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Interior Design Degree Outlook

Interior designers plan the interior spaces for private and commercial buildings, bringing a number of different skills and abilities to play in the process. Good interior design can boost productivity, so a designer who understands what the building is used for and the colors, layout, and furniture design that can promote that productivity is highly desired. This functional yet beautiful design skill can increase the market value of a building, no matter if it's a residential or commercial project.

Decorating is the traditional interior decorator's focus, where the designer chooses a style and color palette and then chooses the furniture and accessories that will fulfill the initial objective. However, today's interior designers often become more involved with the architectural aspect, and often change a room's or and entire building's interior space to accommodate objectives. This activity includes the addition of objects such as crown molding, built-in bookcases, or the relocation of windows, stairs, or walkways.

With this expanded opportunity also comes responsibility, as interior designers then must learn how to read blueprints, understand and know safety regulations and accessibility standards, and learn how to collaborate with architects, engineers, and contractors to ensure that the new interior design meets safety and construction requirements. In all cases, the interior designer must take the client's needs and desires into account, as the designer is creating an atmosphere for the client, not for the designer. Designers also must take budget constraints into account, as a small budget cannot accommodate an interior gutting and remodeling. In many cases, an interior designer might need to work with existing materials, which may make that design job more challenging.

Skills in drawing or with computer-added design are prerequisites to any interior design job. Most jobs are not undertaken until the designer can produce sketches to show how the final project will appear to the user. Interior designers must understand color theory, as well as know how various textiles will work within an interior environment. In some cases an interior designer will work with textile designers to develop an interior space. Wiring for lighting is a major concern as is plumbing in some instances. In this case, interior designers need to be familiar with local building codes and regulations before proceeding on renovations such as bathrooms or kitchens.

A partnership with a building contractor can help to alleviate some of this workload. Many designers work alone and create businesses based solely upon their expertise. Other interior designers work with furniture or appliance stores or on a contract basis with contractors, architects, and landscape artists. Many interior designers find it's best to not confine themselves to a specific furniture or appliance brand, or to restrict their skills to a specific market. However, many interior designers choose to work with either commercial or residential spaces. Many interior designers can become consultants, and travel extensively.

A bachelor's degree in design is recommended for any designer who wants to enter the interior design field. Coursework within this field includes drawing and computer-aided design, instruction in textiles and materials, spatial planning, ergonomics, and psychology. Basic skills, such as color theory, are a must; other courses, such as furniture design, might not appeal to the designer, but a history of furniture design is necessary to understand various design periods. Some states require licensure, so the interior designer may need to undergo examinations. Each exam may expect different requirements, such as length of college experience in addition to a period of time spent working with an interior design studio. An interior designer can enjoy memberships in various nationwide organizations, thereby increasing that designer's credentials.


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Interior Design (BS)
  • Has been training students for creative careers since 1921.
  • Provides interactive course materials and unique approaches to curriculum that  support multiple learning styles.
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  • Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
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Interior Design (BS)
  • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
  • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
  • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
  • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
  • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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