Everyone has their perception on what a designer is and what a decorator is. Many people use the terms “interior design” and “interior decorating” interchangeably, but these professions differ in critical ways. If we go back in time to the history of interior decoration and design, you’ll find that it did all start with interior decoration. You can say that they are siblings for lack of better words. So let’s get into the nitty-gritty of it.

Interior design is the art and science of understanding people’s behavior to create functional spaces within a building. Let’s look at psychology for a moment. Every human on this earth responds to different things in different ways. Have you ever wondered what you feel physically and mentally when you sit on your sofa? Or, when you are intimate in your bedroom? The color, lighting, furniture, even the smell of the room all play a role psychologically on how you feel. This is an important factor when considering the differences between decoration and design.

Interior 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. Decorating a space is merely just making it pretty, while not understanding (or in some cases, caring) about the functionality of the space or how it impacts the person who inhabits the environment that is being decorated.

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 client’s needs and resources, not just their wants.