Interior Design News

One Expert Thinks Interior Design Schooling Needs a Redesign

An expert in interior design education has had her eye on changing the game of interior design, focusing on the school system, for quite a while now.

In 2005, Shashi Caan – then chair of the interior design school at the nation’s oldest interior design school – told Metropolis Magazine that interior design should be a niche of its own and rely far less on the structures set forth by architecture in the nation.

Caan began the Shashi Caan Collective, a company focused on diversity in all aspects of interior and architectural design that brings together experts from all related arenas. The education and research elements of the organization work toward building a strong design network for the education of future designers.

In her 2005 interview, Caan told the publication that interior design education needed to get back to the business of interior design and focus less on the roles of architecture in interior design concepts. While it is true that the interior experience of the client needs to come first, there doesn’t seem to be much separation between interior design schools and schools of architecture nearly a decade later. Interior design schools are working more collaboratively with the architecture side of the industry in recent years and in some cases, blending the studies. This may be by design.

Caan is still an active community member in the interior design and architecture world, serving as a board member of the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers organization, executive committee member of the International Design Alliance, fellow at the Royal Society of Arts, and member of the editorial advisory board of Contract Magazine. She’s still rooted in her interests in the education and curriculum provided by interior design schools as a member of the Interior Design Educators Council.


Interior Design Classes: Learning Architecture & Design

Interior design classes about architecture and design are often part of an overall program goal for a degree in interior design. As students progress through interior design school, they learn the fundamentals and advanced principles of design. Interior design classes such as architecture and design bring together some of the advanced skills learned so far while leaning heavily on the foundation knowledge earned earlier in the degree program.

Interior design and architecture classes combine skills, concepts, and the experience of previous projects to help students understand how interior architecture design fits into the interior design discipline. Students in these classes learn how to design interior architecture using computer generated graphics as well as hand-drawn models. Classes also include principles and execution of interior design presentations and research.

Typical interior design and architecture classes begin with an introductory project outline on which students will work throughout the class duration. Project analysis skills learned earlier in the interior design schools program are put to heavy use during this phase of the class work. Usually, the classes will cover commercial interior design as the primary source for project work and includes concept designs and developing a plan for commercial interior architecture.

Planning for spaces in a commercial structure and designing all interior elements of a commercial structure will often be the foundation of the class work throughout the remainder of the class. Students are often broken into project groups and each group is tasked with creating a unique commercial design.

Details covered in the project include elevation, construction, documentation, materials, finishes, and presentation of the design to a “client”. The perspectives of each room will be discussed and the small, but critical details in the project design are often exhaustively critiqued and discussed by the entire class.

Class materials for this type of interior design class can be extensive. However, many of the items required to successfully complete the course are often purchased for earlier classes and do not need to be purchased again in most cases. These items include typical interior design tools such as rulers and triangles, mechanical colored pencils, cutting mats, and similar drawing tools.

Textbooks in the subject of design standards for commercial planning and efficiency standards are often required for class as well. Some schools may require software purchases, but most of the work conducted in the class is hands-on and interior design schools typically have the software on-hand for students in this class.

At the end of interior design and architecture classes, students are able to design medium- to large-scale commercial spaces, consider the architecture requirements and standards for doing so, and present design plans to a client. Complicated design concepts and drafting skills are fine-tuned, as are skills in selecting lighting, finishing materials, furniture, and fixtures. The interior design class will reinforce principles about project deadline management, self-critiques, and terminology used in interior design and architecture.

Interior Design News

ASID Shows Evidence of Shifting Interior Design for Classes

A recent report by the American Society of Interior Designers shows more evidence that interior design is taking a sharper turn toward environmentalism.

The industry outlook remains optimistic for future graduates of interior design schools as the industry sees an increase in business despite years of uncertainty.

The 2012 Environmental Scanning Report is issued each year by the ASID to provide insight into the interior design’s demographics and trends. This year the report supported the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics predictions that there would be a slight increase in the business last year. The BLS reported that 25% more interior designers were employed in 2010 than 2008 earlier last year. The number of interior design firms also increased last year, but about 15%.

While designers are learning to use new technology that seems to be ever-changing in the industry, interior design schools are struggling to keep up with the same changes. However, interior design students are becoming more prepared to enter the workforce by “keeping up” with new technology as they pursue their degrees.

The ASID report correlates other claims in the industry that interior design classes will still lean more toward environmental and socially responsible design trends in the future. Interior design students are also learning more about healthcare design and maximizing energy resources to keep a client’s cost of living down to an acceptable level according to green energy codes in the country.

The big ticket item for interior design school graduates will remain the same, however. Being flexible and able to adapt their skills and business to the current market will make or break the success of an interior designer. Interior design classes about adapting to technology, trends, and socioeconomic statuses will be important in future curriculum updates.


Working Your Way through Interior Design School

Many students who want to practice interior design are dedicated and passionate enough to make it to the coveted “Master of Professional Studies in Interior Design” (MPSID) degree. However, some of those students may find it necessary to work while attending classes, making it much more difficult to put in the time required to get there. There is hope for those that are willing to go the extra mile, even if your personal situations make it seem as if you’ll never be able to make it.

