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Interior Decorating Careers

Should you pursue interior decorating or interior design?
An interior designer shops for fabrics

Interior Decorating vs. Design

Both interior decorators and designers create beautiful and functional spaces.

Although many people use the terms interior decorating and interior design interchangeably, there is actually a difference between the two:

  • Interior designers are licensed professionals who coordinate projects that may involve architecture and construction.
  • Interior decorators make aesthetic improvements, but they don't make structural changes to interior spaces. Consequently, interior decorating professionals don't need to be knowledgeable about building and safety codes.

Because interior decorating is less technical than interior design, there are no formal education or licensing requirements for interior decorating jobs. However, taking interior design training classes can help you develop your skills and give you an edge over the competition as you start your interior decorating career. You may also find business and entrepreneurship classes valuable if you are considering self-employment.

Interior Decorating Job Duties

An interior decorating job may involve the following kinds of tasks:

  • Choosing paint colors and fabrics
  • Selecting and arranging furniture to enhance both the appearance and function of a space
  • Finding the appropriate lighting, window coverings and flooring
  • Choosing accessories—from throw pillows to artwork

When deciding between becoming an interior designer or decorator, you may want to talk to professionals in your area. You may also want to contact interior design schools and talk with educators who have insight into the business. Get perspective from people who have experience, and choose the career path that is best for you.

Interior Design Education & Career Guide