From Interior Design to UI/UX Design: How and What?


Design is complex in its subjectivity and individual expression, perception and interpretation. However, what many non-designers don’t know is there are fundamental principles that trained designers must perfect before running wild with paint brush in hand… or stylus:

  • Line
  • Color
  • Shape
  • Texture
  • Value
  • Repetition
  • Rhythm
  • Balance
  • Contrast
  • Harmony
  • Scale
  • Emphasis

The mindfulness and implementation of such principles are what create a foundation for beautiful design that everyone can relate to. These principles are applied to all areas of design, and thus, how I was able to make a (fairly) easy transition from interior design to ui/ux design.

When designing an interior (nope, not just “decorating”), one utilizes such principles coupled with creativity to establish a space that welcomes people in (whether its in the home, an office space, or even an airplane) and evokes feeling specific to that space. The same goes for the design of a website or application. The designer is tasked with creating a 2-dimensional “space” that of which welcomes the user in and guides them through a digital experience (to buy or sell things, establish connections, discover or gain access to new information).

In both interior design and web design, the designer is building an environment that guides people. This environment is created by combining several elements together and engaging in a process that allows the discovery of the best possible outcome.

I’ll demonstrate how relatable these two seemingly distant fields are by visualizing the process as well as the elements the designer must work their way through and pull together to create one final design of beauty and functionality.

Interior Design

UI/UX Design

Requirements & Goals

Requirements & Goals

Understanding client’s needs for the space, who will use the space and for what. Will the space house a family of five or will it become the office space for 30 employees? Will there be a company brand to incorporate? What type of style should the design incorporate – modern, traditional, contemporary, eclectic? Understanding client’s needs for the site, who will use it and for what. Will it sell a product or brand? Will it provide information to its users? Should the site be interactive or static? What type of style should the design incorporate – flat, shiny, corporate, whimsical, modern?



This aspect of design may or may not be developed, depending on the preferences of the designer. It can serve as an artistic approach where an idea inspires design decisions throughout the space. For example, if I’m designing a space for a pianist, I might play (pun intended) with the contrast of opposing elements: black and white, large and small, short and tall, etc. I might also emphasize the instrument and its unique qualities in subtle ways throughout the space in order to personalize it for the client. In this case, the act of utilizing a piano as a reoccurring idea is the act of designing around a concept. This can act as the creative thread that ties the entire design together. Typically it is an idea, something non-tangible that sprouts from the company or individual – their goals, their culture, their location, their target users. The idea takes an abstracted form or can even be incorporated literally, sometimes informing how information is presented or contained, what colors are used, what visuals, what type of interactivity and so on.

Floor Plan


A line drawing of a space (to scale) which depicts the relationship between rooms, spaces and other physical features. The floor plan will lay out all walls, doors, windows and other architectural details, built-in and free-standing furniture, and accessories. This drawing typically contains measurements and notations used for reference by the architect and engineer. A skeletal view of all screens/views/pages in an app or website. The wireframe lays out the app or website’s content and includes interface elements, navigational systems and notations about how it works. There is never styling applied to such a drawing, as its purpose is to connect the information architecture to the visual design.

Material/Mood Board


Literally a board, the purpose is to translate the design direction into something tangible by use of material samples, furniture and accessory images, paint chips, color palettes, inspirational photographs, and sketches of possible design solutions. The client is able to see better where the design is headed and what physical attributes will be incorporated. Explores the look and feel of a site/app by creating a rough visual. The mockup usually depicts typography, styling choices, color palettes, textures, patterns, proportion, etc. This allows the designer to explore design directions, as well as obtain the very first feedback from the client in regards to the visual design.



These are the drawings presented to a client, which communicate the complete design. Typically they are colored, 3-d perspective drawings of a space from different points of view. They may be produced by hand or by computer-generated software (e.g. Autodesk Revit, Autodesk AutoCAD, Google Sketchup, etc.). The final visual designs created to scale, which incorporate all UI design elements including: content placeholders, button states, graphic styling, selected type faces, etc. Typically handed to the developer as a precise guide for how the site/app should look. These are usually produced by computer-generated software (e.g. Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, etc.).



This is the breakdown of all parts which make up the overall design. Furniture Fixtures and Equipment (FF&E) is the collection of every single item the Interior Designer has selected for purchase, that will be incorporated into the space. Each page provides all specifications of a particular item, for example dimensions, description, quantity, unit price, total price, an image, and source. These are the single parts that make up the design, which may include buttons in varying states, graphic elements like custom-designed patterns and textures, imagery, etc. Each of these items must be saved individually and passed off to the developer, who will in turn, incorporate them into the code so they are visually displayed.


Implementation & QA

Once the design is complete, all that remains is the actual implementation of that design. This means all items selected are purchased, built and delivered. Walls are painted, flooring is put in, drapes are hung, furnishings are perfectly placed. Every step of this process is closely monitored by the designer. For example, when a material is purchased by the contractor, the designer typically signs off on it, verifying it’s the correct material selected. The designer often visits the site of the property to ensure all aspects are being completed properly. The design phase is not yet completed, as the designer is obligated to conduct quality assurance on designs that are being implemented by the developer. The designer is consistently checking the local/beta versions of the site/app for any inconsistencies in not only the design elements, but the interactive elements as well.

