Updated: May 20, 2019
Alas, we are discussing the infamous debate of 'Interior Designer vs. Architect' - who to hire and when to hire them. In truth, it's not a debate, but rather an important question that can be easily answered with a little education and direction.
Before hiring either it's important to understand their roles in a project, and ensure you're hiring them at the right time.
More often than not clients wait too long into their project before hiring an interior designer or architect.
Have you ever thought any of the following to yourself?
"We can save more money if we design it ourselves"
"I'm a great bargain hunter, I'll find everything for cheap"
"It's too expensive to hire a designer or architect"
"How hard can it be?"
"The builder can think through all the details"
So you've now tackled the project on your own, spent more money than originally budgeted, are not happy with the outcome, and the overall design is not cohesive. You're now panicked and discouraged, you need help!
Do not let this be you. Educate yourself and understand the importance of both trades.
WHAT DOES AN INTERIOR DESIGNER DO?
Along with being a couples counselor and a financial advisor (our side hustles, hah!) we are the brains and the driving force behind all design in the interior spaces.
I'm a trained Interior designer, with a BA in Interior Architecture. Thats means I do more than pick out pretty pillows. I have the skill and resources to create technical drawings, and help redesign your home's layout, ie. removing walls where needed, and increase the overall usage and flow of the interior spaces.
I do not, however, have the same structural expertise as an architect or engineer. Interior designers are experts at spacial layout, scale, and surface finishes - all skills are critical to having a well-deigned and comfortable home.
Image by Ratio Architects
WHAT DOES AN ARCHITECT DO?
Architects lay the foundation for the project. Their expertise lies in the overall form and structural components, both inside and out. The exterior walls, load-bearing walls of interior spaces, and the foundation are determined by the architect.
As shown in the picture above, architects explore and define the relationships of one building to another. They also look at the topography - the study of the shape and features of land surveys.
Though you may find slight overlap in an interior design firm and architecture firm, their core studies and skills are separate, and should remain as such.
So how do you know which of the two creative experts you need and when? Let's explore the most common scenarios.
NEW CONSTRUCTION & ADDITIONS
If you're building a home via a builder or if you are going full custom, then you want to start searching for an interior designer and architect simultaneously. WHY? The success of your new home build lies in its preparation. No home can be built without a quality architect and a quality designer.
The architect will lay the foundation, the footprint for the home. We, the designers, would then tweak that to function for you, the client. There is a healthy dance between designer and architect that needs to be established early on.
The interior designer will also focus on the smaller, yet equally important, details such as furniture placement, electrical outlet locations, open walls for art, cabinet and door swings and much more.
Renovations do not typically involve an architect. You DO need a good designer and contractor, and you can get the job done beautifully. Pictures featured above are of a recent kitchen renovation for a client. Talk about a transformation!!
I hope this post has helped you to be more informed and that it encourages you to plan ahead for your next design project. No matter how many times you tell yourself, "we can do it on our own", don't.
Spend the money to hire the right people with the talent, skill and expertise. We work with wonderful builders, contractors, architects, and tradesmen to get the job done right. In the end you won't regret it!
We look forward to hearing form you! If you have a design project you'd like us to take a look at please fill out the Design Questionnaire.