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Difference between architecture and interior design

Each and every building has a story to tell, and this story is closely embedded in the walls of the structure by the intricate work of both architects and interior designers. It is often seen that some people work in sync with each other creating a more functional, pleasant and appealing structure. It is often observed that in most cases architects design the structure of the building whereas interior designers decide what goes inside the building. People often use the words architecture and interior design interchangeably, however, although there are similarities between the two there are still some distinct differences which separate architecture from interior design.

By |January 14,2019|Building Material, Raw Building Materials

Before we understand the difference between architecture and interior design let us understand who exactly are architects and interior designers and what is the work that is done by them.

 Who is an architect?

The main work of an architect is to make sure that empty spaces can be built to perfection by achieving the perfect balance between planning and execution. An Architect is a person who designs, reviews, and oversees the construction of buildings. She/he creates a structure on a given space that is both functional and pleasing to the eye at the same time.

They are involved in tasks like planning the basic structure of the building which includes planning and deciding where different rooms of the home will be placed like the bedrooms, living room, bathrooms, and the kitchen.

Who is an interior designer?

The interior designer steps in after the building has been built. Interior designers take up the responsibility of accessorizing and furnishing the empty spaces in the building. The designers beautifully design the place making it aesthetically pleasing and appealing.

For instance, if interior designers are assigned the project of a house, they decide important aspects. These include deciding where the sofa would go, which curtains would go well with the sofa, what color scheme should be followed in the house, if any woodwork is required, where should the different furniture items be placed, which paintings would enhance the look of the house, what kind of accessories like hangings, clocks, vases, etc. are required to balance the room.

Now, that you have understood the basic difference between the work done by an architect and an interior designer let us have a look at some of the differences between architecture and interior design.

1. What do they design?

Architects are usually involved in designing the main structure of the building which includes the main structure and the placement of the different rooms in the home like the living room, bedroom, kitchen, and the bathroom.

Interior designers decide where what will go in the interior of the home. These include things like deciding the furniture, fixtures, and any other kind of accessories in the home to help you create the desired look which you wish to have for your home.

2. What they are trained in?

When you talk about the training of an architect, they are trained to design the basic structure of the building which meets the proper local, state and national codes and requirements.

On the other hand, interior designers are trained to create a functional and good quality of the interiors of the home or office.

3. Requirements they focus on

Architects are more focused on certain technical requirements such as form, material, climate, lighting, ventilation, flooring, etc.

Whereas, interior designers focus more on the emotional aspects of the place such as human psychology rather than the technical aspects as in the case of architects.

This can be seen in the case of hospital rooms, where interior designers use calm and healing colors with scenic views to encourage positivity and help the patients heal faster. Similarly, they also efficiently design educational spaces to cultivate the maximum amount of learning and retention.

4. Professional qualifications

In order to become an architect, you need to undergo rigorous professional training.  This training will involve some drafting skills and sound knowledge of mathematics. They also need to have in-depth knowledge about the aesthetic structures of the building which conform to the regulatory standards and the different materials used for construction.

Some of the basic qualifications to attain include:

  • Pursuing a 10+2 in the science field
  • Appear for NATA (National aptitude test in architecture)
  • Enroll in Bachelors for architecture
  • Pursue a Masters/Ph.D. if you wish to


An interior designer also requires some professional qualifications to be completed. This includes training in various aspects of design and planning which helps to enhance the functionality and aesthetics of the place. Interior designers are also trained in CAD( computer-aided design), along with conventional drawing, basics of architecture and lighting and furniture design and various aspects of colors and texture palettes. 

Some of the basic qualifications to attain include:

  • Pursue 10+2 in science stream
  • Take a multi-level entrance test to pursue the course Bachelor of interior design
  • You can also opt for NID (National Institute of Design) exams
  • After completing the four to a five-year course for interior design you can also pursue your Master’s degree.


5. Magnificence v/s comfort

An architect aims to create a structure which is magnificent and will stand out among all the other structures. Their main vision is to make the structures that they create look a class apart.

On the other hand, interior designers try to maximize visual comfort in relaxing the homeowners. Interior design aims to curate all the accessories and fixtures in the home to make it look in sync.

In this manner, the aim of architecture is to stand out whereas that of interior design is to fit in.

6. Public v/s private

There is an unknown saying which says that architects are hired to impress others whereas interior designers are hired to impress yourself.

Architecture is many times supposed to be the public realm of the building whereas the interior design is the private part. Architecture is bound by certain rules and has to follow certain laws while designing the structure whereas interior design has a lot of flexibility and can be customized according to your whims and fancies.

7. Challenges

Architecture faces certain challenges and limitations like the use of the materials and the brunt of the changing weather conditions. Architecture is often dictated by the tantrums of others since it has to abide by the bye-laws and face a certain amount of scrutiny.

Interior design faces fewer challenges as compared to architecture which includes some basic things like protecting the wood from the water and the sharp glass from the children, interiors offer a wide scope to explore.

8. Rigidity v/s flexibility

Architecture remains timeless. If you like it or you hate it, architecture remains the same for many years and cannot be modified or changed easily. The rigid character of architecture is not something which you can easily ignore.

However, this does not stand true when it comes to interior design. When it comes to interior design it offers you the opportunity to change and evolve as per your own likes and dislikes, making it more flexible.


Here was a list of some of the basic differences between architecture and interior designs. An easy way to think about the difference between the two is to consider the architecture of an office building as compared to interior design.

The architecture provides structures such as rooms, staircases and basic services such as water and heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The interior design provides the interior materials, decorations & art, flooring, furniture and additional services such as coffee stations and kitchens.



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