architecture drawing

What Is a Interior Architect

Interior architects are often confused with interior designers. The two jobs are actually quite different. An interior architect is focused on the general structure and layout of an interior space, while an interior designer handles the finishing touches, including furniture, decorations, colors and materials.

What does an interior architect do

The main difference between an interior architect and a general architect is that an interior architect is exclusively focused on the internal aspects of a project, while a general architect handles most types of architectural tasks, which may or may not include interior work.

An interior architect is responsible for creating a comfortable interior space that is both safe to live in and has a pleasant visual appeal. Interior architects work closely with general architects to ensure that their designs are aligned with the overall structure of the building and don’t create any structural hazards.

Interior architects are responsible for ensuring that the vision of the project doesn’t have any functional barriers to it. For example, they might verify that aligning walls and floors in a certain way will not compromise the integrity of the building. These points are not always obvious to general architects. On the other hand, interior designers don’t look out for those issues in the first place, so a project must go through an interior architect before it’s suitable for decorating.

decorated living room

What’s required to become an interior architect?

A general architectural degree is required to become an interior architect. Following that, the professional must specialize in interior architecture. This can either be done through additional formal education or on-site training. The latter requires the interior architect to work alongside general architects for some time until they are ready to handle interior issues properly.

What types of tasks does an interior architect handle?

Interior architects handle a variety of tasks, including:

  1. Main design elements like walls, doors, and windows
  2. Lighting
  3. Furnishing
  4. Access between different rooms

A strong understanding of material science is crucial for a good interior architect. While this is important for architectural work in general, it’s of crucial importance when planning the interior layout of a building. Especially when the building follows an unusual shape that may introduce additional structural challenges both on the inside and out.

Solid architectural skills combined with good communication make up the foundation of a reliable interior architect. Some specialists in the field might also have a background in interior design.

Interior Architect General Architect
Works on walls, doors, windows, and other interior elements Handles all types of architectural tasks
Designs lighting and some (but not all) other aesthetic elements Works above interior architects or alongside them
Works out issues with navigation and room connections Works out general structural issues

Clara Annesley

Clara Annesley is an interior design and construction content writer. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Architectural Design Technology from the University of West London. Clara specialises in residential construction for topics like health & safety, architectural design and writing cost guides for renovation and remodelling projects.