Difference Between Fixtures and Fittings in Interior Design

Fittings and fixtures are items and equipment that have no permanent connection to the main structure of a building but come up every so often in the interior design and decoration profession.

Not many homeowners know the difference between the two terms (interior fixtures and fittings), but they both represent different things and therefore cannot always be used interchangeably.

Some may say there are no set definitions for what makes a home décor item a fitting or a fixture but normally a fixture is understood to be a fixed item that’s firmly installed and immovable while a fitting is a free standing, screwed on, or hung interior décor item.

For clarification and for those who aren’t quite sure of the differences, find below is a list of items that fall under each category.

Interior Fixtures

  • Lighting fixtures such as ceiling mounted lights, wall sconces, recessed, and cove lights
  • Dimmer, timer, and touch switches
  • Heat radiators, ceiling fans, fireplaces and surrounds
  • Built-in wardrobes units, cupboards, built-in shelves, staircase railings, balustrades
  • Floating wood floors 
  • Bathtubs, vanity units, water closets, shower enclosures, Jacuzzis, and
  • Entrance and interior doors
  • Indoor water fountains
  • Curtain rods, rails, blinds, and shades
  • Kitchen units including island units and breakfast counters

Interior Fittings

  • Paintings, wall art, mirror, partitioning; items that are not bolted but hung or screwed on to a wall.
  • Carpets, curtains, and drapery
  • Wall mounted entertainment systems, televisions, including audio and video equipment
  • Free-standing ovens, refrigerators and washers and driers (also referred to as appliances)
  • Moveable furniture like beds, sofas, tables, consoles, etc..., and others of such free standing items
  • Portable light fittings such as table, desk, and floor lamps

Majorly, the method of installation, placement, and attachment determines whether an item is one or the other.

For instance, is the item permanently affixed to a floor, wall, or ceiling by using screws, nails, cement, or glue? On the other hand, is the item moveable or removable with ease? It it’s easy to move, like taking down a wall painting, or hard to remove like floating shelves, the method used to attach it might make it a fixture or a fitting.

If the item becomes an integral part of the home, like a floating laminate floor, even though it is snapped together by a simple tongue and groove method, it still remains a fixture. In other words, if an item is installed as a permanent feature, like a built-in bookcase, it becomes a fixture; while a free standing (standalone) bookcase is termed a fitting.

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