A reflection on the origin and formation of "interior decoration", "interior design", and "interior architecture"

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Candidate in Architecture, Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Art, Tehran, Iran.

2 Associate Professor, Department of Interior Architecture, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Art, Tehran, Iran.

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Interior Architecture, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Art, Tehran, Iran..


"Interior decoration", "interior design", and "interior architecture" are known as three names that refer to specialties that are focused on the organization of interior spaces. The emergence of these three specialties takes place in a historical process; first "interior decoration" in the early nineteenth century, then "interior design" in the early twentieth century, and then "interior architecture" about four decades ago. The precedence and delay in the emergence and application of these specialties does not mean the complete replacement of the latter over the earlier one; however, in some cases and for some reasons, the former specialty has been replaced by the latter. In fact, these three specialties, despite their many similarities and commonalities, have different meanings and uses and in relation to each other, and they have created a relationship that is questionable and worth considering. So the main question of this research is what is the relationship between the mergence of "Interior decoration", "interior design", and "interior architecture".
To answer the above question, first, the foundations and origins of each are examined and analyzed. This is because by finding the roots and recognizing the factors and conditions of each period, it is possible to identify the requirements and needs that have affected the emergence of each. These factors and conditions form a system in which they interact and are affected. As a result, their interaction leads to the formation and objectification of each of these specialties. After recognizing the way the three specialties are formed, their function and functional evolution have been studied in both the context of profession and education. In this way, the relationship between these three specialties is explained. Since the subject of this research is to know the origin of these professional areas and how it is formed, the main focus is on beginning to find the subject matter of these specialties that have lasted from the early nineteenth century to the late twentieth century. In the last two decades, these specialties have become more widespread in the profession and education, and so a careful study of this issue requires further opportunities. Therefore, the time period studied in this research is from around 1800 to 2000.
So the goal of this study is to understand the relationship between these three titles. The methodology of this research is analytical, interpretive, and logical reasoning. This means that by searching, collecting, and organizing documents, and evaluating and interpreting data, a description of the origin and formation of these three specialties is provided. The findings of this study show how the factors influencing the formation and survival of "interior decoration", "interior design", and "interior architecture" operate and how they relate to each other. Since a relatively short time has passed since the introduction of these specialties, this research can help to understand each of these three areas of expertise more accurately and is effective in clarifying their position in relation to each other. Continuation of this research can help to develop the concepts and theoretical foundations of these specialties.


