When it comes to spotlighting the right design talent, it’s helpful to be in the know about who does what. Whether your project needs an interior decorator or an interior architect, these tips will help you decode the difference.

If your house renovation requires expert assistance, it’s important to know what to expect from the professionals you hire. In the interiors world, there is some crossover between roles, but there are also plenty of important distinctions. So before kicking off a project it’s always worth defining your approach.


An architect is key if you are starting a build from scratch, knocking down an existing build and replacing it or making large structural alterations such as extensions or hefty additions. You’ll appoint an architect to plan and design the physical space, gain the necessary consents and permission from the local authorities and oversee construction.

Interior Architect

Interior architects apply the same scope of vision to internal structural reconfiguration of properties, including residential, commercial and hospitality builds. Their focus includes the redesign of bathrooms and kitchens, altering and reconfiguring rooms and installing new staircases and joinery. An interior architect will work alongside a structural engineer and contractor just as an architect would. If you are not adding anything new to a building externally, such as a side extension or a basement, then employing an interior architect is a good option. Many offer project management as part of their role; on the other hand, some homeowners prefer to undertake this task in order to stay on top of costs. Bear in mind though that project management is not for the faint-hearted: excellent organizational, forward planning and scheduling skills are a must, as is a generous time commitment.

Interior Decorator and Interior Designer

Interior decoration and interior design are commonly interchanged, but in fact these elements are subtly different. Interior decoration focuses purely on the aesthetics of a property. This includes colour schemes, furniture layouts, art selection and sourcing accessories. The scope of an interior decorator does not traditionally incorporate structural work or building alterations. However, the work of an interior designer frequently encompasses both interior architecture and interior decoration. At Studio Westmaas, we like to think of interior design as art and science combined. For us, these elements go hand in hand. If there is an architect involved, we know too how important it is to work collaboratively. A successful renovation, inside and out, depends on a fully integrated approach.

To find out more about our design process, please click here. And if you have questions about your project, no matter how large or small, please feel free to contact us.

Words by Emma J Page