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Stylist, Decorator or Interior Designer: What’s the Difference?

Oct 31, 2017

What is the difference between an interior designer, decorator or stylist. It’s a fair question as in many respects there is some cross-over between the three disciplines. But at the same time there are some aspects of each role that are distinctive.

If you’re considering hiring a professional to help you with your home, it’s important to know what these differences are so you can choose the right service for your project. After all, it’s your house and you want to get it right the first time.

What’s an interior stylist?

Interior stylists are better known for their work in magazines, television and other visual media. But growing numbers of them are offering their styling services to homeowners.

Their primary job is to beautify spaces by either adding, editing or collating items, they can change the complexion of any room without any structural alterations.

What about an interior decorator?

There are definite overlaps between interior stylists and interior decorators. Both professions focus heavily on the aesthetics of an interior space. Decorators pay close attention to colour and fabrics, and how a space is planned. They also provide advice on decorative finishes, furniture and accessories.

An interior decorator’s job is to refresh your home without engaging in any structural renovation or alterations. Even so, decorators often work closely with building and design professionals such as architects, lighting and kitchen designers, and suppliers in order to deliver their client’s requirements.

Unlike interior stylists, decorators typically have some job-related educational qualifications, such as a certificate or diploma. Or sometimes they have vocational training such as serving a number of years as an apprentice or assistant to an experienced interior designer or decorator.

And what’s an interior designer?

Interior design is sometimes known as ‘spatial design’ or ‘interior architecture’, and an interior designer offers a broader range of services than an interior decorator or stylist.

This is principally down to their training. Interior designers have typically undertaken significant formal training more often than not at a university (courses take around four years), This education allows the designer to work comfortably within the broader architectural community.

In a nutshell, interior designers can design a room from scratch inside any house or building. This can include structural alterations, such as removing walls, and designing new kitchens and bathrooms, as well as decorative changes such as creating cabinetry and specifying custom carpentry. Often, interior designers will work closely with an architect to create the complete package for a home.

Like stylists and decorators, interior designers are also able to provide professional advice on aesthetic decisions. If your house requires a major renovation or you are looking at doing a new build, an interior designer is the best person to provide a full service that can start at the initial planning stage, and take you all the way through to the stylistic finishing touches.

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