What should I pick – Interior Design or Architecture?

Discover the exciting courses at MAHE Dubai.

Aspiring students of spatial design often face a dilemma of whether they should pick Interior Design or Architecture as their next graduate or post-graduate program. Essentially, what both do is similar if not exactly the same.

Architects and interior designers with their expert space planning help solve the real problems of homeowners, office owners, and goers, hospital, hotel owners. They take on the mandate of creating structurally sound, safe, functionally useful and aesthetically pleasing spaces. Both disciplines require a certain amount of technical proficiency to understand the requirements and fulfill those through their plans.

What’s the difference between the two?

Interior Design is the design planning and designing of interior spaces such as home interiors, office, hotel, hospital, exhibition stall interiors and likewise. It does not include planning and designing structure like buildings. That is the work of an architect, as he has the necessary regulatory licenses to do so and the qualifications to fulfill the structural design planning and execution.

While interior designing is seen as a profession with an eye for aesthetics, interior designers also need to have a sound technical base of spatial design with a current view of trends in finishes, colors, textures, materials, etc.

Educational programs in interior designing offer both, a diploma and a full-fledged degree course. In Architecture, you will only get full-fledged degree programs – both graduate and undergraduate programs. Before picking either, we recommend you do an in-depth research of both programs, speak to experts in the field, speak with the Institute counselors and independent educational counselors, if you think it is necessary. You need to weigh your options based on the future potential of interior designing and architecture, both. Do check the course duration, job/career opportunities available, career growth path, markets for both, as well as earning potential. An aptitude test may help you in your quest for the best course, as well.

What work do architects do, exactly?

  • Design the whole (interior as well as exterior) structure of home/office/hotel/hospital/factory
  • Look at the electrical and plumbing for the structure
  • Exterior design and aesthetics as well as an interior architecture including trim, millwork and ceiling finishes – important parts of the structure
  • In some cases, where the work demands, they may select the flooring (tile), lighting, fixtures etc.

Career opportunities: As a B.Arch. or M. Arch, your career opportunities include architecture consultancies, planners and urban designers, landscape designers, architectural conservation, real estate and marketing, municipal liaison consultants, 3D-visualisers, architectural photographers, journalism in design and architecture, interior architectural consultancy, facilities and development manager, green building professionals, architectural and design educator, research and related fields.

Interior designers may go in for the following types of work roles

  • Home/office/hotel/hospital interior design and execution – please note this is restricted to rooms and all interior spaces.
  • Lighting and overall electrical planning
  • Special designing and planning: Flooring, tiles, fittings, fixtures, furniture, paint, textures, and the like
  • Helping the space owner select the above materials
  • Helping the space owner select the external vendors for specific tasks
  • Co-ordinate and gets things done by internal and external vendors.

Career opportunities

You can look forward to opportunities as an Interior Designer / Consultant for Residential and Commercial Design, Facilities Manager and Facility Developer, Event Manager, Space Planner, Designer in department stores and retail outlets, Product Designer in lighting and furnishings, Sales Person in Real Estate Marketing and Specialized Designer / Consultant for Furniture Design & Interior utilities.

Finally, whatever it is you choose, interior designing or Architecture, you are bound to work with the other. In either role, you need to have and master the ability to have an overall perspective of the project on hand. Your work should be directed towards achieving the best there is, for the space you are setting out to create/recreate and for the ultimate satisfaction of the space owner.

Wish you the best in your choice and career!