If you are looking for a new residential or commercial building, you should be aware of the difference between architects and interior designers. In this blog, we discuss the differences between both and why you should hire both for the complete package. So what is the difference between architects and interior designers?

Architects use their expertise to build the exterior of both commercial and residential buildings, meeting strict rules and regulations. Interior designers focus more on the design and layout of the interior to meet the needs of the people using the space. Both can work together to create a functional living or working environment. 

Read on to find out more about the differences between architects and designers and how they can work together to create a complete building.

What is the Difference Between an Architect and an Interior Designer?

If you are considering adding to your building, converting or starting completely fresh, you should be aware of the differences between architects and interior designers. These differences include:


An architect’s focus is on building the structure of the building while sticking to the very strict codes, rules and measurements. This not only ensures that the building is safe, the maximum amount of space is utilised. In more recent times, there has also been a large focus on creating buildings that are environmentally friendly, which is something architects must bear in mind. 

Once the building structure is complete, an interior designer can then design furniture layouts to suit the shape of the building and needs of the business. Interior designers focus more on the functionality and aesthetic of the available space.


Although architects and interior designers share some skills such as attention to detail, design skills and customer service skills, there are some unique to each role. Interior designers’ skills are more focused on human needs such as comfort and how the space will be used on a daily basis. 

For example, an office environment should be comfortable and welcoming to employees and customers. Interior designers will work together with you to create a space that suits your needs. Find out more about the importance of commercial interior design in our recent blog. Architects require more practical skills including knowledge of building and construction.


Architects must be registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) to offer architectural services. To register with ARB, a relevant degree in the industry is required. When you hire an architect, ask to see their professional portfolio of previous projects so you can determine whether their work lives up to your expectations. Interior designers also have a professional institute known as the British Institute of Interior Design. There are no minimum requirements to practise as an interior designer, however most companies likely require a relevant degree. 


The types of projects both professionals will work on can also vary and they aren’t just limited to new buildings. Architects can also build extensions to existing buildings that match the original aesthetic or fully convert or renovate an existing property. Interior designers will build on the structure of the building by working with the existing layout, choosing furniture, colour schemes and flooring. This can range from a shop to a new living room.   

Do You Need Both An Architect and a Designer?

It is strongly recommended that you hire both architects and interior designers for any of the following projects:

  • Commercial Residential – Both professionals can help you achieve the optimal layout, aesthetically and practically so you can really sell your property. 
  • New Builds – Starting from scratch doesn’t have to be such a daunting task when you work with expert architects and interior designers.
  • Retail/Workspace – Both the exterior and interior are vital aspects of representing your business in the best way possible, whether it’s to employees or customers. 
  • Renovation/Conversions – Your property can be completely refreshed to match its history or modernised. Alternatively, one house can be transformed into multiple flats.
  •  Extensions – An extension can expand your home, allowing more space for daily activities.

Working together on each of these projects, architects and interior designers can create a cohesive look and feel. 

Architects and Interior Designers at Andrew Wallace Architects

At Andrew Wallace Architects, we are experts in both architecture and interior design, meaning we offer the complete package. We design buildings that are fit for purpose, with years of experience working on projects of all shapes and sizes. Find out more about why you should work with us on your next project by contacting one of our experts.