Interior Design News

Interior Design Class to Design Eco-Friendly Library

Interior design schools around the world are packed with the youngest generation of designers and most of them are focusing on one important facet of their business: sustainable interior designs that are environmentally friendly and affordable. A public library in Michigan is getting to take advantage of this trend by recruiting area interior design students to help build a new library. Thanks to an honors interior design class, their design will be future friendly:

The village of Shepherd is creating a new public library with the help of some Central Michigan University students.

HON 321G: Design for Good is a special topic Honors class taught by Sue Bowlby, an adjunct instructor of interior design. It is a service learning class based on helping the residents of Shepherd renovate a building into their new library.

“They already have (a library), but it’s about 900 square feet — like a closet,” said Holly senior Amy Crockett. “So they have a new building, which was an old pharmacy building in downtown Shepherd, and will give them about 4,000 square feet.”

Though the class is an interior design class, it is comprised of students with a wide range of disciplines. Out of eight students, two are interior design majors; the others have majors ranging from integrative public relations to neuroscience and communications.

The class will come up with an idea and make a proposal, but the library officials have the final say on what is implemented, said Alpena senior Steve LaBrecque.

“We’re giving some options and doing the work for them so they can just decide,” he said.

Crockett is an integrative public relations major, so her role in the project has been promotion throughout the community, and she said response to the project has been positive… read the rest of the story at Central Michigan Life.

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Interior Design Student Draws on Experience at Competition

As a group of interior design students recently learned, design involves heavy problem solving skills and a mind for creativity. Sometimes it involves drawing from their experiences. Designers put a little piece of themselves into each interior design project they complete, but in the end it is the client’s style that counts. Students at MSU-Great Falls were afforded the unique opportunity to create interior designs that draw on their own, unique backgrounds:

Five interior design students from MSU-Great Falls College of Technology performed well in a recent national design competition, and their leader couldn’t be happier.”We may be small, but we really have a gem,” said Julie Myers, MSU-Great Falls interior design program director. The students took part in the National Kitchen & Bath Association Student Design Competition. KC Smelser placed third for his kitchen design and was awarded a $1,000 scholarship and a paid trip to the 2012 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Chicago on April 22.

According to the Power High School graduate, his design aptitude and imagination comes from his farming and ranching roots in Fairfield. “We have always had to be creative in a pinch,” Smelser said. “We build a lot from scratch.”

Smelser’s project required designing an open-area kitchen and dining room to meet the needs of a couple who has purchased a Federal-style row house. His project was called “Federalism for the 21st Century” and included an overall theme of old meets new. Smelser designed two rooms that featured an emphasis on symmetry and uncluttered lines that kept them modern. Two-toned cabinetry resembles inlaid marquetry and furniture of the late 18th century, while gray granite recalls stainless steel, giving the space a modern feel.

The floors are finished in golden oak parquet, the walls are a historical … read more from Great Falls Tribune.

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Students from Honors design class help renovate public library


Do You Interior Design Schools Train Interior Decorators?

Do you need to go to an interior design school to be an interior decorator? Is “interior decorator” and “interior designer” the same thing? The short answer is no, they are not. Going to school to become an interior designer will definitely qualify a student as an interior decorator, but the same is not true in reverse. In reality, interior design school program are intense and involve many hours of study in the subjects of architecture, human behavior, elements, materials, lighting, and many other topics not suitable for the title of “interior decorator”.

Interior designers and interior decorators are often used interchangeably, notes the National Council for Interior Design Qualification. The NCIDQ also says the two are very different:

“Interior design is the art and science of understanding people’s behavior to create functional spaces within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable or beautiful things. In short, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design.

Interior designers apply creative and technical solutions within a structure that are functional, attractive and beneficial to the occupants’ quality of life and culture. Designs respond to and coordinate with the building shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project. Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability.” Read more from the NCIDQ here.

Interior design schools teach students in all disciplines of interior design, focusing on specific aspects in depth depending on the degree program – such as environmental design or landscape design. As it turns out, interior designers have an important job in shaping the communities of the future, just as they have in the past. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

“Interior designers make interior spaces functional, safe, and beautiful for almost every type of building: offices, homes, airport terminals, shopping malls, and restaurants. They select and specify colors, finishes, fabrics, furniture, flooring and wall coverings, lighting, and other materials to create useful and stylish interiors for buildings.” (Read more.)

