Interior Design vs. Room Makeover vs. Room Decorating vs. Renovation?

Without a clear understanding of the differences between a room makeover, decorating, renovation, and the interior design profession, you may end up with spaces that lack cohesion, functionality, and the desired concept learned from reputable design schools.

We offer all four services. Part of our in-home complimentary design consultation process includes helping you decide what scope of project is necessary for what you wish to achieve.

Differences Between Room Makeover, Room Decorating, Renovation, and Interior Design Profession

The interior design practice demands a comprehensive understanding of the design industry, incorporating technical knowledge of building codes, spatial planning, and material applications. Room makeovers focus on refreshing the aesthetic appeal of space through clever furniture arrangements and inspired color palettes. 

Room decorating involves curating furnishings and accessories to enhance a room’s ambiance. In the design world, renovations are more extensive projects that may involve structural changes and a reimagining of a home’s layout and flow.

Living room with a sectional sofa and woven furniture pieces

1. Interior Design

Interior design focuses on the planning, designing, and execution of the interior space of a building. It can be restricted to a single room or an entire home. Interior designers use a variety of elements, including color, lighting, furniture, textiles, and artwork, to create a functional and aesthetically pleasing environment. 

  • The goal of interior design is to create a space that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing, and that reflects the owner’s style and preferences.
  • In our case, we incorporate state-of-the-art design software to aid in the planning and design process. We also find this helps clients know exactly what we have in mind and whether it’s the perfect look for their home.

2. Room Makeover

A room makeover is the process of giving an existing room a new look without necessarily making any major structural changes. This could involve painting the walls, replacing the flooring, updating the lighting, and adding new furniture and accessories. 

  • A room makeover can be a cost-effective way to refresh a space and can be completed in a relatively short amount of time. Note that our room makeover services often include multiple rooms. 
  • The point is that the scope of this type of project falls in between room decorating and renovation. What’s great about a room makeover is that, because it does not include structural changes, it’s considerably less expensive and much faster.

3. Room Decorating

You’d be surprised just how much your home can improve in style and appearance with some clever and talented decoration planning.

  • Room decorating is the process of adding decorative elements to a room to enhance its appearance. Decorating may involve rearranging furniture, adding new accessories, or changing the color of the walls. 
  • It’s usually done with a specific theme or style in mind and is often less involved than a room makeover or interior design project. Learn more about our room decorating services.

4. Renovation

Renovation refers to the process of making changes or improvements to an existing structure.  It’s the most costly and time-consuming type of project to improve a home.  Permits are sometimes needed, which can extend the duration and cost of a renovation. Architects may be involved as well as sub-trades.

  • Renovations include anything from simple cosmetic updates, such as painting or updating fixtures, to more complex renovations, such as adding a new room or moving walls. It can be complex and require professional practice, involving structural changes to the building.
  • Often, the term is used to refer to lesser jobs that are technically room makeovers. It helps when discussing these matters that everyone is on the same page as to exactly what is to be done.


All four types of projects have the goal of improving the appearance and functionality of a space. They may involve making changes to the walls, flooring, lighting, and furniture, and may also involve adding new decorative elements. 

On the flip side, it may involve merely adding some accessories to a dining room and rearranging the furniture layout.

Key Differences

The main differences between these concepts lie in the scope of the project, the level of involvement, and the level of expertise required. The interior design profession requires a high level of expertise and is usually more involved and complex than a room makeover or room decorating project. 

Room makeovers and room decorating projects are typically less involved and may be completed by anyone, while renovations can be complex and require professional practice.

About the photo above: That’s one project we did that falls into the renovation scope of projects. The space was enlarged by extending a wall out and as you can see doors, windows, and the entire space was transformed into something very different.

What to Look for in an Interior Design

Interior design is a multifaceted discipline that combines decorative arts, space planning, lighting principles, and building information modeling to create stunning and functional living spaces. When considering an interior design for your house, look for elements that reflect your style while enhancing your quality of life.

Living room with bold furniture pieces

  • Cohesive integration of decorative arts, such as textiles, artwork, and furnishings, to create a visually appealing and harmonious aesthetic
  • Thoughtful space planning that optimizes the flow and functionality of living rooms and other areas, making efficient use of the available space
  • Effective utilization of both natural and artificial light sources to create the desired ambiance and highlight architectural features
  • A style that resonates with your personal preferences and complements the character of your house

Ways an Interior Designer Can Help

Interior design is a profession that uses creativity and technical knowledge. Aspiring designers often join organizations like the International Interior Design Association. Interior design services often include space planning, selecting materials, and applying finishes.

