decor styles such as rustic, cottage or traditional.

Nevertheless, builders and architects are incorporating modern elements to many homes which is kind of cool; but moderating it with materials, angles and lines that add warmth.

Key attributes of modern interior design style include:

  • Absence of ornament,
  • Intentional asymmetry,
  • No clutter or chaos,
  • Neutrals with primary colors and bold color contrasts,
  • Geometric-patterned or plain area rugs,
  • Furniture pieces have clean lines and basic shapes, made of materials like metal, chrome, or glass and are streamlined with polished,

The 25 Best Interior Designers in Los AngelesBuildDirect Blog: Life at Home

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Los Angeles

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A Los Angeles home is more than just a home, especially for those involved in the entertainment business. From intimate dinner parties to blowout bashes, a gorgeous and glamorous residence serves as an all-important hub for both business and pleasure. With this in mind, it follows that the interior designers in this star-studded city are often as famous as their celebrity clients. These elite aficionados know how to create a luxurious environment where deals can be sealed and influencers can make their mark. They can easily adapt to the wide range of architecture styles boasted by L.A., making it a unique, distinguished, and highly individualized region.

If you’re wondering who this all-star cast consists of, we’ve got you covered. From Malibu to Hollywood Hills and beyond, here are the 25 hottest interior designers in Los Angeles right now. Listed in random order, these tastemakers can add allure and interest to the most modest abode or palatial mansion.

Do you have a favorite pick? Let us know in the poll below!

WALDO-FERNANDEZ4-265x288Waldo Fernandez – The Cuban native made himself home in New York before relocating to Los Angeles and enrolling in UCLA to study design and architecture. He started out as a set designer for Walter Scott, but it was his furniture commissions that earned him his early reputation. After designing for film director John Schlessinger, his work caught the attention of a plethora of celebrity clients, including Elizabeth Taylor. Waldo’s Design has been a fixture on Almont Drive for over 28 years.

michael_smithMichael S. Smith – Honored by all the top shelter publications, including Architectural Design and Elle Décor, this A-lister is one of the top talents in the design industry. Not to mention that Barack & Michelle Obama chose him to decorate the White House and makeover the Oval Office. His early days included studies at the Otis College of Art and Design and abroad, as well as a partnership with designer John Saladino in New York. The Californian returned to his roots to establish Michael S Smith, Inc. in 1990.

madeline3Madeline Stuart – For the past 15 years, Madeline Stuart & Associates has favored timeless design over current trends. The style maven’s philosophy encompasses a thoughtful, deliberate and collaborative approach to decorating. Her firm has established a reputation for conscientious attention to fine architectural details, accommodating work on a wide range of projects. A self-professed lover of elevated style, Madeline prefers wearing vintage clothing to jeans and a t-shirt, even on the weekends.

kellyKelly Wearstler – Since its establishment in 1994, Kelly’s interior design firm has blossomed to include clothing, jewelry, and home collections. Described as a “branding virtuoso” by Architectural Digest, her vibrant interiors and lifestyle boutique make her a leading name in modern American design. The multi-talented author and fashionista has been featured both on the Los Angeles Times‘ bestseller list and Vogue‘s Best Dressed list. Her famous clients include the ever so stylish Gwen

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