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What does an Interior Designer do?

Updated: May 20, 2019

Some people might think that Interior Designers force them into a style or budget they don't like or can afford. A good interior designer will take your wants and needs and create a brief that suits you, your lifestyle and your budget.

Is there a difference between a designer, a decorator and a stylist?

Well, yes, they each have defined roles and it will depend on what you need.


Interior designers are a combination of all three - designer, decorator and stylist.

They can re-position, add or remove walls, doors, windows, staircases etc. They can provide advice on both the aesthetics and the function of a space or custom joinery, with technical advice and detailed schedules for all aspects of your project.

The following is a definition courtesy of the Design Institute of Australia:

Interior designers plan and detail residential building interiors to be functional and add value to your home or property, with particular emphasis on space creation, space planning and factors that affect our responses to living and working environments.

Interior designers are trained to consider the modification of the interior structure of the building rather than just refinishing and furnishing existing spaces.

Interior designers plan space allocation, traffic flow, building services, furniture, fixtures, furnishings and surface finishes. They consider the purpose, efficiency, comfort, safety and aesthetic of interior spaces to arrive at an optimum design.

They custom design or specify furniture, lighting, walls, partitions, flooring, colour, fabrics and graphics to produce an environment tailored to a purpose.

An interior designer often works as part of a team that may include architects, builders, project managers, engineering consultants, shop fitters, cabinet makers, furniture suppliers and materials suppliers.

They may also organise the modification of building structures, the purchasing of materials and furnishings and the contracting and supervision of the tradespeople required to implement a project.


Interior decorators will style an existing space, basically dressing it and taking it from drab to fab!

They create a consistent style that flows from one space to the next using flooring, hard finishes (for example in the kitchen or bathroom), window treatments (curtains, blinds etc,) fabrics, furniture, accessories and natural light.

The following is a definition courtesy of the Design Institute of Australia:

Interior decorators plan and prepare building interiors for effective use with particular emphasis on furnishings, finishes and aesthetic presentation.

Interior decorators often work directly with the person who will occupy the space rather than working with other building or business professionals and must develop the skills to identify and accommodate another individual’s taste.


Often this name is used by interior decorators but sounds more modern! An interior decorator will generally have a deeper understanding of colours schemes, fabrics and so on.

So an interior stylist will generally come in, style a place with accessories, decor, furniture, fabrics, throws and the clients' existing items as requested. They have a fantastic eye for detail and should have a very good understanding of how to create a broad range of styles.

They can style a home or property either for every day living or to as a temporary solution to sell a property or a magazine/book shoot.

Good design can enable us to live and work more efficiently, comfortably, profitably, securely and pleasurably in a more aesthetically fulfilling and functional environment.

Getting inspired to make some changes? Let's Chat.

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