What Do You Do as an Interior Decorator?

May 31st, 2022

A good interior design can improve the quality of life. It makes the space more functional, comfortable, and more suited for its purpose. Good designs also evoke a sense of happiness and inspire creativity and energy. No matter what your aesthetic is, there’s a style to reflect your personality. Interior design styles include minimalist, contemporary, traditional, transitional, rustic, French country, Hollywood regency, coastal, Scandinavian, mid-century modern, art deco and industrial.

living room with interior decoration

Interior Decorators play an essential role when designing a space that is not just for living but for creating a dynamic environment.


A good interior design improves the quality of life and makes the space more functional, comfortable, and suited for its purpose.
Transforming a space is not always easy and this is especially true when implementing a theme or combining beauty, comfort, and functionality all in one. This is when the role of an interior decorator or interior designer takes center stage.   

In this article, we will focus on the job responsibilities of an interior decorator, the skills required, and why you should consider making this a career. 

Interior Decorator vs. Interior Designer 

The terms interior designer and interior decorator are often used interchangeably, but there is a clear distinction between the two professions. There are many similarities, but there are also fundamental differences in education, credentials, services, and clientele.

Interior decorators are mainly responsible for making a space look beautiful while meeting the aesthetic needs of a client. Their work starts after the construction or renovation is complete. Their focus is on furniture placement, colour palettes, and accessorizing. On the other hand, interior designers take it a step further with space planning and structural execution. Interior designers work closely with architects and contractors, while interior designers often work closely with upholsters, furniture makers, and contractors.  

Interior Decorator Job Responsibilities 

Interior decorators are hired to decorate and arrange homes, offices, or cafes. They also enter the retail industry as a consultant for furniture and fabric stores. They are responsible for creating spaces that reflect the client’s taste and needs. This entails carrying out a variety of tasks including:

  • Consulting with clients to discuss needs, budgets, interior styles, and personal taste 
  • Creating project timelines and deliverables 
  • Budgeting for projects, determining costs, and documenting plans and orders 
  • Creating mood boards to explore ideas, colour options, and showcase design vision  
  • Selecting paint, wallpaper, floor coverings, textiles, lighting, artwork, colours, and furniture  
  • Coordinating with upholsters and carpenters to make custom furniture and design 
  • Selecting and placing decorative elements, linens, and accessories  
  • Supervising subcontractors to carry out tasks such as attaching fixtures, installation of furniture, painting, etc. 

Besides having great taste and design skills, successful interior decorators are also required to have good management and administrative skills. This includes planning, help-analysis, allocating resources, evaluating, and supervising. The job also requires advising, consulting, and liaising with clients, suppliers and contractors, which means having great communication skills. According to Curtis Steeves, Interior Decorator Instructor at Eastern College, “The skills required to become a successful interior decorator include knowledge of and talent for colour theory, the capability to plan space efficiently, as well as interpersonal and sales skills. The ability to market one’s self, use social media, and an entrepreneurial spirit are also beneficial qualities for successful interior decorators.”

What Do Interior Decorators Make? 

How much you make as an interior decorator is dependent on the province you work in, your experience, qualifications, and whether you are a residential designer or work in a commercial setting such as the restaurant industry. Canadian interior decorators can earn between $23.08 (median) and $43.27 (high) according to Job Bank Canada. Interior decorating salary in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia ranges from $20/hour to $35.16/hour. 

How Do I Become an Interior Decorator in Atlantic Canada? 

If you have an eye for colour and can improve the aesthetics of interior space, then a career as an interior decorator may be the right choice for you. Unlike interior designers, interior decorators can work without a degree. However, having a formal education increases your chances of finding employment or working as a freelance interior decorator. It is recommended to enrol in an interior decorating program that introduces you to AutoCAD — the design software often used as a project visualization tool for clients.

Curtis Steeves further adds, “A great interior decorator should not only be talented but also organized and has a craving for a flexible and creative career. Training in industry software like AutoCAD LT, SketchUp Pro, and Microsoft Office Suite, as well as drawing and drafting skills, are important parts of an Eastern College experience that gives our graduates a competitive advantage in the industry.

Look for a program that offers an internship. Gaining hands-on experience through the program will help you put what you learned to practice and build confidence. Learn more about the Interior Decorating Program in Halifax and Moncton, which is recognized by The Decorators & Designers Association of Canada (DDA).