Although the terms interior designer or interior decorator are sometimes used interchangeably, each job has its description and function. Designers analyze the needs of people to design functional and structural living spaces or work areas that meet those needs. Interior decorators decorate interior spaces with furniture and accessories to create a beautiful environment. Interior designers must have a license to practice. However, interior decorators are not required to obtain one. Interior designers are allowed to decorate, but not decorators.
Interior Designer Duties
Interior designers design interior living and work spaces that meet people’s needs. Designers solve problems with structural living arrangements to create spaces that improve the quality of life for residents. Interior designers must comply with building codes and regulatory requirements to encourage environmental sustainability.
Interior designers plan, research, and analyze interior layouts to make them socially, physically, and visually functional. Interior design students at schools like Purdue University learn analytical skills to plan residential, commercial, institutional, and healthcare interiors. Interior designers can create virtual living spaces using modern technology before they are ready for construction or development.
Interior Decorator Duties
Interior decorators don’t usually work with architects to design interior spaces. They decorate spaces already in existence. Interior decorators often paint walls, place the wallpaper, choose and place furniture, and add accessories like throw rugs, lamps, and pillows to rooms.
Interior decorators don’t remove walls or alter the interior layout. The Houston Community College interior decorating program allows students to study textiles, finishes, and practical skills necessary for starting an interior decorating business. After a structural or functional change has been made, an interior decorator will often use her skills to decorate a living area.
Licenses and certificates
The NCIDQ states that many U.S. states have laws that require interior designers to be licensed before they can practice. Designers must provide proof of their education, including training certificates and degrees. Some laws require interior designers to obtain an NCIDQ Certificate to prove their industry expertise. The NCIDQ states that interior decorators don’t need formal training or licensure.
Outlook for the Job
Compared to other occupations, the job outlook for interior design is below average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that interior designers will decline in employment between 2019 and 2029. Most occupations will see a 4 percent growth rate over the same period. Companies that strive to create sustainable structures will likely have better job prospects.
High-income communities have the best job prospects. This is because they can afford expensive renovations and new homes. Competitive advantage will be gained by training in 3-D computer-aided software (CAD). Designers will need to continue working with decorators and other design professionals as this industry grows.
BLS says that students trained as interior designers or decorators will find the best job opportunities in new home construction. The most successful people are those who have a high level of talent. It is difficult to predict the future because many interior decorators work for themselves.