Interior design schools offer an advantage over some other types of schools because, much like an architect would build a house, interior designers learn their profession in deliberate and methodical steps that build on the step before it. This means that working and going to school at the same time can be advantageous for the aspiring master of interior design.

Learning basic interior design in order to break into the market is a great way to get started, especially if you are in a financial position that requires you to get back to work as soon as possible (or continue working while attending classes). The good news is that, at most schools, completion of a certificate program is a requirement for applying to an advanced degree program.

Students who want to earn an advanced degree from an accredited interior design school are often tasked with first coming up with a portfolio of work through the school’s certificate program. Completing a school’s certificate program also qualifies the student for an entry level job in the industry. Entry level jobs in interior design often require at minimum, a certificate of completion in some sort of formal interior design school training. Since the certification program at most interior design schools is around 24-credit hours, it doesn’t take long to reach entry level status.

Eventually, it will be necessary to spend some time in the real world of interior design to complete the master’s degree program and working in the industry while completing studies is the best way to do that. (Not to mention the convenience of having an employer who is probably happy to help you since you share a passion for the art.)

After certification, students at an interior design school can apply to a degree program. If it is the students intent to make it to Master of Professional Studies, he or she will most likely be advised to complete an undergraduate degree (an AAS or BFA) before proceeding to the next level. This is because the next level, Master of Fine Arts, requires the student to know all of the things taught by the school at the AAS and BFA level.

Once here, it is only a matter of time before the degree program can be completed. It may be a matter of a lot of time, especially if you need to take part time class loads while working. But with the right set up and a good career counselor, taking deliberate steps through interior design school can really add up to a well-paid professional career.

Interior Design News

The New Era in Interior Design Classes

Interior design schools with strictly traditional objectives in their design classes are being faced with a new challenge in recent years – students who want to learn more than how to pander to the highest paying clients they can find.

Thanks to a generation of young design students who are coming of age in an era of economic uncertainty and glaring gaps in income levels in the country, forward thinking art and design schools are revamping curricula to accommodate the growing desire to make interior design a more socially conscious profession.

Once upon a time (less than two decades ago), interior designers were thought of as a group of professionals hired primarily to fulfill the needs of the world’s wealthiest consumers. It was a common concept among the general population that only those with enough money to pay top dollar for aesthetically pleasing architecture and interior design needed the services of an interior designer.

Thanks to the help of some heavy-hitting, widely recognized players in the industry however, interior design is now on a path to become part of a growing trend in socially conscious professionals that are beginning to take over architecture and design industries.

A famous example is the Rural Studio Program at Auburn University. Sambo Mockbee started the program in the 90’s and died a decade ago, but his humanitarian ideals are perpetuated at Auburn and other schools of interior design and architecture throughout the country.

With a new generation of students keenly aware of the potential to make a positive impact on society bolstering this concept, these programs are becoming exceedingly popular at interior design schools. And while interior design classes still educate students on the finer things in life when it comes to architectural design, aesthetics, and sustainable systems, the landscape of interior design education is changing to match the industry’s desire to take a more active role in humanitarian efforts.

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Interior Design Students Design Women’s Shelter

Interior design students recently helped redesign a women and children’s abuse center in Michigan.

The students joined forced with Central Michigan University staff members to redesign the interior of the Midland Shelter for abused women and children while making a friendly environment for adults and children who enter the shelter.

The majority of the work involved redesigning the children’s areas at the shelter, a project that was already in the works by the shelter’s program designers. The program designer worked with an interior design instructor in the past and called on her and her interior design students to help design the youth spaces at the shelter.

The interior design students came up with concepts and designs that would fit within the shelter’s limited funding options and people from the shelter and with other volunteers that were on hand to help bring those designs to life. As one of the tougher scenarios an interior designer might face in a real-world scenario, the students had to go back and adjust their ideas several times as budgeting and funding changed throughout the course of the design phase.

This is often the case with interior designs for non-profit agencies and those who want to help people on a limited budget. While the interior designs of the shelter are important to the recovery process, especially among children and teens, there are still funding limitations. One of the big limitations is labor options – for this particular project, students had to come up with designs that could be executed by the volunteer labor to which the shelter had access.

This means that the interior design concepts had to be simple enough for others to understand – even without a professional architect or carpenter on hand. In the end, the interior design class made a significant change to the tone of the teen and play rooms at the shelter by recruiting the skills and products of an area high school sewing class.

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Interior Design School Professor Tells Home Owners to Think Green

Graphic Design School Software As interior design schools focus more on sustainable designs and younger generations of students make their mark on history by being more aware of energy consumption as it related to aesthetic appeal, at least one company is stepping up to tell home owners that a remodel may be all they need to start being “green”.

Owner of Ryan Architecture and professor of interior design and construction at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Maryland; Mike Ryan recently stood in front of an audience at Wilson College to discuss how each individual impacts the global environment.