For those who are still on the fence about whether or not to enroll at an interior design school, the BLS also notes the important qualities of an interior design school student-to-be:

“Artistic ability. Interior designers use their sense of style to develop designs that look great and are aesthetically pleasing.

Creativity. Interior designers need to be imaginative in selecting furnishings and fabrics and in creating spaces that serve the client’s needs and fit the client’s lifestyle.

Detail oriented. Interior designers need to be precise in measuring interior spaces and making drawings so that furniture and furnishings will fit correctly and create the appropriate environment.

Interpersonal skills. Interior designers need to be able to communicate effectively with clients and others. Much of their time is spent soliciting new work and new clients and collaborating with other designers, engineers, and general building contractors on ongoing projects.

Problem-solving skills. Interior designers must address challenges such as construction delays or the high cost or sudden unavailability of selected materials while keeping the project on time and within budget.

Visualization. Interior designers need a strong sense of proportion and visual awareness to understand how pieces of a design will fit together to create the intended interior environment.” Read more at the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Interior Design News

Interior Design Students Show off Their Work

Interior design schools help prepare students for their future career in the real world of interior design, but many of the works students will use as a base for their portfolio are critiqued by other students and college professors. It is common for an interior design class to show off their best handiwork in a year end expose’, where items that they have worked on throughout their time at a school are put on display for the world to see:

On Monday, April 16, the culmination of four years of hard work finally comes to fruition as Kwantlen’s Interior Design program’s graduating class presents their final projects to friends, family and industry.

Among the graduates is Carolyn Cuthbert, whose final project focuses on a youth centre for Richmond.

As a graduate of Hugh McRoberts Secondary School, Cuthbert found her niche by creating a conceptual project around the historic Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston. As a young person who grew up in a suburb, and with two younger brothers, Carolyn saw the need for a gathering place for young people.

“I wanted to create a place where youth could meet, relate to each other, and of course stay out of trouble,” says Cuthbert.

With the cannery as her backdrop and inspiration, she created a youth centre that would preserve the historical structure while creating a modern, youthful design within. The conceptual driver for the design was the folding and unfolding of origami. This concept influenced the planning, volume development and ultimately sculpting of interior space… (Read more at the Richmond Review.)

End of the year or end of the program exhibits help students to hone their interior design skills and learn to understand how people react to spaces. Seeing how the public reacts to their work can be inspiring and nerve-wracking for students at interior design schools. Among the visitors at an exhibit may be future employers and others who can refer work to students once they enter into the profession.

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Interior Design Class Explores Special Population Projects

Interior design classes focus on many aspects of the business – from basic color schemes to advanced architecture possibilities. But some classes insert special project work that blends standard course material with real-life scenarios in an effort to help students grasp the intricacies of their future profession.

The interior design class in a recent story from Central Michigan Life, a college newspaper, illustrates how interior designers must learn skills to not only do the job of interior designer, but do it through the eyes of the client:

“Most people might assume interior designing consists only of picking out color schemes and pillows.

But according to the students in the IND 339: Interior Design Studio: Special Users class, the subject is much more complex.

Professor Jeanneane Wood-Nartker teaches students about designing for children, older adults and people with disabilities.

Wood-Nartker said the emphasis is to learn about special populations and to emphasize the design process.

“One design can’t work for all, but we try to develop a solution that works for most,” she said.

Students in the course focus on universal design and sustainability.

Manistee senior Emily Brooks said the class goes on visitations throughout the semester for research purposes to make informed decisions about designing.

“We go to child spaces and assisted living facilities to get a feel for what designs are good and what designs are bad,” she said. “We’ve seen spaces….” (Read the full story in this interior design class from Central Michigan Life.)

Interior design students who are subjected to project work that includes a specific demographic of their potential client base are better prepared for the challenges that are realistic in the profession. While it may be impossible to cover every possible scenario during the class time available in interior design colleges, just coming to an understanding about one challenge can instill critical thinking skills that can apply to all situations one might face as an interior designer.

More Reading about Interior Design Colleges:

Students from Honors design class help renovate public library

MSU-Great Falls interior design students excel

Kwantlen interior design program grads showcase final projects

Press Insiders Speak on Job Market for Landscape Architects

Insiders at reveal that the saturated market for interior designers has a few dry spots where specialty design opportunities are flourishing.


