Interior Design Vs. Architecture

In my previous blog, I discussed the difference between an Interior Designer and an Interior Decorator. This blog I will discuss the difference between an Interior Designer and an Architect.  Because they have some similar interests, many people get confused between the two, and wonder who does what. Although it’s true that they share similar interests, they are different from each other in more than one way.

The most commonly known difference between Interior Design and Architecture is that Interior Design focuses on the interior of a space, whereas Architecture focuses on the exterior. Together, they can create a fully functional, safe space.


1. In both Interior Design and Architecture, the primary way to start a project is through spatial design and planning.

2. The architecture and design fields are considered both an art and a science.

3. The spaces they create need to be structurally safe and sound, functional and aesthetically pleasing, whether it was outside or inside.

4. Both fields should be up to date on building systems and codes.

5. They both use inspirations from previous projects they’ve seen or done into their recent projects. They build their projects based on concepts, inspirations and ideas.

6. They’re are both creative and artistic.

7. They examine materials, finishes, furnishings and cabinetry to make sure they are the right fit for the client and for the home itself.

8. Architects and Interior Designers can work together in Schematic Design, Space Planning, Furniture Layouts, Design Development, Building Cost Analysis (overall building costs), Material Research and Specifications, Construction Document Set, and monitoring a project.

9. They both have knowledge on architectural principles.

10. They are both somewhat counted as “designers.”

11. They are both highly regulated fields. They have to stay up-to-date with what’s trending in design.

12. They both need credentials to be practiced professionally.

13. They can both produce 3D renderings to help people/clients visualize the space.

14. They both need education and experience in order to become professionals in either of these fields.

15. They can both work together on a project from start to finish, and create a fully successful project.



1. Architects work with the main structure of a home, and they are authorized to make changes to it.

2. Architects work on electrical and plumbing requirements in each of their plans.

3. Architects focus on the home’s exterior design elements, and also its interior architecture, trim, millwork and ceiling finishes.

4. In certain cases, architects select the tile, flooring and lighting (fixtures and placement).

5. Architects base their design on the site and the environment of the building. (Site and Environmental Analysis, environmental evaluation, and land-planning).

6. They work with Technical Systems Coordination (Coordination with team members responsible for Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing systems and integration of the systems into the design).

7. They produce Construction Documents and Contract Administrations (i.e. project communication, project records, reviewing and certifying amounts due contractors, change orders, and confirming conformance with drawings and specs in the field).

8. They have project management skills (planning, organizing, staffing, budgeting, scheduling, leading and managing project team, documenting, and monitoring).

9. Architects can work in the exterior roofing of a house/space.

10. Architects are much more technical in their spaces than interior designers.

Architecture-Colleges  20111021_williams_001

Interior Design

1. Interior Designers are allowed to change the parts of a home that do not interfere with its actual structure.

2. Interior Designers design the look/style of a home’s interiors (rooms and the different functions of a space).

3. They include a furniture and ceiling/lighting plan for each room.

4. They design/choose flooring tiles and ceiling finishes.

5. They focus on selecting interior materials, finishes, hardware, furnishings, textiles, drapery/window treatments, paint color, wallpaper and accents.

6. Interior Design Drawings include millwork/cabinetry design, specifications and finishes; fireplace aesthetic design; tile layouts and coordination with the Architect for any addition in the Construction Documents.

7. They work on Fixture Selection and Placement (decorative lighting, electrical and plumbing fixtures, placement drawings in elevation and reflected ceiling plans).

8. They work on Furniture and Fabric Selection.

9. They work on Budgeting, Pricing, Procurement, Coordination, and Installation of Furnishing Package.

10. They work on Task Lighting, Accessory, and Artwork Selection, Pricing, Procurement, Coordination, and Installment.

20110608_schofield_011  20120127_smith_034


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