external architecture

How External Architecture Can Impact Interior Design

Ian Mutuli
Updated on

When making design decisions about a home, there is a tendency to think of the interior and exterior elements as separate to one another. Yet, when we treat them more holistically, there’s an opportunity to create a home that is more than the sum of its parts. 

This particularly applies to the way external architectural elements impact exterior design. With a greater understanding of how and why these influence the decorative elements, you can make better informed choices on both.

So, let’s take a look at a few of the key considerations.

Roofing Choices

Your roof plays an important role in the architecture of your home. On one hand, it helps to keep your family and your home safe and dry. This is why so many of the choices you make regarding this part of the home are dependent upon necessity. For example, if you’re fitting a roof, you’re likely to choose materials that are suitable for the humid and muggy climate. In New Orleans, you might choose a flatter metal roof to withstand hurricanes. However, your roof choices can also impact the efficacy of your interior design.

Vaulted and cathedral ceilings are the most pertinent example of this. This approach to interior design is increasingly desirable. It extends the space in your rooms and provides the potential for enhancing the natural light that enters your home. Not to mention that it makes a grand statement whenever you walk through the door.

But your choice of external architecture in the form of roofing affects how practical or possible this approach is. For vaulted ceilings, you can still have a roof that requires loft space for structural or ventilation purposes. This is because you can vault the ceilings around a curved frame you build underneath the roof. For cathedral ceilings, though, you need to choose a slanted roof that doesn’t need loft space to disguise joists or HVAC systems.

Window Considerations

Again, windows are an architectural element of the home that are too often considered to be purely functional in nature. Yet, the choices you make here can drastically alter the way you live with your home. By putting a little extra thought into the style and placement of your windows, there is the opportunity to level up your interior design.

The most obvious consideration here is in relation to natural lighting. Small rooms, particularly on the ground floor, can seem a little dingy. But by making the windows slightly larger can make sure more sunlight can enter the room. Combined with light colored walls and some well-placed mirrors, this can make the room feel brighter and larger.

Where light is concerned, it’s worth considering what times of day your family spends in the communal areas. If you all gather in the living room in the evenings, placing a larger window facing toward the west side of your home means you get to enjoy more of the natural light.

That said, the way you think about the function of a window is important too. It doesn’t just let light in; it gives you a view out into the world. Choose the positioning and size of your windows as though it is a picture frame. Use it to celebrate the most attractive vistas outside. You can then choose soft furnishings that reflect this view as the seasons change.

Wrapping Up

When making architectural decisions for your home, it’s important to consider their interior impact. Even slight changes in size, shape, and positioning can enhance your more decorative options. Remember that owning a home gives you the power to make holistic changes to improve the way you live with it.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.