Interior Designer vs. Decorator


Does your home feel like it’s beginning to fall flat or could use a bit of an interior design pick-me-up? Is it straight-up dysfunctional and irritating during your daily routine? Or perhaps you’re finally ready to create some beautiful and functional storage for all of those shoes you’re constantly tripping over? (Been there.)

If any of these are true for you, chances are you’ve considered hiring a professional. But what’s next? 

Well, you probably turned to the trusty internet for help, but let’s be honest, scrolling through a long list of professionals can be a daunting task. Which professional is right for you? It’s challenging enough to juggle work, life, and family. The last thing you need is a research project.

Today, let’s cut out some of the mystery (and leg-work) and get you straight to creating the home of your dreams. I’m going to walk you through the difference between interior design and interior decorating, along with how to determine which role is best for your needs.

round tray layered with interior design book and someone placing flowers on top

What Is Interior Design?

Interior designers are trained to think of important details that might go unnoticed but make a considerable difference in the physical design of the home. They are involved in designing architectural features, selecting the materials built into the space, creating a cohesive colour palette, setting the flow of the home, and in most cases, laying out and selecting furnishings and decor. 

Above all, the elements of high-quality interior design will improve both the beauty and utility of your home. 

To do so, we ask important questions like… How much space do you need for storage? Do you have children in the home? How often do you entertain? By thinking ahead and knowing how the space will be used, an interior designer can create a home that makes your life easier and more beautiful. 

What interior designers do…

  • The functional and physical design of a space
  • Design architectural features (fireplace, mouldings, etc.)
  • Create a colour story for the home or space
  • Select materials for longevity, utility, and beauty (countertops, vanities, tile, flooring, etc.)
  • Planning the flow through a space or home
  • Selecting furnishings for the space (decorators also do this)
  • High-end management and execution of your project

 An interior designer is right for you, if…

  • You want a home with great day-to-day functionality
  • You want to open up a wall and create an open concept space
  • You’re changing your home layout or making any significant renovation
  • You’re going to want to search for an interior designer to help
  • You aren’t sure which materials to pick for your new kitchen, bathroom, etc.
  • You want someone to manage the construction process for you and organize trades
  • You want your home to look designer-quality and last
  • You want a home that is move-in ready when the project is complete

P.S. You can also download my complimentary guide: 5 Things to Ask Yourself Before Hiring an Interior Designer!

What Is Interior Decorating?

Interior decorating is exactly what it sounds like… someone to help with decor and placement of furnishings. While interior decorators often help select paint colours and wallpaper, they mainly deal with selecting and styling all the furnishings and accessories that make your house a cozy and inviting home. 

The main focus of an interior decorator is to use your personal style to elevate your space by using items such as furniture, area rugs, drapery, artwork, and accessories in a visually pleasing way. They have an eye for beauty and aesthetics in design, and by arranging furniture and accessories artfully, they will help provide the best function and flow for the space without any cosmetic renovations.

What decorators do…

  • Create a colour story for the elements going into a room or home
  • Plan the furniture layout for function, beauty, and flow in the space
  • Select and style furnishings and accessories that make a space feel like home
  • May manage the procurement and installation of your new furnishings

A decorator is right for you, if…

  • You want to refresh your home without any major renovations
  • You are struggling with arranging furniture to fit the space and your routine
  • You need a new colour scheme that feels fresh yet timeless
  • You want help selecting high-quality furnishings that you love and that will last
  • You need colour advice

Note: Many interior designers will also decorate homes, simply because they enjoy it! This is where the two roles overlap. So if you need a decorator, but you’ve already fallen in love with a particular designer, you can certainly reach out to them to see if your project is a good fit.

My Advice?

Both interior designing and decorating take planning, research, coordinating, and a unique eye for style and function. In the end, you will find that it’s worth it to lean on the assistance of a professional. Having a home designed specifically for you will make your life easier, and having a home you’re proud of makes you happier. I know from experience!

 If you’re looking to hire someone to create a home that is both stylish and practical… I would love to help. We handle both interior design and decorating projects, whether you’re starting from scratch or just need a simple refresh. 

If you’re ready to love your home, reach out to me here and let’s see what we can create together.

Chat soon!



Staci Edwards and her team provide interior design and decorating services to help you create a home that you truly love. 

Founder of Staci Edwards Interior Design

Staci Edwards

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Interior design and decorating services to help you create a home you love — serving Toronto, Oakville, Burlington, Mississauga and surrounding areas since 2010. 

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Burlington, Ontario L7R 2N1