When you’re thinking about home improvements, you may need to hire an architect or interior designer. These pros can help you create a design that will look great and solve current problems. They perform many similar tasks for your house, but they are not the same. Here’s how they differ and a few tips to determine which pro is right for your project.
On This Page:
- Interior Design vs. Architecture
- Designer vs. Architect
- Building Designer vs. Architect
Architecture concerns everything about a structure. This includes:
- the design of the exterior
- interior floorplans
- the general function of the space
- finishes like flooring and countertops
- a degree in interior design
- knowledge of local building codes
- experience with drafting floorplans
- Four-year or higher degree from an institution accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)
- Licensing through the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)
- Two-year or four-year degree
- Licensing if your state demands it
- Many pros get a certification from the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ), but it is not required.
Building designers, interior designers and architects are similar. The major difference is their involvement with the project during various parts of the process. Architects tend to do more work at the beginning, while designers work throughout. Certified Professional Building Designers often have a degree, but it is not required. They may cost less to hire as a result. To certify, these pros must pass a series of exams on topics related to structural design and construction, with six years of experience in the field. They can:
- build a residential design for a new home or remodel
- draft blueprints
- help you request and select bids from contractors
- oversee construction at every stage
What’s the difference in salary between interior design vs. architecture professionals?Nationally, interior designers make about $55,000 per year, compared to around $80,000 per year for an architect. Architects go through a stricter licensing process, which gives them the authority to take on higher-paying jobs with greater responsibility.
Can you be both an architect and interior designer?It’s common for both types of professionals to sell a package of architecture and interior design services. Interior designers can’t legally operate as an architect unless they have the proper qualifications.
How does home designer pro vs. chief architect compare?Home Designer Pro and Chief Architect are software packages built for DIY enthusiasts and pros respectively.
How do you know to hire an architect vs interior designer?You should hire an architect if you want to:
- design a new structure
- build a home addition
- expand the exterior
- make significant changes to the interior floorplan
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