When hiring professional designers, it’s important to look for individuals or firms with proper training and credentials. Many successful designers graduate from accredited design schools like the New York School of Interior Design. Their work is often showcased in publications such as Architectural Digest.

Interior Design

An interior designer’s deep knowledge of interior design history, architectural styles, and graphic design principles can enhance any interior space. An interior designer can help you:

  • Understand architecture and incorporate historical design influences
  • Use graphic design elements like patterns, textures, and artwork effectively

Before and after a living room renovation

Room Makeover

Proper interior design can provide a fresh perspective and transform your experience of the space, leaving you inspired. The professional practice expertise of an interior designer includes:

Room Decoration

While an interior decorator focuses primarily on furnishings and accessories, an interior designer takes a more holistic approach to room decoration. The interior design influences:

  • Selecting furniture pieces that balance form and function
  • Curating artwork, lighting, and accent pieces that tie the room together


For larger renovation projects, interior architecture and home design are invaluable. An interior designer can help you reimagine and optimize your living spaces, considering:

  • Natural and artificial light sources for adequate illumination
  • Structural changes that may be required

Interior Design Style Trends in Vancouver

Vancouver’s vibrant interior design scene is constantly evolving. Interior designers are creating unique and captivating experience spaces that cater to a wide range of tastes and lifestyles.

Art Deco Style

The resurgence of Art Deco interiors has made a significant impact with its bold geometric shapes and luxurious decorative arts interior design. Vancouver’s love affair with Art Deco interiors can be attributed to the city’s vibrant art scene and a growing interest in preserving architectural heritage among clients.

Dining table with an art deco themed lighting fixture

Contemporary Chalet Design

A contemporary chalet interior design has a significant focus on clean lines, minimalist aesthetics, and functionality. Dining rooms and living areas often feature sleek, contemporary furniture that blends seamlessly with the design aesthetic. Interior designers create spaces with a contemporary design that is both visually appealing and practical for their clients.

Bedroom with a stone fireplace and high ceilings


The transitional interior design style has gained widespread popularity, combining the warmth and comfort of traditional interiors with the clean lines and simplicity of modern design. Transitional style interiors often feature dark wood, complemented by neutral color palettes and occasional pops of bold hues.

Living room with two varying furniture style sets and colors


Interior design elements like rich colors, intricate detail, and a focus on craftsmanship characterize a traditional interior, creating spaces that exude a cozy and inviting ambiance. This complete design approach appeals to homeowners who appreciate the finer details and a touch of nostalgia in their living environments.

Living room with interesting furniture shapes and designs

West Coast Contemporary

Vancouver’s proximity to nature and the stunning West Coast landscape has influenced the city’s interior design trends. An interior designer can utilize exposed wood beams, natural light, patterns, and a neutral color palette.

Living room with a high ceiling

Sustainable Chic

The sustainable chic interior design trend has gained significant traction in Vancouver, reflecting the city’s commitment to eco-friendly living and its appreciation for bright colors and vibrant life. Architects and interior designers incorporate energy-efficient lighting and locally sourced materials into the interiors.

Patio with woven furniture pieces

California Modern

The laid-back yet sophisticated California modern design style creates a warm and inviting ambiance reminiscent of the West Coast lifestyle. Interior designers have embraced California modern interiors by incorporating features such as floor-to-ceiling windows and an open-concept living space for a house that feels like a relaxing retreat.

Living room with a California modern theme

Organic Modern

This style draws inspiration from traditional homes with a focus on modern materials and sustainability. Interior designers have embraced the organic modern idea by incorporating natural materials like wood, stone, and textured fabrics into their designs. The interiors create warm and inviting spaces that connect with the city’s natural surroundings.

Living room with an orange wood accent and stone fireplace

Northwest Style

The Northwest style is a popular living room style that celebrates the region’s natural beauty by using exposed wood beams, stone fireplaces, and a warm, earthy color palette. Interior designers focus on natural materials, ample natural light, and a seamless indoor-outdoor connection that reflects the city’s love for the great outdoors.

A large living room with a fireplace and grey sectional sofa

Mid-Century Modern

The Mid-Century modern interior design style appeals to homeowners who appreciate its clean lines, organic shapes, and commitment to functionality. Vancouver’s interior designers have embraced this aesthetic by incorporating iconic furniture pieces, geometric patterns, and warm wood tones, may it be for a living room or the hospitality design industry.

Living room with a dark wall and light furniture pieces


Interior design, interior decoration, and the idea of room makeovers or renovations are distinct services that require varying levels of expertise in areas like fine arts, architecture, and spatial conceptualization. JD Elite Interiors in Vancouver can provide comprehensive interior design, decoration, and renovation services tailored to your house.

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