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Interior design vs interior architecture: learn the difference

When you are about to take on a refurb project - transforming your office into a modern co-working space or creating the next best hospitality venue from scratch, your first thought might be to reach out to a trusted Architect or Signage company. We understand your thinking, however, did you know that commercial interior architecture and interior design can serve these purposes? Both require expertise in their specialist areas and both will change the look and feel of your venue, but this is where the similarities end. Knowing the difference between interior design and interior architecture can save you time spent organising multiple suppliers, as well as unnecessary costly bills, and a headache down the line. Find out the differences between interior architecture and interior design and which one you might need to transform your space in this blog…


SO, what is the difference?

Before you can decide whether you need to call on an interior architect to create your hotel layout, or whether an interior designer will do the job of reimagining the ‘vibe’ of your wine bar, it is good to understand the difference between the two specialisms. Interior architecture is where science, functionality and art meet - to create, refurbish or repurpose the interior of your restaurant, workplace, home or any indoor space. It focuses on functionality and operations and also involves transforming one type of space into another. Interior Architects are often integral during the build or rebuild of interiors, including changing the structure of the internal space.



They are qualified professionals who take building regulations into account to ensure that plumbing, electric systems and other services are efficient and safe and they must have a high level of technical ability for detailed drawing packs to be issued to contractors. All of this is done with beautiful design in mind, from start to finish. Check out Studio SO’s completed work.

On the other hand, interior design deals primarily with what the customer will see, feel and touch. The designer will set to work with an overall concept driven from the clients mission and brand values, creating an ambience that is aesthetically pleasing and importantly - drives sales. At Studio So the Interior Designer role is more than simply selecting colour palettes, furniture and textiles to decorate a space – they work closely with other areas of the design industry including Product, Brand and Graphic Designers. Creativity is a must.

Why hire an Interior Architect?

At Studio So we are professional Interior Architects and Identity Designers, all under one roof. So, what are the real benefits of having Interior Architects on your design project? It is common to believe that you will need a full Architect to carry out the structural work on your project, however, often this is not the case and hiring an Interior Architect is a cost-effective option that does not compromise on the quality of your design. Whilst their technical ability is an asset, Interior Architects are creatives at heart, and so they are naturally adept at designing structural work in a beautifully impactful way. This enables creativity to be considered from the beginning of a project, rather than ‘adding it in’ later on which leads to a more impactful and higher quality finished design in a more cost effective way. If you are like the majority of our clients and want what’s ‘hot’ in interiors right now (and let’s face it, who doesn’t!) then Interior Architects are a safe bet to deliver exactly that. We attend commercial trade design events multiple times a year and our network of industry movers and shakers is vast, so you can guarantee that we’re in the know with the latest interior finishes, trends, colours and products bringing you a design-led finish every time.


The whole process is led by one point of contact which saves a huge amount of time (and of course, cost) creating less admin for everyone involved.

f you would like to know more about the ins and outs of interior architecture, or have a quick brainstorm of your next interior project with our expert design team - simply pop your email here - we can’t wait to hear from you!



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