It can (and should!) be taken for granted that columns provide gravitas and beauty in both interior and exterior design. One must understand, however, that the actual function of columns can vary. Knowing what columns can be used for will greatly expand the builder's ability to employ this striking feature where it is called for.
1. Load-bearing and structural columns
Whenever you are planning a renovation that involves existing columns you must make sure that these columns are not load-bearing and that the intended changes will not necessitate in replacing these columns, moving them or creating additional ways to support the structure of the building. There is also such a thing as faux load-bearing columns. In some spaces the presence of columns is dictated not as much by the actual architectural needs, but by the principles of design that demand one to avoid visually unstable interiors. A well-known story tells about an architect who was absolutely certain that his design did not need any more columns, but when pressured by the client whose understanding of mathematics and engineering was imperfect he was forced to build additional columns nevertheless. Out of spite and in order to demonstrate the verity of his calculations, the architect, however, had the columns build in such a way that they did not actually reach the ceiling, thus rendering them useless in terms of load, but in compliance with the client's taste.
2. Decorative columns
You have much less to worry about if all you want is the mere decorative benefits of having columns in a designed space. Typically, though, one still must maintain the illusion that the columns are serving a greater purpose, because aesthetically they convey the idea of stability, balance and order. In extreme cases, however, a columns can be turned into a disembodied object which is purposefully removed from its normal setting. Whatever the plan, it is absolutely necessary to know the various types of columns easily available today. It's not just the Doric, the Ionic and the Corinthian order anymore! There are literally dozens of column types to choose from.
3. Room separation with columns and pillars
In modern design it is considered desirable to have large open spaces that flow into each other. The living room, the kitchen and the dining room can be sharing one enormous space. There is still a certain need to delineate the borders between spaces. Architectural columns present the right solution. Unlike walls, they do not destroy the unity of space. And they are certainly much classier than anything else you can try using as dividers.