June 24, 2022

I get several questions from clients about the difference between architects and interior designers. When I’m in a discussion with a new client that is building their new home or renovating their existing home, this topic tends to surface to the top – and for good reason. Owners want to make sure their project is built or remodeled as efficiently as possible, and that means assembling the right design/build team from the very beginning. As an interior architectural firm, I greatly value the power of a great team.

Over my 37 years in business, it’s undoubtedly true that the best project outcomes are the ones where the architect, designer(s) and builder have excellent synergy, a great sense of collaboration, respect everyone’s roles and complement one another’s areas. Experienced architects and interior designers (not the same as interior “decorators”) are qualified to create / design spaces that solve problems for homeowners. The primary way they do this is through spatial design and planning. The architecture and design fields are considered both an art and a science. The spaces need to be structurally safe and sound, functional and aesthetically pleasing. There are many technical aspects of design that both disciplines are required to understand thoroughly and properly address in their plans.

Architects and interior designers typically:

•           Have cross-over skills, namely space-planning
•           Are up-to-date with a state’s building codes and regulations
•           Have specialties they bring to the design/build team
•           Can draw from past projects/experiences to make suggestions
•           Are creative and artistic individuals
•           Ask a multitude of questions to gain an understanding of your lifestyle (how you live and the activities you do in your home), design likes/dislikes, the “look” you’re seeking, your needs and wants
•           Will present ideas that you haven’t thought of before
•           Recommend incorporating innovative, cutting-edge products into your home
•           Take continuing education courses to stay current
•           Attend trade shows and meet with manufacturers’ reps to learn about new products and services on the market
•           Will closely examine materials, finishes, furnishings, and cabinetry to make sure they are the right fit for the client and for the home itself.

In theory, architects and interior designers are highly trained professionals with comprehensive knowledge of architectural principles. Historically speaking, these two groups study different disciplines. Architecture is a highly regulated field. Above anything else, architects must design homes that are safe for the occupants. Because architects work with the main structure of a home, they are authorized to make changes to it.

Interior Designers are allowed to change the parts of a home that do not interfere with its actual structure. In order to avoid change orders, it is important for the interior architectural firm to have all details and ID drawings prepared prior to the contractor establishing budgets. This definitely aids in the time frame to build the home as well. There will certainly be some change orders and RFI’s but they are greatly reduced.

I have attached minimum requirements based on a certain size home. I also have the before and after we examined the floor plans and made changes. This is a home that we are working on in Longboat Key that you can follow along in our blogs and watch the involvement that we have in the process.

Room Standard Sizes

Original and Updated Plans

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