According to Ryan, who talked to the audience about the American Society of Interior Design and the RE-GREEN program form the U.S. Green Building Council, Americans spend all but 10% of their time indoors. He also pointed out that, thanks to climate control methods inside our homes, architects and interior designers spend much less time thinking about the layout and design of our building. It is in a structures layout and interior design that energy consumption can be increased or decreased when given thoughtful consideration.

Interior design schools are already on board, but Ryan is attempting to get homeowners on the same page. Struggling with energy costs and unfinished interior design projects, such as an unfinished basement, can benefit a home owner financially and positively impact the environment by considering which products and how far the product has to be shipped to get to them when they think about home projects.

Interior design students can help by taking more time to learn about what is truly considered a “sustainable” interior design, to include products and the sources of those products. Arrangement, natural lighting, heat conduction, blocking out unwanted heat, and other energy consumption techniques can be implemented within the realm of interior design to help minimize the impact of a space on the environment.

Interior Design News

Are Interior Design Courses Important for other Professions?

Interior design courses can lead to a college degree for those who wish to be a professional designer, but they can be important for other professions, too.

Anyone earning a commissioned pay check based on real estate values and homes sales might consider taking a few interior design courses to help them make it through economic turbulence in the industry, but some industry experts say “Leave it to the experts.”

Interior designers are often called in to help real estate representatives sell homes that are out of date or completely out of touch with current home market trends. As home trends change, homes that go up for sale are much more likely to result in a SOLD sign in the front yard when they are aligned with the modern trends that home buyers are attracted to.

In a report by the Sydney, interior design educators caution against taking interior design classes lightly. They stick to their message that it is a difficult occupation and that skill level is apparent and visible in the work that agents perform.

”Regardless of education, design is an industry where visual evidence of your competence through your folio and your ability to talk intelligently about your design discipline may be all an employer requires,” said Geoff Fitzpatrick of the Design Institute of Australia.

Interior designers are expensive. Even more expensive is a real estate agent attempting to modernize the home without any official interior design training offered by some of the independent classes available to them. Not understanding the entire process of design can be costly. Time and money are wasted when an under-trained (or untrained) individual sets out to redesign a home for the sake of making the sale. Successful interior designers and real estate agents in the industry agree that this type of training is important in the home sales industry.

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Are Online Interior Design Classes Sufficient?

Online interior design classes are appropriate in certain fields of study, but may not provide enough direct feedback and instruction for all aspects of interior design degree programs.

However, there are many parts of interior design that fit very well into the realm of online training; blending online classes with in-classroom curriculum might be just what some students need to achieve their degree goals while maintaining a flexible schedule.

Nearly all levels of interior design –whether interior decorating or actual, physical redesign – relies heavily on computer aided drafting and design (CADD) software. Learning how to use this software is essential; a core ability for one to become a successful professional. Interior design classes offered online that train students on the use and function of these types of programs is essentially a “hands off” process. As long as the student is able to learn on his own pace and without direct supervision, learning software skills is an ideal candidate for online training.

Much of the foundational knowledge students are taught in their first year of interior design classes fall into a category that seems safe for online classes. The drafting and graphic design portions of interior design are done with software, as we mentioned, and learning the concepts to create these designs is standard in the industry so little teacher supervision is required.

Students may begin to exit the realm of acceptable online classes in interior design at the end of the second year of college, when project coordination and management become essential to obtaining a degree. While the skills can still be learned through online interior design classes, project management and team activities in the classroom provide a critical sense of reality that one might face in the professional world. One in which real clients change their minds and real people with emotions have to be an important part of the design process.

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Interior Design Schools and Green Designs

Interior design schools might be looking at more changes soon if they want to keep their students competitive in the job market.

The desire for sustainable interior designs from ever-more environmentally conscious consumers is creating a growing demand for designers that specialize in this type of design according to government job experts.

According to the United States’ Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook report on interior designers, sustainable design is one the interior design specialties that are gaining momentum and will continue to do so. “Three areas of design that are becoming increasingly popular are ergonomic design, elder design, and environmental—or green—design,” according the BLS website.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics defines sustainable interior design as those that involve “selecting furniture and carpets that are free of chemicals and hypoallergenic and selecting construction materials that are energy-efficient or are made from renewable resources.”

Interior designs schools will need to revamp existing curriculum to get students ahead of the curve in the trending market place, where officials expect that green designs will become increasingly popular. Sustainable interior design classes are offered at some interior design schools already. Those that are in-tune with the marketplace are teaching student designers about how to choose environmentally friendly materials.

Another aspect of the “green” movement in interior design addresses environmentally friendly methods, too. Interior design students need to know not only which materials are eco-friendly, but how to create designs that are aligned with the newest energy codes – such as lighting options, air conditioning, and waste management.

An example of a completely sustainable, environmentally interior design might include chemical free paints, wood extracted from reforestation companies, ventilation systems that take advantage of natural airflow, and production methods that emit less carbon into the atmosphere. Because the demand for sustainable design is growing, and to remain competitive with other schools, more interior design academies may soon need to offer specialized degrees in this discipline.