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Interior Design and Decorating in Canada


A common question that we get from future design students is, “what is the difference between Interior Design and Interior Decorating”?  We answered this on a broad scale in an earlier blog post: (What is the difference between Interior Design and Interior Decorating – January 2012).

This week, we sat down with Interior Designer Gisela Scholze from Kelowna to continue the conversation.

Gisela has had 25 years of experience in the field of design working with architects to clients. She created her own practice in the year 1998 called Integro Design. Her work can also been in many places in the world from China to Russia.

What is the Difference between an interior decorating, and interior design?

By Gisela Scholze

There has been great disagreement on the differences between Interior Decorating and Interior Design. Against popular belief they are both very different from each other. Interior Decorating is residential, never commercial and works one on one with the customer. A decorator works usually on the accents and décor of a residential home. Interior design, however, is much more complex. It takes years of education to be an Interior Designer. It has a qualification exam at the end of the education process that only gives the designer minimum qualifications of an Interior Designer. Designers are also taught to look at building a space from the inside, out unlike an architect who will look from the outside, in.

Decorators, usually, are also not allowed to do architectural type work while Designers are. Designers will work on jobs such as designing the interior of hospitals and business buildings.

In my opinion, comparing an Interior Designer to an Interior Decorator is like comparing an accountant to their book keeper.

Though decorators are initially taught the same language or jargon as designers, they both still branch off to very different aspects of design. Interior Designers only learn some aspects of decorating during their education, while Interior Decorators are taught very thoroughly their colour pallets, textiles and lighting. An Interior Designer creates functional spaces in buildings and an Interior Decorator can garnish the space with fashionable items. Decorating is the less difficult and complex version of the designing world.

So, from a training perspective if you’re thinking about a career in interiors, consider how involved you would like to be in the overall design process. While a designer may decorate; a decorator cannot design – this is an important consideration when choosing between Interior Decorating training, and professional Interior Design training programs.

Interior Design Program | Fredericton & Kelowna

Interested in following Debbie Travis’ rewarding career path as an Interior Designer? Earn your Interior Design Diploma in only 24 months at Centre for arts and Technology. Programs are offered at our Kelowna, BC and in Fredericton, NB campuses. Contact us to learn more today.

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