Only a small portion of the interior designer's work could be characterized as decoration. So, for views on trends in the furnishing of Washington offices, we turned to showrooms at the new Design Center and other manufacturers representatives:

Steelcase Inc., which makes systems furniture, reports that 40 percent of businesses it serves are turning to individual work stations. The partitions, ranging in height from 34 to 53 inches, may be constructed of glass, fabric on steel, wood or acoustical material. The stations, containing their own individual lighting, are arranged in such a zigzag pattern as to offer people privacy without losing them in cubbyholes.

Structural Concepts Corp. of Bethesda specializes in computer friendly furniture. Its units have personalized air systems. It has developed a system of ducts in the furniture to contain cables separately, so "there is no spaghetti factory under the desk."

Romweber Furniture Co., which caters to affluent executives, specializes in what it calls masculine motifs. Instead of Williamsburg style furniture, it specializes in Scandinavian viking oak. Its dark walnut burl furniture with brass bases is considered a contemporary classic by the company. "Our job is to change the taste of everybody in Washington," said a spokesman.

D&F Office Furniture finds that, in budget equipment, formica desks have been replaced by high-pressure laminates; chrome legs by wood-look legs made of formica. In the medium price range, wood is in and chrome is out. Oak has replaced walnut. Medium tone, or English oak, is the hottest seller.

Ben Rose Inc., which deals in both upholstery and wall fabrics, reports that deep rich tones of burgundy and mauve, teal green and blue are popular. So are wool and wool-nylon combinations and soil and flame retardent fabrics, brushed twill weaves and solid colors. Virtually indestructible fiberglass is still preferred for office curtains, which now come in tighter weaves and ripple folds as opposed to pleats.