We here at IDG have the great privilege of working on some amazing projects. Most of which are new construction…allowing us to fully design the space VS just decorate it. My opinion may certainly be biased from my architecturally driven schooling and design background, but to me the difference between design and décor is simple.
Design is about creating an envelope of space in which beautiful elements become featured whereas décor to me is more about placing objects within a space to make it appear more special than it once was. In the end, they may produce similar visual outcomes, but I absolutely love being able to create the backgrounds such as ceilings, walls, flooring details etc These backgrounds and textural elements become subtle details that house the special furnishings, accessories, and art that we as designers place within the walls of any space.
Neither option is bad as either way you have the ability to transform or create a special and unique environment. However, if you have the option of having some of these highly detailed architectural design elements added into your project, I strongly urge you to do so. It pushes the design to another level. Also keep in mind that hiring the right designer is critical. Some designers have stronger backgrounds in one direction VS another. Just research wisely before you choose and then allow the creative juices to flow!