Written By: Jessica Martinez

Contributing Designer: Laura K. Sullivan

Both architects and interior designers play a large part in the look, feel, and aesthetics of a home. Although their roles complement one another, they are very different.

Architects come in at the conceptual stage of a home build. They ask detailed questions about a homeowner’s goals in terms of both function and style, then draw up floor plans and site plans that the builder will carry out. 

The scope of the architect’s job is complex, but limited. “Architects draw plans for the envelope of the house, meaning the roof, windows, doors, walls and foundations – everything that separates the outside of the house from the inside of the house,” notes Laura Sullivan, owner of ID.ology Interiors & Design. 

“They are mainly concerned with the structural elements, and what the home looks like from the outside. But they also look at the correlation of each room to every other room, as they create a plan to maximize function and flow.”

Interior designers also ask detailed questions about a homeowner’s goals in terms of form and function, but they operate on a different scale. 

“Designers are trained to focus on livability, function and flow, in conjunction with visual aesthetics,” says Laura. They work with all of the home’s details, including fixtures, materials, finishes, artwork, and furniture placement. Basically everything you see, touch and feel – anything that impacts your enjoyment and comfort in the space.”

Done well, a designer’s job honors what an architect has already accomplished. “Our work is a continuation of theirs,” observes Laura. We take their design, their artistry, and see it through to completion through the home.” 

The level of detail designers deal with requires a more in-depth and ongoing interaction with homeowners that an architect typically has. In fact, designers often work as liaisons between homeowners and architects, helping to facilitate communication and ensure the integrity of the overall design. 

“At ID.ology, we are often involved with a new build from the very beginning,” Laura explains. “We look at the architectural plans, and we consider room size, window and door locations, and furniture placement. We think about the smaller details and the way the space will be used in the client’s day-to-day life. Sometimes that means working with the architect to adjust the plans. 

Architects and designers might approach a project from different angels, but in the end their goals are the same: a high-quality home that is well-appointed, comfortable, and perfectly suited to their clients’ specific functional needs.”

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