What separates Interior Design from Interior Architecture

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What is Interior Design?

Have an eye to transform a regular space to an artistic space? Learning Interior Design may be the right path for you. According to the International Interior Design Association, Interior Design is defined as the professional and comprehensive practice of creating an interior environment that addresses, protects, and responds to human needs. It’s all about the art of creating a conducive living environment.  

In the process of Interior Design, Interior Designers will use their knowledge of colour, space, and functionality to create aesthetically pleasing and livable spaces. Interior designers may work on projects of different scales, from residential to commercial projects, and their job may include everything from developing design concepts, selecting furniture, overseeing the renovation, and other related matters.

Interior Design jobs

Interior Designers create and execute plans for the design of the interiors of buildings and other structures. Here are some career paths to consider in Interior Design:

  • Interior designer
  • Office designer
  • Kitchen and bath designers
  • Technical designer
  • Industrial designer
  • Project manager
  • 3D artists
  • Exhibition designer
  • Retail designer
  • Hospitality designer

What is Interior Architecture?

How about Interior Architecture? You might have heard of it and wondered how it differs from Interior Design. Interior Architecture focuses on creating functional and livable spaces that cater to specific human needs, blending art with science and technical knowledge. It may involve converting existing spaces for various purposes too. 

Interior Architects are the experts in this field. They are typically involved in building or renovating interior environments, considering building structure and codes to ensure safety and habitability (e.g., proper plumbing and electrical systems). Architectural design analysis is integrated into all their projects. Additionally, Interior Architects may incorporate sustainable design options, such as “green” developments with alternative heating and lighting systems.

Compared with Interior Design, Interior Architecture focuses more on remodelling existing spaces that comes with a certain level of technical knowledge, whereas Interior Design emphasises on how to make the space visually appealing with the right colour, furniture and decor. 

Interior Architecture jobs

Interior Architecture focuses mainly on building a space through application of their technical knowledge.  Here are some example of the career paths in Interior Architecture:

  • Landscape Architect
  • Urban Planner
  • Restoration Architect
  • Research Architect
  • Lighting Architect
  • Political Architect
  • Extreme Architect
  • Industrial Architect
  • Construction Architect
  • Remodelling Architect

Interior Design vs Interior Architecture

To many, these two professions may look the same, but in fact, both of these areas have very prominent differences. Let’s find out more!

Interior Design


Interior Architecture

Create artistically pleasing and functional interiors, emphasising colour, furnishing, and decorative elements to enhance the overall appearance of a space


Focus on the structural and structural design of interior spaces, incorporating building codes, safety regulations, and structural elements to ensure the space is safe and livable

Background in design-related fields and receive training in colour theory, textiles, and space planning


Extensive architectural education by learning the building systems, structural design, and construction techniques, in addition to design principles

Focus on working with the existing structure without remodelling, but focus on selecting the right decor to create an artistic space

Structural changes

Involved in significant changes to the interior space, including renovations and structural modifications, as they need to consider the building’s architecture and engineering aspects

Creating spaces that look great and work well for the people using them, which involves choosing colours, materials, furniture, and decorations to make rooms feel inviting and comfortable


Focus on how a space interacts with its occupants, addressing issues related to spatial flow, accessibility, and building codes

Tailored to crafting visual elements and arrangements for spaces, such as using 3D modelling 

Software Programme

Employ advanced calculation software and other tools to ensure precision and meticulous execution in creating functional and structural interior spaces

Can an Interior Architect work as an Architect in Australia?

So, I have illustrated the difference between Interior Design and Interior Architecture. The next question you may ask is, “Can an Interior Architect work as an Architect in Australia, given that both of these careers also have an ‘Architect’ in it?” Well, let me shed some light on this topic.

The answer is yes! Interior Architects can progress in their careers to become Architects, but it involves undergoing more rigorous education and training. Architects typically possess specific educational qualifications and are authorised to work professionally in their field. It is essential to understand that the roles of an Architect and an Interior Architect differ, and the skills and knowledge required for each profession may vary. If this is your goal, read on to understand the pathway!

Step 1: The journey starts with completing the necessary prerequisite education such as A-Level, STPM or equivalent. There are several subjects that can provide a solid background for the study of architecture, including art, design, graphic art, environmental studies, history, geography, physics, and mathematics. Each education institution has different recognition methods, so feel free to reach out to us, and we can assist you in determining whether you meet the prerequisite requirements.

Step 2: The next step is to enrol in an accredited architecture programme approved by the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA). Typically, this involves pursuing a Bachelor of Architecture that spans across 3 years, followed by a Master of Architecture with 2 years from an accredited university. 

Assuming that you studied a degree programme related to Interior Architecture but you wanted to pursue the Architecture line as an Architect, you would need to study a Master of Architecture. However, do note that the entry requirements may be different in each university, so it is best to check with your preferred university before onboarding. Here’s an example of the entry requirements from UNSW, Sydney for Master of Architecture. 

