What Is the Difference Between Interior and Exterior Design?


What Is the Difference Between Interior and Exterior Design?

While the interior and exterior design have similarities, they are very different. Colorado interior design firms will curate furniture, and art, and advise clients on the overall look and feel of their interior spaces. Exterior stylists will work primarily with landscape elements, such as outdoor patio furniture and fire pits, as well as the structural components of the surrounding area. 

We will discuss differences between interior architects and designers in this article. If you wonder whether you need an exterior stylist, interior designer, or architect, you’ve come to the right place. Continue reading to learn why. 

What Is the Difference Between Exterior and Interior Design?

While interior design features the art of curating functional and aesthetically-pleasing spaces. This principle consists of choosing colors, textures, materials, furniture, lighting, and any other element that influences the overall look and feel of your space. Interior designers must reflect their clients’ personalities and cater to their tastes.

On the other hand, the exterior design focuses on the appearance of the buildings themselves. In many ways, interior and exterior design follow the same principles: they focus on the aesthetic appeal of a building. Interior design focuses more on the individual elements within the structure to create a flow. The exterior design focuses on the outward appearance of the building and how it communicates with its structure. 

Both these design schools utilize sketches, blueprints, and models to communicate their messages and help their clients visualize the space. 

What’s Included In Interior Design?

The interior design incorporates numerous elements, including light fixtures, carpets, window coverings, artwork, and paint colors. But the main focal point is often furniture due to its tendency to draw your visitors’ eyes. These elements all play an essential role in your interior design. 

What Is an Interior Designer?

Interior designers are in charge of creating the space according to the client’s needs. It plans out the various rooms of a building. However, interior designers work closely with architects, builders, contractors, and other professionals to ensure any changes made serve everyone involved.

Interior designers often have degrees in architecture, fine arts, graphic design, or another related field. They should have design theory expertise and understand training internships. These professionals design everything from small living spaces to the interior of large buildings, such as hotels. Their clients range from individuals who want to decorate a single room to companies that own large business complexes. 

What Is an Exterior Stylist?

Exterior stylists can work with homeowners to ensure the entire exterior functions in unison. They will be able to include everything from the painting to landscaping and the color used on the exterior walls.

Exterior stylists might plan the vegetation surrounding the home, any outdoor patio furniture, or where windows and doors should be placed on the structure. Companies might prefer working with specialized exterior design experts, such as landscape architects. Other companies might prefer to work with general contractors. 


Interior designers and exterior stylists, such as landscape architects will have similar backgrounds in terms of training and education. There are some educational differences between the two positions depending on the type of job that needs to be performed. Often, the degrees feature courses in similar fields and have significant overlap. 


Those who look to become interior designers should study more art, fashion, and architecture whereas landscape architects and exterior stylists should study civil and mechanical engineering and construction sciences. In both fields, one can be hired on a general contractor basis. 


Interior designers and exterior stylists have many responsibilities. For interior designers, it’s not just about shopping as many think. They must consider how the whole interior fits together. This means they must decide on the paint used on the walls, and whether they need to knock down walls to accomplish a specific space requirement. They might even build entire rooms. 

Exterior stylists commit to the same activities, painting walls, installing skirting and fencing, and committing themselves to the outside structure of the space. Both occupations’’ primary responsibility is to focus on the look and feel of the overall structure. 

The Importance of Architecture In Both Fields

The architecture alone doesn’t provide much space for expression. Though the architectural design sets the tone for what’s possible for interior designers and exterior stylists, it doesn’t dictate the best looks. 

Where Does Interior Design and Exterior Style Fit In?

Interior design and exterior style must complement the existing architecture with the client’s vision. It has to complement not only the building but the surrounding area of land. Homeowners can express their full creativity with the help of interior designers and exterior stylists. 

What Is the Difference Between an Interior Designer and an Interior Architect?

Interior architecture focuses primarily on structural design and emphasizes the adaptation and remodeling of existing buildings. Interior design emphasizes the interior atmosphere and how to curate finishes, furniture, and color palettes. These positions have a similar set of skills but must apply those skills in very different approaches. Degrees in either give you the opportunity to build a professional portfolio while studying. 

Here is a more in-depth look at some differences: 

  • Interior architects deal with structural renovations. They can work with builders, contractors, and technicians throughout the building process. 
  • Architects have licenses. Interior architects 
  • Interior design focuses more on aesthetics rather than construction elements. 
  • Interior designers have different qualifications than architects. Certain states require licensure. 

How Do You Become an Interior Architect?

Attending a school of architecture can lead to a bevy of career opportunities. You can go into real estate development, landscape architecture, set design, urban planning, or industrial design. However, to become a licensed interior architect, you need the following credentials.

  1. Find your local architecture board requirements. You must complete the step established by the local architecture board to become an interior architect. 
  2. Obtain a degree. Most architecture boards require prospective architects to complete an undergraduate program and receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts in interior architecture. The school must be an accredited institution by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. 
  3. Pass the Licensing exam. 

Bottom Line- What Is the Difference Between Interior and Exterior Design?

While there are many similarities between interior and exterior design, the fundamental difference is that interior design focuses on art, colors, and furnishings, rather than structural elements and landscape features. 

There is also a difference between interior architects and designers. Architects also focus more on the structural components of a home while designers focus on the home’s aesthetics.