What does an Architectural Interior Designer do?

The view through a doorframe to a parquet floored hallway and carpeted stairs with high pigment pale paint on the walls and a set of three paintings. Designed by an Architectural Interior Designer.
I am an Architectural Interior Designer, Able and Hardie is a creative Architectural Interior Design Studio. So what do we do, and what don’t we do?

The skills and qualities of an Architectural Interior Designer will vary from individual to individual. You should find that each will express clearly what they are and are not prepared to do, and the limit of their professional capacity (and insurance) before requiring additional professionals, to whom they should be able to provide you with a link.

General skills
Interpretation of your requirements

Architectural interior designers design the building from the inside (the client’s requirements), out. A great client brief provides a great outcome and being clear about what you want improves the chances of a successful outcome. You can help by having a solid understanding of what you would like your outcomes to be before you meet. This may change through your conversations, but it is an excellent starting point.


This may be done by your designer, or an employed surveyor, and will provide you with accurate measurements on plan to scale. These plans enable a deeper understanding of the laayout and structure of the building. If your work is substantial I would recommend employing an independent surveyor, whose survey is covered by their own liability (for inaccuracies/faults) and is owned wholly by you. You should have the copy in pdf form, and in CAD form (Computer Aided Design, even if you do not have the programme to read this, your designer will).

This way, should your relationship with your designer cease for one reason or another, you still own this, and can provide it to another designer to use. Often designers will not use another designers personal survey as they will not be held accountable for inaccuracies within, and therefore you will have to pay for an additional designer survey.

Design and Plan

This involves planning, three dimensional form work (things to be assembled or made), construction, lighting, colour, material, circulation (flow and functional requirements) and building services (electric and plumbing placements etc).


Furniture, fixtures and equipment, either off-the-shelf or bespoke.


Alongside the foreman and project manager they oversee work on site is of the standard they have specified. They will also help overcome any hiccups which may have become evident during the build, and provide a sound design resolution. The best design solutions look like they were intended in the first place!

Not sure if you need an architect or an Architectural Interior Designer? See my article on this subject here.

And link to my services here.


What an architectural interior designer should NOT do
An Architectural interior Designer should never…

…pretend to be an Architect – they are very different professions and one cannot claim to be an architect without extensive studying and membership of their country’s Architectural regulatory board

…provide you with structural calculations themselves (unless qualified to do so) – this is provided only by an accredited structural engineer, with current insurance. Your architectural interior designer should have a sound understanding of architectural structure but should not proceed with structural works without an engineers calculation.

…bully you into making a decision which suits them best, or make you feel foolish – as a breed we pride ourselves on putting the client at the centre of the design. You should never feel that your opinion is insignificant or irrelevant.

Want to know more?

What is the difference between an Architect and and Architectural Interior Designer? Read our blog post on exactly that.


It is hard to hold acceptance as possible in the face of brutality. It is hard to hold that every person is 100% worthy in the face of murder, when my first, visceral thought creates abhorrence. 
My second thought is the one I choose: 
I do not now, nor will I ever accept wilful, wasteful, bitter harm to another human. I allow and want myself to be deeply upset and angered by this. 
I accept that this behaviour was a choice made by a human. 
I hold that humans are 100% worthy, regardless of behaviour. 
Accepting someone as they are, with free will to make good or bad choices does not mean I do not hold them accountable for their behaviour. 
It does not mean I agree or condone their behaviour. 
I do not accept or condone brutality or murder. 
I stand against this behaviour. 
I stand for humans. 
All humans. 
I want humans to make better choices.
Happily finished pre-lockdown, my clients get to enjoy their wonderful finished home a LOT now! 
Sneak peek of a recently finished home in Prinsted for hands down the #bestclientsever. This wood floor is brand new but so expertly laid by my favourite @justwoodflooring looks like it is original to the property. 
Complete trust from my clients allowed for some amazing interior details options to open up, like curved corners to the walls (SO worth the effort). All to create a modern ‘old’ home. 
Architect: @helyer_davies 
Architectural Interior Design: @ableandhardie 
Flooring: @justwoodflooring 
Paint: @benjaminmoore 
A bit of a side step from my normal appreciation, but for architecture, and for the love of horses, I couldn’t let this pass. Designed by @matiaszegers, this stable has the maximum daylight pouring in through its cleverly envisaged roof. 
I want to come back as one of these horses...