The difference between a decoratior and a designer

United States
February 4, 2007 1:23pm CST
What do you think is the difference between a decorator and a designer, we had a joke in school that a designer could blow up walls. (they dont' really blow them up) but I would really like to know what everyone else thinks, because there is a big difference. So what do you think it is?
2 people like this
4 responses
• United States
8 Feb 07
There is a huge difference between interior decorators and interior designers. Anyone can go and claim to be an interior decorator. Claiming to be an interior designer without a license (which includes a formal college education, multiple years of experience, and passing a grueling 16 hour exam) can be a criminal offense in some states. Interior designers can do almost anything an architect does except for move load-bearing walls or move structural elements (but honestly, an architect isn't supposed to do that either. That's where the civil and structural engineers come in). Granted, most of us interior designers don't focus on exterior waterproofing or determining how the exterior shell is detailed, but I have worked on projects where I had a say in some of those things. Architects across the world are going to unite and try to kill me for that statement (it's quite contentious). So I will say this. The architects are responsible for the exterior design and conditions of the building. The interior designers are responsible for everything that happens from the exterior walls in minus structural items. Interior designers do worry about building code--and this includes locating walls. We also determine how to adequately light a space (this includes knowing math formulas involving units such as footcandles and other complicated things!). We determine what fire codes interior materials must meet--from the paint on the walls to the foam that's on the cushion you're sitting on. We can detail plumbing details, locate electrical and HVAC systems (Heating, Ventalation, and Air Conditioning). And we have to determine that all commercial public spaces are accessible to people with a variety of special needs, including those in wheelchairs, with vision impairments, and hearing loss. Interior designers also get to have fun with the decorating, and yes, I've even designed pillows. But for an interior designer, the technical makes up about 80% of the job, and the fluffy stuff that is typically associated with the profession only accounts for about 20%. I personally love being an interior designer (and for those of you who know, I just passed the NCIDQ, so I'm officially a licensed designer--whohooo!) because you get to mix the creative with the analytical and technical. Then you throw crazy clients and diva designers and ego-centric architects into the mix. It's insane! I can honestly say that I've never had a dull day at work. And that's not always a good thing. Haha!
• United States
8 Feb 07
Congradualations! My teacher warned us about that exam. She is the only teacher I had that took it.
• United States
24 Feb 07
It's a brutal test! My advice is that you should totally take the STEP class offered by ASID. It's not cheap, it's around $300, but seeing that the test costs around $1,000, I think it's worth it. It gives you several opportunities to take a couple of samples of the practicum. I'd never have been able to pass without it.
• United States
24 Feb 07
Your the second person to tell me to take that, the other was my teacher! I plan on it, but it wont be for a few more years, I still have to finish school and find work!
@jcvsmom (50)
• United States
6 Feb 07
I think of a decorator as someone who comes in and decorates an existing room. A designer would be someone who works with the room before it is built, deciding on things like window size and placement, etc. Am I right?
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Feb 07
very close, interior designers do both. Most of the time a designer works with an architect when building a new home though, but we still get a say in where things go.
1 person likes this
@stonehr (818)
• Croatia (Hrvatska)
7 Feb 07
Ok let's say this in simpliest way... As you have born, You can't be designed since You are already... but You can decorate yourself for example with lipstick, make up , changing the color of your hair, etc.....
@Chele2k2 (241)
25 Feb 07
Personally I think there is a difference between to two .................. A decorator being someone who just gets on with it, with out much thought or planning. A designer is more indepth, there is a lot of planning and though into what they want to achieve as a finished result.
• United States
25 Feb 07
There is planning in both, but you are right in that there is more planning on a designers end then a decorators.
@stonehr (818)
• Croatia (Hrvatska)
5 Feb 07
Of course decorating and designing is not the same thing... You can decorate some room with flowers, curtains, grace things, So to make something more embelish... While designing means something to design, for example designing some furniture, cars, electronics devices..etc.. So we must first to design something and produce it.. After that if we want we can decorate it .. For example Your PC or Notebbok is designed and produced, Now You can decorate it to embelish it.. :)