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Do you know the difference between these 3 creative professionals?

An interior designer, decorator and architect are 3 very different roles, so we are here to breakdown the differences

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By Yashna Balwanth | January 14, 2023 | Design

When it comes to building a home, it really does take a village. Every person has a scope of responsibilities and every part is integral to the overall success of the build. When it comes to architects, interior designers and interior decorators, these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, however each person has a very different function. We decided to breakdown the roles and responsibilities of each.


When it’s time to start planning the construction of a new home or any structural renovations to a space, the architect is the person you would call first. This individual is responsible for the structure and façade of a building with their primary aim of creating a functional space while still following all the rules and regulations using their technical know-how and still manage to design a beautiful exterior. The architect is also responsible for all the planning, timelines and delivering a complete building in the end.

Their technical ability plays a vital role in their function as they need to fully understand the ins and outs of all building regulations to ensure everything is according to the standards set out by NHBRC and other building accreditations. With their focus more on the technical side, architects will liaise with the entire construction team and lead the project from start to finish.

Interior designer

An interior designer is responsible for creating functional spaces within a building. Their role is focused on the creative and human aspects of designing a home as they need to furnish and accessorise a space while meeting the needs and lifestyle of the client. The interior designer is trained to create an appealing interior that suits its inhabitants, yet is still functional.

The main difference is that the interior designer focuses on the inside of the building, but can also make design changes to any interior walls, appliances and lighting. Designers also have the technical know-how when making these changes and are responsible for managing the installers while still creating an aesthetically pleasing space.

Interior decorator

If you cannot get an interior designer to complete your project due to budget, you can consider an interior decorator for the soft furnishings of a space. Decorators are responsible for adorning the room with decorative elements only. They have no technical know-how on structural changes and do not need any qualifications to become a decorator, hence their ability to only make surface changes to rooms.

Decorators would focus on colour schemes, upholsters and the smaller touches that would just update the visual appearance of a room, not changing any walls, wiring, installations and so forth. As its name suggests, decorators decorate the space and create soft design touches to update a home.