Something has been stewing up inside of me for ages. It’s a mixed bag of frustration, pride, and down-right bitchiness: 

Contrary to what you have been told by the blogosphere, there is a difference between an Interior Designer and a Decorator. 

For those of you who claim to be Interior Designers, and by ‘those’ I mean the “I was once an assistant at a paint store for like, um, six months and now I have a blog and I love using words like ‘bananas’, ‘ridic’, and other assorted phrases that not only bastardize the English language but also, plainly put, sound stupid” listen up:

A professional Interior Designer is someone who went to school and received a degree in the subject. A Decorator, or Decorina as I am fond of calling them, is someone who did not, and who presumes that enjoying color play, accessorizing, and using such cutesy catch phrases as ‘I Die’ or ‘Swoon’ with respect to anything printed with a Greek Key pattern are all legitimate qualifications for design work.

Pssst, we Interior Designers would like to inform you that Kelly Wearstler’s Imperial Trellis wallpaper is, like, so, yesterday.

Professional Interior Designers earn a Bachelors and/or a Masters degree in Interior Design from an accredited institution. Coursework includes instruction in drafting & reading architectural plans, commercial & residential building codes & systems, accessibility guidelines & furniture design. Professionals are taught to work closely with Architects and Contractors in a collaborative process that considers the interior design as one component of a cohesive whole.

The ultimate notch in Interior Designer’s belt is not a reality TV show. Instead, it’s acceptance into the American Society of Interior Designers, or ASID, as it is more commonly known. Transcripts and recommendations must be submitted for membership, and once admitted, an Interior Designer is required to continue education coursework in his/her respective field. Passing what is called the National Council for Interior Design Qualification, or NCIDQ, will put hair on your chest.

ASID members are legally bound to a code of ethics and professional conduct which puts compliance with existing laws, rules and guidelines pertaining to building codes and the safety and welfare of the client at the forefront. To that end, members are also unable to falsely promote or market their education or skillset.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of practicing decorators who take their craft seriously, many of whom create beautiful, balanced spaces, but they are they are the exception, not the rule.  Interior Design encompasses more than the harmonious placement of an étagère.

But let us get this straight, not only are Interior Designers qualified by education, experience & examination, they are also bound to a code of conduct that makes it their duty to educate the public and their clients on the difference. 

And anyway, we can spot the falsies from a banana-lined mile away.



  1. I have ALWAYS wondered!! (Not really; I have friends in the biz who will TOTALLY love this! Finally!!) Plus, you’re an excellent, hilarious writer. Kudos to you, Stephanie Rossi. Whoever you are!

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