FLORIDA — April 18th, 2012 — College insiders at are encouraging students with a passion for design and the great outdoors to consider following a career path that will lead them to a fulfilling career in outdoor interior designs. Studying outdoor architecture at an interior design school can provide students with the opportunity to branch out to the outdoors and capture a niche part of the market by reducing competition and increasing income potential while still doing the work they love.

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that interior design school graduates go on to earn about $44,000 annually, landscape architects are earning $62,000 per year.

Working as a landscape architect doesn’t mean slaving in the hot sun, either. They spend about as much time in the office as interior designers and sometimes more. “Landscape architects spend most of their time in comfortable offices. The remainder of their time is spent at jobsites. Most work full time, and many work more than 50 hours per week,” the BLS reports.

A recent article about studying outdoor décor at interior design school points to labor statistics that show interior designers are choosing to specialize in their industry.  “According to the recent estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 30% of interior design school graduates work in a specialized field of interior design. They also estimate that 14% of those are working in architectural and landscape architectural roles.  Another 9% work in furnishings as a specialty, including outdoor furniture,” the article said.

Author Lewis Bauer says that interior design schools are offering more in the way of specialty training for students who wish to get in on the growing markets. “Once upon a time, an interior designer worked exclusively with a structure’s interior spaces. Now that interior design and architecture have grown to be such close industries, it has become important for students to consider options that may bring them the most lucrative job opportunities after graduating from an interior design school.”

In addition to articles and news meant to help future interior design students and parents make the best decisions about their education, shares their network of interior design schools. The network is free for students who are interested in talking with an interior design school about specialty programs and success rates. brings together the best info on interior design colleges, student life, and professionals in the interior design industry to help you make an informed decision about your career and education goals. All resources, including the interior design school directory and helpful interior design articles are presented as a free service to users. helps individuals considering interior design careers find powerful information for success in college and beyond.

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Are Online Interior Design Schools Worth It?

Whether you are interested in an online interior design school or an online class about a musical instrument, chances are you may have some concerns about the quality of an online education. This may be especially true if you are a parent helping your child decide on a college major or a college campus. The savings offered by online classes are tremendous, but you probably don’t want to risk sacrificing a superior education just to save a few grand.

What are the risks of online interior design classes?

The answer to this question has sparked debate for at least the last decade and it was, at one time, a common discrepancy among educators, professionals, and students. The conversation went something like this:

Student: I want to take five of my classes online. It costs less and I can do it at my own pace.
Parent: Online classes leave out the important parts of the class; like participation and group discussion.
Student: But….
Parent: …but, what?

The good news is that this isn’t such a common argument anymore.  Even educators at top universities agree that online classes, for many studies, are completely appropriate. The education industry has actually done a really good job at figuring out what type of courses are acceptable for online studies, including those taught in interior design schools.

The Academy of Art University, a well-respected design college, offers a full range of degree programs online for this reason. While it is unlikely that you or your child will be able to earn a master’s degree by taking a wholly online degree program, you might be surprised at how much of the curriculum doesn’t involve hands-on participation (especially while earning a lower degree).

The American Society of Interior Designers Weighs In

The ASID, an interior design industry group that keeps an eye on all things interior design endorses at least five online interior design school programs (including the Academy of Art university) and had this to say about online interior design schools and classes:

“When considering enrolling in an online learning program, you must conduct your research.  While a certificate from such a program, such as the Sheffield School of Interior Design, would probably provide you with a good introduction to interior design, it would not provide you with the credentials you will need to sit for the NCIDQ exam or to be licensed in most states or hired by most interior design or architecture firms.”

Read more about interior design school from ASID here.

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Interior Design School Symposia Offer Insight for Future Students

Future professionals who are still weighing their options about which type of school to which they should apply may benefit from looking up free seminars held by interior design schools in their area. Symposiums are usually free and open to the public. They also provide a great forum for would-be students to hear first-hand information from a school without all of the pressure of a one-on-one session with a school counselor.

As one man recently reported, there is much information to be gleaned from a free symposium at an interior design school:

One of the great things about living in a university town is the ability to attend educational lectures and symposia, which are almost always free and open to the public.

