Interior Design vs. Interior Decoration – What is the difference?

Have you ever walked into a room, whether it be in a show-home, a friend’s house, or even a hotel and been genuinely blown away by what you saw? You simply found yourself standing there, wide-eyed, jaw-dropped, and almost mesmerised by your new surroundings… This is often the product of quality interior design, coupled with some savvy decoration.

But, what is the difference between the two? And can one exist without the other? In this article, we’re going to highlight the key differences between both, and how they can be utilised to transform a space into something that makes people stop, stare, and say things like: “Oh my god, I need this in my life!”

Interior design VS interior decoration

So, what is the difference between interior design and interior decoration?

Certainly, there is some clear overlap between interior design and decorating, however, they are fundamentally different and it is important to understand those distinctions.

  • Interior design is both and art and science intent on understanding people’s behaviour, anticipating their needs, and then creating a functional space within a building to accommodate that.
  • Interior decorating is the craft of furnishing and adorning a space using various decorative elements in order to achieve a specific, desired aesthetic.

The important thing to remember is that in some cases, an interior designer may decorate, however, an interior decorator does not handle design.

Decorators will come into an existing space, pick a colour scheme and/or apply some decorative finishes to pull off the desired look. Their job isn’t to optimise the space or alter its functionality; simply to give it a fresh lick of paint—or a little ‘nip & tuck’ if you will.

Interior designers on the other hand, will change the face entirely. They will re-optimise the layout of a room and create a certain flow that will transform a space not only from an aesthetic perspective, but again, from a functional one as well.

Feng Shui is the perfect example of interior design and its fundamental intention

When understanding the differences between an interior designer and a decorator, Feng Shui is the perfect example:

Feng-Shui: a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy (qi), and whose favourable or unfavourable effects are taken into account when siting and designing buildings.

This sums up the purpose of an interior designer wonderfully. In fact, any interior designer worth their salt will have a thorough understanding (and passion) for this ancient practice (for which we have the Chinese to thank)!

An interior designer will take the needs and requirements of the home owner (or the intended clientele of a commercial establishment) and think deeply about what they can do with the space available in order to accommodate them.

As an example, let’s say that an expecting mother who is wheel-chair bound would like to convert one of the rooms in their house to a nursery. What could an interior designer bring to the table, that an interior decorator cannot?

In this case, an interior designer would be focused on creating a space that is both safe and comfortable for the baby, whilst accommodating the mother’s needs; – i.e., a specially designed, height-appropriate baby-changing station with convenient wheelchair access.

On the other hand, an interior decorator will not be able to change the functionality of the space in order to make it more accessible and convenient for the mother. Of course, they will undoubtedly be able to make the room itself look positively stunning with plenty of beautiful colours and features that one would expect in a nursery but in this instance, an interior designer would bring so much more value.

Interior designers are interior decorators with extra steps

The fact is, while not every interior designer may have experience with painting, plastering, or applying decorative finishes, they will have the eye for it. Interior design is a technical field that requires a creative mind and as such, interior designers often know precisely how to decorate a space once they are finished with it—which is advantageous when they are the one’s designing the space in the first place.

Think of a UX designer building a website; it’s the same principle, only in a digital world. A UX designer will design and build a website from the ‘ground up’, taking into consideration the overall user experience, usefulness, desirability, and aesthetic appearance (or decoration) of the website itself – e.g., colours, font style & size, image placement, paragraph length, and menu navigation.


Interior designers and Interior Decorators are not the same. They serve different purposes in a home or commercial space to achieve an effect that is desired by their clientele. An interior designer will take into account the needs of the individual, such as wheelchair accessibility for someone who can’t move around well, while an interior decorator may not be able to do so without help from the design team. Some designs require both services but it’s important to know what you’re looking for when hiring one person versus another. If your goal is simply cosmetic renovations then hire an interior decorator; if you need more than just decorative changes then get in touch with our team of Interior Design experts today!

Looking to Start your own Interior Design Project?

Get in touch below or find useful links explaining our Interior Design services.

Home Interior Design

We offer a range of home interior design services to help you create the perfect space for your needs. From designing a new space from scratch to renovating an existing room, we can help you achieve the look you want. We also offer tailored colour consultation services to help you choose the perfect shade for your walls and furniture. Anything from a full remodel to custom furniture, Instyle Deco Paris is here to help.

  • Bedroom Interior Design

    Our bedroom interior design services can help you to create a beautiful and relaxing bedroom that is perfect for you.

  • Bathroom Interior Design

    We offer a wide range of bathroom interior design services that are suited to your specific needs and preferences.

  • Kitchen Interior Design

    Our kitchen designers can help you create a beautiful and functional space that meets your needs and fits your budget.

  • Home Theater Interior Design

    Our home theater interior design services can help you create the perfect entertainment space for your home.

  • House and Condo Interior Design

    House and condo interior design services can be a great way to add some new life to your living space. Our team of experts can help you choose the perfect style and color palette to transform your home.

Commercial Interior Design Services

Are you in the market for a new office space, or just want to give your current one a fresh update? Our commercial interior design team can help! We provide comprehensive services from space planning and design to furniture selection and installation. We'll work with you to create a workspace that's both stylish and functional. Contact us today to learn more!

  • Hotel Interior Design

    We offer hotel interior design services that can help you create a unique and inviting space for your guests.

  • Office Interior Design

    We provide top-quality office interior design services that will help you to create a workspace that is both functional and stylish.

  • Restaurant Interior Design

    Our restaurant interior design services can help you to create a comfortable and inviting space for your diners.

  • Fitness Center Interior Design

    Gyms can be notoriously difficult to design. They need to be functional and look great, all while accommodating a wide range of activities and equipment.

  • 3d Rendering Services

    We offer high-quality 3D rendering services for businesses and individuals alike, bring your design to life. 

  • Custom Furniture Design

    From start to finish, we will work with you to create the perfect piece of furniture for your home or office.

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