Step 3: After graduation, you will need to gain practical experience. Once you acquire the required experience, you must sit for the Architectural Practice Examination (APE) administered by the AACA. This examination assesses your competence in various areas of architectural practice.

Step 4: The final step involves applying for registration as an architect with the relevant state or territory architectural registration board after passing the APE and meeting the competency requirements. Each state or territory has its own board responsible for registering Architects.

To obtain further details on the registration, you may contact the Architect Registration Board.

Not sure if this pathway aligns with your needs? Reach out to us, and we can assist you in planning your education pathway.

Interior Design University in Australia



Interior Design Degree 


The programme offers a perfect blend of hands-on experience and expert guidance, allowing students to hone their design skills and unleash their artistic flair. With a curriculum that integrates the latest industry trends and design principles, students will be well-prepared to tackle real-world challenges in the dynamic field of interior design.

  • Bachelor of Interior Design

RMIT University

A leading institution for studying Interior Design – RMIT University. RMIT offers a dynamic learning environment that fosters creativity and innovation. The Interior Design programmes are able to provide students with practical skills and real-world experience that is relevant to the industry. State-of-the-art facilities and experienced faculty ensure a well-rounded education, preparing students for successful careers in the exciting world of Interior Design. 

  • Bachelor of Interior Design (Honours)

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

At Queensland University of Technology (QUT), students will find an exceptional environment to study Interior Design. With a strong focus on creativity and practical learning, QUT offers world class facilities, experienced faculty, and valuable industry connections. Located in Brisbane, a culturally diverse city with a thriving arts scene, studying Interior Design at QUT provides the perfect opportunity to explore innovative design concepts and make a meaningful impact in the design industry.

  • Bachelor of Built Environment (Honours) (Interior Design)

Billy Blue College of Design

The Interior Design programme is highly regarded for its industry-oriented approach, cutting-edge facilities, and experienced faculty. Through real-life experiences and industry connections, students can dive deep into the dynamic realm of design, gaining the skills and expertise needed to flourish.

  • Bachelor of Interior Design (Commercial)
  • Bachelor of Interior Design (Residential)

Collarts (Australian College of the Arts)

Collarts, the Australian College of the Arts, is renowned for its Interior Design programme. Collarts provides a dynamic and supportive environment with experienced faculty and industry professionals that guide students through real-world design projects. Collarts is the place where they focus on nurturing the students’ creativity and excelling in the world of design through various educational supports.

  • Bachelor of Arts (Interior Design)

Contact us right now for a free consultation if you’d like more details about the costs, the format of the programme, and the entry requirements!

Interior Architect University in Australia



Interior Architect Degree

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Renowned for its cutting-edge design programmes, UNSW offers a comprehensive and industry-focused curriculum. Students can benefit from the facilities, experienced faculty, and access to a thriving creative community. Studying Interior Architecture at UNSW prepares students for rewarding careers in the dynamic world of design. 

  • Bachelor of Interior Architecture (Honours)

University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

UTS is all about creativity and innovation, making it the perfect hub for aspiring designers. In the Interior Architecture programme, students will get their hands on with real projects and learn from experienced gurus in the field. Plus, the campus is equipped with top-notch facilities to fuel their creativity. UTS is the space of tomorrow and has what students need to grow their careers!

  • Bachelor of Design in Interior Architecture

University of Canberra

The University of Canberra is a top-notch institution in Australia’s capital city, offering a supportive and dynamic learning environment. Studying Interior Architecture here is a fruitful choice due to its comprehensive curriculum, experienced faculty, and strong industry connections. The programme emphasises sustainability and provides practical experience through internships and real-world projects. 

  • Bachelor of the Built Environment (Interior Architecture)

Swinburne University of Technology

Choosing to pursue Interior Architecture here presents a unique growth opportunity that immerses students in a state-of-the-art curriculum, gain practical experience, and establish strong ties with the design industry. With a faculty composed of seasoned professionals, access and exposure to a thriving design community, this programme equips you with the expertise to thrive in the ever changing world of design.

  • Bachelor of Design (Interior Architecture) (Honours)

University of South Australia (UniSA) 

The University of South Australia (UniSA) is a prominent institution located in Adelaide, South Australia. Renowned for its commitment to academic excellence and practical learning, UniSA offers a diverse range of programmes to students from around the world. UniSA offers a top-notch Interior Architecture programme. With a comprehensive curriculum, expert faculty, and industry connections, studying here prepares students for a successful career in the dynamic field of Interior Architecture. The city’s blend of modern design and heritage architecture provides an inspiring backdrop for studies.

  • Bachelor of Interior Architecture

Contact us right now for a free consultation if you’d like more details about the costs, the format of the programme, and the entry requirements!

For more information regarding the university, programs offered, entry requirements and fees, contact Excel Education

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About The Author

Eric Chooi

A passionate and inquisitive writer, always looking for new ways to write. If you don’t see him writing, maybe he is hunting for some good food!

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