I recently went to a symposium at the University of Kentucky marking the 40th anniversary of the School of Interior Design. One reason I went was I knew very little about interior design or the education of interior designers.

I was like most people, school director Ann Dickson said: “They think it’s about teaching people how to choose the color of drapes.”

Modern interior design is about creating the environments where we spend most of our time. It is not just about making interior spaces more attractive, but more comfortable, efficient, functional, healthy and safe.

In an increasingly complex world, designers of all kinds are more problem-solvers than anything else. Many of the problem-solving approaches discussed by this symposium’s speakers and panelists are useful no matter your business.

Robin Guenther, a New York-based principal with the big architectural firm Perkins + Will, is a specialist in designing health care spaces. Why should anyone but health care professionals care about that?

Well, at 18 percent of gross domestic product and growing, health care is one of the nation’s biggest industries, Guenther noted. So much health care construction is being done that it is uniquely positioned to drive the research and innovation that eventually will influence virtually all construction.

Guenther gave a fascinating presentation about how the hospital building boom is leading to innovations in energy-efficiency, environmental sustainability, comfort and safety.

Read more from

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Interior Design School Project Brings Dose of Reality

Interior design students are rarely afforded an opportunity to work on a live interior design project. While many schools make way for projects that co-opt community resources, allowing students to get real-world experience, few are able to offer actual renovation projects to their students. When the opportunity does come up for an interior design school, it is great practice for students and can be a sobering experience.

As pointed out in an article recently, students working on this type of project become very aware that their dream is about to be a reality:

You could call it a friendly competition with satisfaction on a job well done as the ultimate prize.

Two groups of interior design students at the Centre for Arts and Technology Okanagan (CATO) in Kelowna unveiled their handy work Wednesday morning at the ‘Dwell’ development on Ambrosi Road.

The eight students, who will graduate in September, put their design skills to work on two show suites in the newly completed third phase of the Mission Group development project.

Mission Group President, Randy Shier says the students were asked to take on the task because they fit the age demographic of the development.

“We could not be happier with the results,” says Shier.

“The results have already exceeded our expectations.”

Each four member team was provided with one show suite to decorate from top to bottom including walls and furnishings.

One suite was designed for a single male the other for a young couple with no children.

Lauren Mason who worked on the suite designed for a single male says the concept came from a piece of fabric that contained green, black, a beige colour and some greys.

“We just fell in love with the fabric and everything sprouted from there. That’s where we came up with the stripes on the wall,” says Mason.

“We tried to incorporate everything from those colours. That’s why we have the black couch.”

She says it’s been a great real life experience.

Read more about the interior design students’ experience from Casanet

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Interior Design Competitions Help Students, Win or Lose

It is normal for students in interior design schools around the world to compete against their classmates for bragging rights about the latest-greatest design to come out of the school, but some students take that competitive spirit to the next level. Annie Beuker is one such student who recently took her skills to competition and brought an award back to her school:

HIGH POINT — Annie Beuker, a student at High Point University, has won this year’s Raymond Waites Design Competition, co-sponsored by the International Furnishings and Design Assn.’s Educational Foundation.

Top entries in the second annual competition for interior design students will be on display in Suites at Market Square here during the High Point Market. The winning entry and those of 10 finalists will be featured in space I-846 on the building’s top floor.

Designer Raymond Waites will host a reception April 20 to unveil the display.

In this year’s national competition, students were challenged to create their vision of a traditional/eclectic master bedroom suite.

Beuker is a senior at HPU with a major in interior design and a minor in Spanish. She is a Celia Moh scholar, is on the dean’s list, and is a Carolinas Chapter, IFDA Design Luminary.

“I am surprised, honored and thrilled to be the winner of this unique design competition,” she said.

“It was difficult to choose a winner from so many wonderful, imaginative entries but Annie Beuker’s was the best of the best,” said Waites. “Her beautiful solutions to the challenge of creating a master bedroom with closet layout and bath were outstanding!”

Read the whole story from Furniture Today.

Students of interior design who choose to participate in competitions are setting themselves up for even more future success, even if they don’t win the competition. Even participation in such an event shows potential employers (and graduate program admission boards) that a student invested in their chosen profession.

Read more on Ineterior Design Schools and Competitions:

Students showcase design skills at Carolinas competition


Competition for interior design students in UAE