  • پایل، جان و گورا، جودث (۱۳۹۷)، تاریخ طراحی داخلی، ترجمة محمدرضا نامداری و لیدا حسین‌زاده. جلد اول، انتشارات کسری، تهران.
  • - حیدری، شاهین (۱۳۹۳)، درآمدی بر پژوهش معماری، انتشارات فکر نو، تهران.
  • - دربندی، مریم؛ ایمانی، نادیه؛ و رحیم‌زاده، محمدرضا (۱۴۰۲)، طراحی داخلی یا معماری داخلی؛ تفاوتی اسمی یا ماهوی؟، اندیش‌نامة معماری داخلی، ۲ (۲).
  • - پازوکی، شهرام (۱۳۸۱)، تأثیر تفکر دکارت در ظهور نظریات جدید هنری، فصل‌نامة فرهنگستان هنر: خیال، شمارهٔ ۱، صص ۹۸-۱۰۷.
  • - کان، ساشی (۱۳۹۹)، بازاندیشی در طراحی و فضاهای داخلی: انسان در محیط مصنوع، ترجمة محمد رضایی، انتشارات کسری، تهران.
  • - گروت، لیندا و وانگ، دیوید (۱۳۸۴)، روش‌های تحقیق در معماری، ترجمة علیرضا عینی‌فر، انتشارات دانشگاه تهران، تهران.
  • - مسی ، آن (۱۳۹۹)، تاریخ طراحی داخلی از ۱۹۰۰، ترجمة حمیدرضا انصاری، سازمان مطالعه و تدوین کتب علوم انسانی دانشگاه‌‌ها (سمت)، تهران.
  • - هالیس ، ادوارد (۱۳۹۷)، چگونه جایی را خانة خود کنیم، ترجمة سما قرایی، نشر هنوز، تهران.
  • - Attiwill, S. (2004), Towards an interior history, IDEA Journal, 5(1), pp. 1-8.
  • - Baxter, P. (1991), Thirty years of growth in the literature of interior design, Journal of Design History, 4(4), pp. 241-250.
  • - Benjamin, W. (1969), Paris: Capital of the nineteenth century, Perspecta, 12, pp.165–172.
  • - Benjamin, W. (1999), The arcades project, trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin, Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
  • - Binggeli, C. (2007), Interior design: A survey, New Jersey: John Willey & Sons Inc.
  • - Blakemore, R. (2006), History of interior design & furniture: from ancient Egypt to nineteenth century Europe, Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
  • - Brooker, G. and Stone, S. (2013), From organization to decoration, New York: Routledge.
  • - Bureau of Vocational Information (1924), Training for the Professions and Allied Occupations: Facilities Available to Women in the United States, New York.
  • - Clegg, S. and Mayfield, W. (1999), Gendered by design: How women’s place in design is still defined by gender, Design Issues, 15(3), pp. 3-16.
  • - Dresser, C. (1876), Studies in design, London: Studio Editions.
  • - Edwards, C. (2011), Interior design: A critical introduction, New York: Berg.
  • - Gürel, M. Ö. and Potthoff , J. K. (2006), Interior design in architectural education, International Journal of Art & Design Education, 25(2), pp. 217- 230.
  • - Harwood, B., May, B., & Sherman, C. (2002), Architecture and interior design through the 18th century: An integrated history, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
  • - Hay, F. (2007), Interior architecture, In J. Gigli, F. Hay, E. Hollis, A. Milligan, A. Milton and D. Plunkett (eds.). Thinking inside the box. A reader in interiors for the 21st century, Middlesex University Press, London, pp. 33-42.
  • - Hildebrandt, H. (2004), The gaps between interior design and architecture, Design Intelligence, 15 March, pp. 1-4. - IFI (2021), International Federation of interior architect, designers.
  • http://www.ifiworld.org/#Definition_of_IA/D.
  • - IFHE- International Federation for home economics (2011), International Journal of Home Economics, 1(1). - Ireland, J. (2009), History of interior design, New York: Fairchild.
  • - ISCED`13 (2015), International standard classification of Education: Fields of education and training 2013- Detailed field description, Unesco Institute for statistics, Montreal.
  • - Kaptan, B. (2014), Interior architecture and Interior design: Two concepts, one profession, World Applied Sciences Journal, 32 (9), pp. 1935-1941.
  • - Königk, R. (2010), Interior design as architecture’s ‘other’, Master’s Diss., Master of Interior Architecture. University of Pretoria, Pretoria.
  • - Königk, R. (2011), The embarrassment over decoration: Arguing against title change – The case of ‘interior design’: ‘interior architecture’, IDA Congress Education Conference.
  • - Kurtich, J. and Eakin, G. (1993), Interior architecture, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
  • - Lees-Maffei, G. (2008), Introduction: Professionalization as a focus in interior design history, Journal of Design History, 21(1), pp. 1-18.
  • - Loveday, T. (2003), Design, the decoration of culture?, IDEA Journal, 4(1), pp. 71-84.
  • - Massey, A. (1990), Interior design of the 20th century, London: Thames and Hudson Ltd.
  • - NCES (2021), U.S. Department of education institute of education sciences national center for education statistics. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2002/cip2000/ciplist.asp?CIP2=04 - Pile, J. F. & Friedmann, A. (2007), Interior design (4th ed.), New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
  • - Pile, J., & Gura, J. (2014), A history of interior design (4th ed.), New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons Inc.
  • - Piotrowski, C. M. (2002), Professional practice for interior designers, New York: John Wiley & Sons.
  • - Rice, C. (2008), The emergence of the interior: architecture, modernity, domesticity, New York: Routledge.
  • - Veitch, R. M. (1992), Education, J.A.A. Thompson, ASID-Professional Practice Manual, Whitney Library of Design, New York, pp. 27-29.
  • - Wharton, E. (1934), A Backward glance, New York: Appleton-Century.
  • - White, A. C. (2009), What`s in a name? Interior design and/or interior architecture: The discussion continues, Journal of Interior Design, 35(1), pp. x-xviii.
  • - URL 1: https://www.wortmann-architects.com/color-in-architecture/ 1400/12/21