Is there one? Yes and no. While the terms are used interchangeably, there are differences between the two professions. Simply put, interior designers are also interior decorators, but interior decorators are not interior designers. Complexly put, there is a lot to design and decorating than what you call it and it can make all the difference with your project.
The interior of your home is so much more than walls and furnishings. It’s a place that reflects you and your family and because of that it becomes a part of you, with a personality and a soul. Sometimes it can be hard to find that personality or bring your personal style to your home, but that is where designers and decorators come in.
Interior decorators have a focus on the aesthetics of the finishing touches, furnishings and decorative details. There is no requirement for a formal education and they can specialize in aspects like color schemes, accessories and furniture layouts. Hiring an interior decorator can be a good option if you need advice on those finishing touches, however, ensure they can bring your personal tastes to life and not their own.
Interior designers have a focus on spacial planning and the end users of a space. They can create and envision a space long before anyone steps foot inside. Interior designers typically have a formal education that can vary slightly between institutions, but generally there is instruction in construction, architecture, color theory and furniture design as well as interior design courses designed to ensure the function of the space compliments the occupants and their activities. In addition to all the things interior decorators help with, interior designers can design a space from the ground up with floor plans, finishes, layouts and designs of fixtures. They are also a liaison between you the homeowner and your builders and sub-contractors, helping your projects stay on style, time and budget with design assistance.
Hiring an interior designer is a good option when you have a new build or a remodel project or even when you just need some design advice. Before hiring always ask about other projects and you can get their recommendations on contractors, although most will work with any you’ve hired.