Skip to content

Can Architects Do Interior Design? (Guide)

Architects interested in interior design should pursue their passions, as they can easily study additional courses or gain certifications.

They have an excellent foundation for becoming interior designers.

They also bring unique expertise to interior design, unmatched by those who only possess interior design experience.

If you want to know how architects can transition into interior design, follow this helpful guide.

Can An Architect Do Interior Design?

Because architects already understand building design, structural integrity, and building safety codes, they are in a good position to do interior design.

Core knowledge may include historical and modern architectural design, scale drawings and blueprints, landscaping, materials research, building codes, and zoning laws.

Architecture students can apply these core elements of architecture to their studies in interior design.

Likewise, they will have an advantage over their peers because they can easily complement interiors and exteriors, preserve invaluable or historical aspects of buildings, or solve building structure problems.

Fortunately, most architects who completed their undergraduate degree (or graduate degree) already have any required classes.

If they already have significant experience in the field, they can take a particular state test, the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam, to become an interior designer.

Learn more: Can Architects Do Structural Calculations And Design?

What Do You Need To Do To Become An Interior Designer?

Prospective interior designers can obtain their dream career by earning a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree in architecture or interior design.

If their undergraduate program is not related, they may need additional courses to cover drawing, computer-aided design (CAD), design theory and styles, and building and construction codes, rules, and regulations.

Students must earn relevant experience through volunteering, internships, or work.

They must have at least two years of experience before registering for the official NCIDQ exam.

Since the exam covers fundamental, professional, and practical knowledge and skills, passing it will validate their proficiency with employers.

Is It Better To Be An Architect Or An Interior Designer?

Choosing between architecture and interior design can be difficult because they offer similar work experiences.

Architects design and oversee buildings while interior designers imagine and implement functional and aesthetically pleasing inside spaces for any type of building.

Career seekers may wish to consider and compare job outlook, professional opportunities, and salaries to help them decide between the two.

Architects require more education (at least a graduate degree), or expertise, than an interior designer.

Therefore, they have a higher average earning of between $80,180 and $106,397 annually.

Likewise, they may have a better job outlook as their skills are necessary for buildings such as residences, condos, apartment buildings, hotels, businesses, corporate offices, and infrastructure.

Despite this, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) only expects a growth of 3% before 2030, which is slower than average.

Fortunately, architects can find many jobs, such as architectural designers, drafting technicians, architectural technicians, structural engineers, urban planners, and project managers.

On the other hand, interior designers only need an undergraduate degree and the NCIDQ exam.

They earn an average of $60,340 per year.

The BLS does not expect the job market to grow for interior designers, with about 7,800 needed annually through 2030.

So, interior designers may wish to stand out from their competition and increase their pay scale by obtaining further education or experience.

They can also specialize in a specific area to become retail space planners, office planners, interior design technicians, interior design project managers, or interior decorators.

Which Course Is Best For Interior Design?

Interior designers should look for programs offering:

  • Interior Design Theory
  • Historical and Modern Interior Design
  • Materials
  • Color Theory
  • Drawing
  • Computer-Aided Design (CAD)
  • Lighting
  • Workflow Management Software
  • Best Business Practices & Ethics
  • Building Codes and Laws
  • Communication

An ideal interior design program may also offer students a chance for an internship or advice and feedback during training.

What Qualifications Do You Need To Be An Interior Designer?

Most employers require their interior designers to have at least an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, two years of experience in architecture or interior design, and pass the NCIDQ exam.

Additionally, certain states mandate interior designs have licensure, while others require students to garner various criteria before practicing.

Your particular state may have age criteria, education and experience minimums, moral character evaluation or code of ethics agreement, ongoing education requirements, or additional exams apart from the NCIDQ.

Does Interior Design Require Math?

Interior designers should have a substantial understanding of math.

They need these skills to calculate lengths, areas, volumes, weights, and angles.

They will also utilize math when they draw layouts or drafts of their intended work, as they must create drawings to scale and use appropriate angles.

Math can also help interior designers read other people’s important work, such as blueprints.

What Kind Of Math Is Used In Interior Design?

Prospective interior designers should not shy away from their academic programs because of the math component.

Fortunately, it mostly requires basic math skills such as arithmetic and geometry for taking measurements, calculating fittings, and creating scale drawings.

Depending on their program, they may also study probability and statistics to research the effectiveness of certain materials and products.

How To Start A Career In Interior Design?

If you want to pursue interior design, follow these steps:

  1. Earn an undergraduate degree in architecture or interior design. Be sure to take your in-person or online courses from an accredited university.
  2. Differentiate yourself from the competition by obtaining a graduate degree or specializing in a particular interior design sector.
  3. Volunteer in the field or pursue an internship while completing your education or after completing your degrees.
  4. Verify your state’s requirements to practice as a licensed interior designer, take required exams, and take any supplemental courses necessary.
  5. Develop a portfolio displaying your designs and projects.
  6. Join and network within professional organizations such as the American Society of Interior Designers or the International Interior Design Association.
  7. Apply for positions with your preferred interior design agencies.

Final Thoughts

Interior design is a wonderful opportunity to work on buildings creatively, add to their aesthetic pleasure, and maintain building functionality and safety.

It is also an excellent way for architects to practice what they love without concentrating on building structure and exterior style.