j nine designs, llc

j nine designs, llc

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Differences Between Interior Design & Decorating

August 13, 2012 , , ,

As an NCIDQ certificate holder, I wanted to pass along some valuable information about the difference between Interior Designing and Decorating.  According to NCIDQ,

Interior design is the art and science of understanding people’s behavior to create functional spaces within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable or beautiful things. In short, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design. Many U.S. states and Canadian provinces have passed laws requiring interior designers to be licensed or registered—documenting their formal education and training—and many of them specifically require that all practicing interior designers earn the NCIDQ Certificate to demonstrate their experience and qualifications. By contrast, interior decorators require no formal training or licensure.

Interior designers apply creative and technical solutions within a structure that are functional, attractive and beneficial to the occupants’ quality of life and culture. Designs respond to and coordinate with the building shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project. Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability.

The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology—including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process—to satisfy the needs and resources of the client.”

I hope this helps clarify the differences when you are looking to hire an interior designer.



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Thank you for this helpful descriptive language! I find myself explaining the differences between design and decorating quite often.

L. White

September 6, 2013

Reblogged this on L.White and commented:
I love this description of the differences between interior design and interior decorating. These are two very different fields that often get confused.

L. White

September 6, 2013

Thank you for such a short but clear definition of the two related fields yet so different !


September 4, 2013

I whole heartedly agree, very nice article thanks for sharing.


August 27, 2013

Nice post – Thanks for sharing!

In short: A designer has the credentials to move an interior wall (ie remodel a footprint), while a decorator can only apply, as you say, pretty things to that wall (renovate) — However, IMO, both can add value to helping the quality of life in a said space (via organizing, lighting, furniture placement and flow).


Lynda aka nyclq

August 20, 2013

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