The two professions are very often confused and used interchangeably. But while both involve interiors, they are profoundly different. Design is a spectrum of elements that collectively contribute to the congruency of a space; the connection between people’s behaviors and the corresponding functional expectation from all composing elements of a room.
Decoration on the other hand, focuses on the space in-parallel to how it’s being used and by whom. It might meet all functional expectation through furniture, colors, textiles and textures but fall short in the ideal scale, layout and proportions.
Interior decorators often help with fabrics, paint and furnishings while designers dig deeper and are more involved with space planning, finishes and structural details, by considering light and sound as well as other sensorial experiences. Designers will likewise provide technical expertise through three-dimensional programs like AutoCAD, Revit, Rhino and 3DMax.
In the framework of a project, both decorators and designers can help select and purchase furniture, lighting and accessories. The difference will be apparent when designer may also help with the room’s layout and construction finishes.
Below is a brief example of what to expect from an interior designer. In this 3D rendering of a modern living room, customer was able to see their space along with the color choices, furniture selections, as well as the layout of a challenging (partially) rounded structure prior to making a large investment.
Furniture used in this space: Soleado sectional sofa by Gamma Arredamenti, I-modulART wall unit by Presotto, Twiggy floor lamp by Foscarini, convertible coffee table by Ozzio, Bamboo silk rug by Surya and glass art.