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Interior Design

Program Description

Just the Facts

Interior Design. A program in the applied visual arts that prepares individuals to apply artistic principles and techniques to the professional planning, designing, equipping, and furnishing of residential and commercial interior spaces. Includes instruction in computer applications, drafting, and graphic techniques; principles of interior lighting, acoustics, systems integration, and color coordination; furniture and furnishings; textiles and their finishing; the history of interior design and period styles; basic structural design; building codes and inspection regulations; and applications to office, hotel, factory, restaurant and housing design.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree

High School Courses

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See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Related Careers

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Related Programs

Often similar programs have different names. Be sure to explore all your options.

Additional Information

Interior design students need a lot more than just great taste in furniture to succeed in a training program.

Joyce O'Keefe is chair of the interior design department at the International Academy of Design. She says students need creativity, analytical ability and attention to detail. They also need an entrepreneurial attitude and strong visual skills.

Math ability and technical proficiency will also come in handy.

Marilyn A. Read is an interior design professor at Auburn University. She says it's a good idea to get a bachelor's degree. "I believe understanding the complexity of the discipline requires a bachelor's degree," she says.

However, there are also shorter diploma programs available. O'Keefe's school, for example, offers both a two-year and three-year diploma.

Either way, students take similar classes. These include technical drawing, space planning, lighting, visual presentation techniques and autoCAD (computer-assisted design).

Some programs also include internships. Read's students also do an eight-week, full-time internship. O'Keefe says her students must complete a 120-hour internship during their third year.

At the International Academy of Design, students take art classes such as color theory, drawing fundamentals and 2D and 3D design. Other classes include drafting, textiles, marketing, architectural detailing and project coordination.

At Read's school, students can choose a specialty. "A directed research course is required at the senior level. [That] offers the student an opportunity to focus on one specific design area -- for example, hospitality design, or research and development," Read says.

It is a demanding major, says George Verghese. He is chair of a school of interior design. Students attend 24 hours of classes every week. Students can also expect to spend an additional 25 hours working on homework and projects.

In fact, Verghese says first-year students will not want to have a part-time job. The workload is too intense and time-consuming.

One way to find a quality program is to look for one that is accredited by the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (FIDER).


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Interior Designers

Interior Design Directory
Links to some good information

Free interior design and decorating education


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