Difference Between Interior Design and Interior Decoration

Do you have a Pinterest board? Or an Instagram account? Chances are you have both. And if you’re like us you likely love a good scroll through home interior accounts that offer up swoon-worthy room setups and perfectly arranged living spaces.

Along with the rise of social media has come a whole new level of interest in home interiors. We Pin or screenshot our favourite looks and tag our friends. And potentially even buy the homewares featured in the snaps.

But there also continues to be a huge fascination with renovation shows, and glossy magazines that show the modernisation of interior spaces from the walls to the ceilings to the floorboards. These are not just about ‘decorating’ but about ‘designing’ an interior space from conception to occupation.

Here at Bella Vie Interiors, we’ve found that the roles of interior designers and interior decorators aren’t always clear. While the terms are often used interchangeably, there is actually a major distinction between the two.

So what is the difference between interior design and interior decoration?

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What is Interior Decoration?

You might see social media feeds where someone has chosen the perfect throw or aligned all the finishing touches on the coffee table in perfect symmetry. This is typically the work of an interior decorator, or stylist.


Interior decorators furnish an internal space with aesthetically pleasing items. This might be curtains, couches, artwork, rugs, throws and ornaments. They use paint tones, flooring, fabric and furnishings to create the desired mood, look and feel within a space. Their work environment could be someone’s old or new home, a restaurant, a boutique or any other space in which visual appeal is important.


Typically, a decorator’s role is not to change the architecture of the space but to focus solely on the aesthetics. They don’t strictly need any qualifications (although many great programs and courses are available). The focus here is more on their creative vision and eye for detail.

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What is Interior Design

Interior design, on the other hand, is both an art and a science. And it typically begins with a tertiary qualification. As interior designers we learn about the history and theory of design, including building systems and technologies, sustainability, accessibility and utility, and lighting and material. We learn to create drawings and conceptualise spaces. And we use our expertise and experience to achieve a best-result outcome.


Interior designers are responsible for everything within the external walls of the home. We have the ability to create floor plans to achieve optimal functionality and flow. And we also have the knowledge to take into account fire safety, sound transmission, accessibility and local building codes.



We can work alone or alongside an architect or builder. You can often find us liaising with joiners, carpenters and textile suppliers as they oversee completion of the project. Our designs respond to the lifestyle of the home’s occupiers and solve any existing design issues they may have. The results are then both functional and beautiful.



Interior designers have the scope to dictate every big and small component within a home. From the ceiling height and wall placement to the look of the cornices and which light fittings look best.


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What is the Difference Between Interior Design and Interior Decoration?

The key difference between interior design and interior decoration comes down to the services offered. A designer can offer significantly more services than a decorator. In short, while a designer can also decorate, a decorator cannot design.


Put simply, we can do both.

What we offer at Bella Vie Interiors

We are an award-winning team who offer bespoke interior design and decoration services, always tailored to suit your particular project and needs.

We specialise in residential interiors and can do it all. Whether you need help with a completely new build or renovation, to give your outdated kitchen or bathroom a glow up or to simply advise on furniture and finishes selections.

Bella Vie is owned and managed by Lisa Alward, who is a qualified interior designer with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Interior Design and a Diploma in Commercial Arts (Interior Design & Decoration). She’s also a member of the Design Institute of Australia and KBDI (Kitchen & Bathroom Designers Institute).

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Our expert designer/decorator services include:

  • Optimising any internal space and ensuring the layout works for your lifestyle.
  • Providing computer rendered drawings, including plans, elevations, perspectives and renderings.
  • Collaborating with industry professionals such as architects, developers and builders.
  • Collaborating with custom joiners to design kitchens, bathrooms, wardrobes, shelving and built-in storage.
  • Specifying and sourcing fixtures and finishes, including floors, walls, tiles, tapware and lighting.
  • Specifying, sourcing and supplying furniture, window coverings, artwork, décor and custom soft furnishings.

As interior designers, our end goal is always to enhance the lives of the families and individuals who call the space home. You’ll have our interior design expertise, keen eye for design and commitment to making the process as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.


If you’ve been wondering about the difference between interior design and interior decoration, why not enjoy the best of both worlds with the expertise and experience of the Bella Vie team? Get in touch today to learn about how we can make sure your home reaches its potential.

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