The difference between an interior designer and an architect is that architects work on structures and are trained to build them from scratch. Interior designers, on the other hand, work with a space's existing layout, materials, and other décor items to make them look what you imagine them to be rather than building it from scratch.
While both architects and interior designers are creative people making a difference in the lives of others, their roles are vastly different. Let’s explore these differences now:
An architect is a skilled professional trained in the art and science of building design. The work of an architect involves developing concepts for structures and turning those concepts into elaborate plans – plans which eventually turn into commercial buildings, residential homes, and offices.
An architect works out the overall appearance and aesthetic of a structure, but their work involves far more than that. The structures they design need to be safe, economical, and must meet the needs of the people who use them. And most importantly, they need to be designed with the public’s health and safety in mind.
Here are some of the roles of an architect:
An interior designer is a professional trained in creating cohesive, aesthetically pleasing, and harmonious designs for home interiors. They know how to transform spaces, and using their expertise, they create designs that not only enhance the human experience but also promote the welfare, safety, and health of inhabitants.
That said, interior designing is not the same as interior decorating, even though many people use the two terms interchangeably.
As we’ve already mentioned above, interior designing involves understanding behaviors to help property owners design functional rooms within a building – and this can include the shapes of the floors, walls, and more.
Interior decorating, however, involves furnishing the space in a room with aesthetically pleasing and fashionable things.
An interior decorator takes the role of a personal stylist. They help create an atmosphere within a building that aligns with their client’s style. They don’t change a room’s structure to make it more visually appealing – they use certain accessories, fabric, and furniture to enhance the aesthetics and beauty of a space.
For example, as a decorator, you can help remodel a client’s kitchen. You can refresh the floor, add a few more accessories, or recommend a new color for the kitchen cabinets. As a designer, you can help enlarge the kitchen, move the interior walls, add a separate kitchen sink, or change the position of the countertop. You can design a space from the ground up to make it more visually appealing and functional.
To put it simply, interior decorators are hands-off in the design process, while designers can do both jobs: decorating and designing.
Even though playing with color, furniture, and fabric makes up a huge part of an interior designer’s job description, you may have to perform other tasks.
Interior architecture as a profession has emerged only recently. You can think of interior design architecture as a blend of interior design and architecture.
Compared to interior designers, interior architects are involved in many more things; they take part in the entire building design and renovation process. They have a greater understanding of buildings’ structures and use CAD software on a more regular basis.
You can’t consider interior architects as architects, either. Most interior architects haven’t completed the training required to practice architecture. To practice architecture in the US, you’ll need to complete a combined Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in architecture (commonly referred to as the B.Arch), which can take up to 5 years. If you want to specialize further, you can take specialization courses such as Environmental Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Digital Architecture, etc
On top of that, you’ll need a few years of industry experience and a license – and only then will you be considered an architect. For this reason, interior architects can’t call themselves architects, even though interior architecture focuses on the technical aspects.
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Here are the differences between architecture and interior design that you need to know:
As we’ve mentioned above, you need a license to be an architect – and the same can’t be said about interior designers. All designers, especially decorators, can choose to be self-employed. They don’t need to take special training or apply for licenses to start taking on design projects.
Architects, on the other hand, need to meet their jurisdiction’s education requirements to get a license. For most aspiring architects, this means going to architecture school and earning a professional degree through a program accredited by NCARB. They also have to do an internship that lasts for a minimum of three years. And after that, they have to take the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) for the state they’re planning to practice in.
Note, though, that interior designers may be required to get interior design accreditation in some states. In such states, interior designers need to get an NCIDQ certification (The National Council for Interior Design Qualification).
You’ll need to take a three-part exam that covers seven areas that capture the core competencies of interior design. These areas include project coordination, construction standards, contract administration, and building systems.
To put it simply, architects design buildings and structures while interior designers design the interiors of these buildings. An architect is involved on the more technical aspects of the design process. Interior designers fill up and furnish the empty interiors once a building is constructed. Tasks such as selecting materials, choosing color schemes, and refreshing wall designs fall within the scope of interior designers.
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An interior designer focuses more on aesthetics. They focus on creating interior spaces that are aesthetically pleasing and functional through the use of color palettes, decorations, and furniture placement. By paying attention to human psychology and the emotional aspect of interior spaces, they design homes that people want and love to live in.
Architects are more focused on the technical side of construction – they pay attention to things like building materials, ventilation, climate, etc.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
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