Tag Archives: Emily Henderson

Decorator vs. Designer

28 Jul

To sum up what I wrote about on my farewell message over on my Blogger site yesterday: I have decided to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Business along with some training in Interior Decorating so that I can open up my own Organizing/Decorating business in order to make up the difference in our income once my husband enters full time ministry.  If you read it, you’ll remember me talking about my struggle with choosing between Interior Design and Interior Decorating.  Well, today I wanted to talk about the differences between the two and explain a little more about why I chose decorating over design.


When you think of an interior designer what comes to mind?  If you’re like me, you tend to picture your favorite HGTV host: Candice Olson, Genevieve Gorder, Emily Henderson, David Bromstad….just to name a few.  Because this is who we tend to think of, we often equate them with decorators when, in reality, they do so much more.  You see, not only does a designer work with fabrics, furnishings and paint colors; they also work with blueprints, building codes and safety standards.  A designer has to concern themselves with the function of the room (ergonomics, acoustics, etc.) as well as with the overall appearance of the space, while the decorator’s primary concern is the way the room looks.

Still Representation – Fotolia.com

An interior designer does have the potential to earn a six figure income but they generally start out making between $22K -$40K {depending on location and experience}.  Add to that the fact that they also take on almost $100K {if not more} in debt when they obtain their Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design.  If this is something that you definitely want to do, then go for it!  For me, however, it wasn’t the right choice.  The school debt turned me off of this degree as well as the fact that I would have a hard time finding a job {and an even harder time starting my own business, which is my ultimate dream} in my current location.  The easy thing to do would be to move where the jobs are but my husband feels called to the church we are already serving in, so there will not be a U-haul sitting in my driveway anytime soon {unless we sell our house and move to a different part of town – again, not in the plans}.

Jose Manuel Gelpi – Fotolia.com


When I say that a decorator is primarily responsible for the room appearance, this doesn’t mean that he or she is completely oblivious of all safety concerns.  I simply mean that decorators are hired to work with spaces that are already finished {yes, even new constructions, but they are generally complete}, whereas a designer is on the project from the very beginning.  The good thing about this is that a decorator really gets to do the part of a designer’s job that the designer probably likes the best.  A decorator doesn’t have to worry about building codes and acoustics.  We get the fun job of picking out fabrics, furnishings, paint colors and accessories.

Sebastian Duda – Fotolia.com

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a tough job.  A decorator has to work with difficult clients from time to time and because many of them own their businesses, they are also responsible for the marketing, accounting and other daily operations {less fun things}.  All of this appeals to me, though {well, minus the difficult client thing.  But that comes with the territory}.  After obtaining my Bachelor’s Degree in Business, I’ll have a better idea of how to handle those day to day operations.  In the mean time, I can offer my organizing services while I pursue some formal training in interior decorating {and increase my confidence in this area}.

So, were you already aware of the differences between decorators and designers?

Do you have any questions about this topic or would you like to add something?