I’ll always remember the way my professor from design school explained it: interior design is like an arc; at one end is creativity, imagination, and resourcefulness, while the other end is pragmatic, logical, and scientific. In the field of interior design we’re constantly moving from one end to the other. I see UI/UX as the same experience – on a daily basis we are creating functional design requiring vision and artistry, as well as efficiency and effectiveness.


  1. Sara on said:

    I too am looking into online bootcamps, but I am not sure if a lot of companies take bootcamps seriously. If you wouldn’t mind sending me an email of how you did it I would really appreciate it! Thanks and nice post!

  2. Garima jain on said:

    Thanks a lot! It is really helpful. I am an Interior designer, and I really want to switch to UX/UI design. Can you please email me as well about you shifted to UX/UI design? Thanks again!

  3. Eden on said:

    Hi Jenny! Such great insight. I am an Interior Designer of 3 years with a bachelors degree in ID and I am thinking of changing to UI/UX design. Do you have any more tips on making the transition? I am terrified of starting over, now that I am finally starting to be taken seriously. Any advice would be great!

    • Jenny Lane on said:

      Thank you Eden for your comment! I don’t blame you for being terrified; it’s intimidating to start over in a new career. You must be dedicated and persistent. But know that these two fields are very related and I don’t think you’ll have trouble with the transition. You’ll want to take an online course to get an overview of the field, and you’ll want to read some books that will familiarize yourself with the UI/UX design process. I’ll send you a direct email of some recommendations.

      Thank you!

      • Dana Matei on said:

        Hello Jenny! First of all great article, really usefull specially for all of us designers who are trying to make a career switch!!
        I’ve decided over 1 year ago to transition from interior design (8 years) to UI/UX . I’ve already took Illustrator classes, web design and Design Thinking classes , to grasp as many informations and tools and prepare for this. I’m preparing to take also a UX class. Would deeply appreciate any advice yoy can guve me about makung this transition , taking into considerrance that from what I saw many companies that hure UI/UX require experience… How can I land a first job innthe field? The start is difficult and a bit scarry!
        Thank you!!
        Best regards!

    • Asiya Siddiquee on said:

      Hi,i am an interior designer and thinking to do ux designer. can u mail me about your shift to ux design how ux design is related to interior.

  4. Melanie Tam on said:

    Hi Jenny! I love this post! I am also working in the architecture/interior architecture field. I would also love to know more about your transition and how you did it. I am looking into certain bootcamps, but I am not sure if a lot of companies take bootcamps seriously. If you could shoot me an email of how you did it I would really appreciate it!

    • Jenny Lane on said:

      Hi Melanie,

      Thank you for your comment! I will send you a direct email. :)


      • Tejaswini on said:

        Thanks a lot for the insight! It was really helpful indeed.I did interior design and now doing UX/UI related course. However, I do not understand how to proceed further, become professional in UX/Ui or interior designer. Can you please guide me thanks.

  5. Chloe on said:

    Hello Jenny!
    I recently graduated from Interior Design school and done several internship in architecture I Interior design Field. But I am currently looking to transition into UX design. Can you share your experience how you transition from interior to UX ?

    • Jenny Lane on said:

      Hi Chloe,

      Thank you for reaching out. I will send you a direct email!


      • Delta on said:

        Can you also send me the email? Thanks

  6. Ginny on said:


    I would love to learn more about how you transitioned from interior design to UX. I am starting that process now and looking for advice on how to go about it. If you have a moment to share your experience I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for posting!

    • Jenny on said:

      Hey Ginny!

      Thank you for reaching out. I will go ahead and email you personally. :)


      • Katrina on said:

        Same here! I recently graduated in interior design and was hoping I could transition as well. Is there any chance I could have a personal email too, about how you did it, please? :D

        • Jenny Lane on said:

          Sure thing! I’ll email you directly. :)


  7. Gabriel on said:

    Thank you so much for this!! I am an interior designer and prior to studying interior design, I went to school for graphic design. So I always wondered what would have become of me had I gone down that path. My brother is currently studying web development and told me about UX/UI design and told me how I would be good at it. So thank you for sharing this article. At least I’m not drastically going into a field that has absolutely nothing to do or completely different from interior design.

    • Jenny on said:

      Hi Gabriel,

      The two fields are very related; each based off design but approached with a slightly different perspective and challenged with slightly different design problems. I think a designer in one field can certainly be successful in another once they’re able to better learn the process and tools. If you’re curious, perhaps you can take an online course to get your feet wet?

      Thank you for your comment! :)


  8. James Lee on said:

    A good comparison on custom interior design and User Interface. An interesting and well thought of blog. Thanks for posting.

  9. David on said:

    You’re a true artist, in form and function.
    Nicely done blog.
    I’m a fan!

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