Last edited 01 Dec 2020



In terms of the built environment, the term ‘interior’ refers to the internal space of a building or structure. Any part of a building or structure that physically separates an interior from the external environment may be referred to as an ‘enclosure’. For more information, see Principles of enclosure.

Building interiors are sometimes planned and designed by interior designers. Interior design is sometimes perceived to be a matter of interior decoration, but in fact, it is a complex subject that often involves working alongside other professionals, such as architects and engineers, as part of a larger project.

Components of interiors might include; furniture, fixtures, fittings, finishes, equipment, lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and so on.

Interior design requires detailed knowledge of:

An important part of designing interiors is space planning. This is used to determine how a space (or spaces) should be laid out and used. This may be undertaken as part of the building design process, or as a stand-alone exercise looking at how best to plan an existing space, or a space that is being developed (for example, a tenant determining how to fit out their part of a new development). It can be used for very simple spaces such as hotel bedrooms, through to very complex industrial buildings. Good space planning can improve the wellbeing and productivity of the occupants of a space.

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