Interior Designer, Interior Decorator – What’s the difference??

Most people don’t realize there is a difference. They use the terms synonymously. However, the difference lies in the educational background and qualifications.

An Interior Decorator is a term that may be used by anyone working in the field of decorating. They may have taken a one-year program in color coordination and design principles but this is not a prerequisite to calling oneself an Interior Decorator. There are very skilled Interior Decorators who have an intuitive ability and talent in putting things together in a professional, pleasing manner.

In order to be an Interior Designer, one must have a four-year education from a CIDA (Council for Interior Design Accreditation) accredited University. After interning for several years, they write an international 16 hour exam to become a Registered Interior Designer. Registered Interior Designers must belong to the professional association IDNS, they must carry liability insurance and they must complete continuing education credits every year to stay current in their knowledge. When choosing to hire a professional Interior Designer, be sure to find one on the website

An interior designer is trained in building structures in both wood frame and steel stud construction, and design according to Building Code and regulations. They have an expertise in materials and components of building construction and draft plans for demolition, reconstruction and detailed woodwork and trim. They prepare space plans and lighting and electrical layouts. They must be concerned with the health and safety of those who live and work in the spaces they design.

An Interior Designer is skilled in graphic presentation and has enhanced visualization skills. They can help the client visualize the space by doing conceptual sketches, perspective studies and colour renderings. They will also help you choose and order furniture and furnishings.

Once the drawings and specifications are complete, the project will go out to tender. Contractors have an accurate study of the parameters of the project they are quoting upon. The Interior Designer is available during the tender process to answer questions of the contractors. They can also assist the client in sorting through the quotations. Once the job has been awarded to a contractor, the Interior Designer works with the contractor and subtrades, to ensure that the project is being executed as planned with the client.

Interior Designers will also follow the project through to completion with the final decorating and accessorizing, to enhance the design concept already defined. They will oversee the installation and arrangement of furniture, can help you in the selection of artwork, custom draperies and window coverings. They are with you throughout the entire project, from planning and design to hanging your artwork. Have your space designed by an expert!


Pam Tower is a Registered Interior Designer and owner of Tower Interiors. Call to schedule your appointment today at 455-1544 or



Tower Interiors

Tower Interiors

Tower Interiors is a full service Interior Design company, offering services that include the development of the design concept, design and drafting of construction drawings,

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