Interior Design Programs from Top Accredited Colleges

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For many people, their homes are their castles. Our homes are not only a place to rest our heads, they are also places where we can feel secure, safe, and comfortable.

In many ways, our homes are often an extension of our personal styles. The d├ęcor and color schemes that we choose typically reflect our lifestyles, personalities, interests, and individuality, much like the clothes and accessories that we choose.

Decorating and designing a home, however, whether it’s a huge mansion or a tiny apartment, can sometimes be very difficult. For instance, not only should it have functional necessities, like adequate workspace in the kitchen, but it should also be attractive and comfortable as well. Some people have a knack and passion for this task, but some don’t. In order to make their homes into their castles, some people might hire interior designers.

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What Are Interior Design Schools?

Interior design schools are educational facilities that teach the necessary skills needed to become an interior designer. Students who graduate from these schools will typically learn how to make interior spaces beautiful and attractive, as well as functional and safe.

Interior design is the art of designing and decorating interior spaces. Professionals in this field are charged with turning interior spaces into effective and attractive settings that are perfect for the occupants’ day to day activities.

Although it may seem like a simple concept, interior design involves more than simply slapping a few coats of paint on the walls and arranging furniture. There is something of a science and art to it. For instance, there are only so many ways that furniture can be arranged in a room to where it won’t interfere with the flow of traffic through that room. This profession is perfect for creative individuals who have a good eye for what works in an interior space. These professionals should also have some knowledge of building codes, safety regulations, and architecture.

In most areas of the United States, interior designers must be licensed or certified. To become certified, interior designers must have a certain number of years of schooling or experience, or a combination of the two. Interior design schools are typically the best and quickest way to become an interior designer.

There are a couple types of spaces that interior designers frequently work in – residential interior spaces and commercial interior spaces. Interior design students will often learn the different necessities and design tactics needed for each one. Residential spaces, for example, typically need to be designed and decorated around the styles and lifestyles of the families that live in them. Some common types of residential spaces include:

  • houses
  • apartments
  • condos
  • penthouses
  • dormitories
  • duplexes

Designing and decorating commercial spaces, on the other hand, requires interior designers to create a welcoming environment for customers and clients. Commercial spaces should be functional and able to accommodate several people at one time, but they should also reflect the style and attitude of the business. For instance, designing the interior of a daycare center will often be much different than designing the interior of a nursing home. Some common commercial spaces that might benefit from the talents of interior designers include

  • restaurants
  • hotels
  • offices
  • hospitals
  • schools
  • stores

As mentioned above, however, not just anyone can become an interior designer and start designing and decorating these spaces. Over half of the US states require interior designers to be licensed to work in this profession, for instance. To become licensed, individuals must first fulfill the necessary education and experience requirements, which often vary by state. Part of these requirements – and sometimes all of them – can be fulfilled by attending an accredited interior design school.

What Are the Different Types of Interior Design Schools?

There are a handful of interior design schools across the country that are dedicated to nothing but interior design. The New York School of Interior Design, for instance, is the only accredited school in New York State that is exclusively dedicated to teaching interior design. In general, however, interior design schools aren’t usually separate schools in and of themselves. Instead, they are usually smaller sections or degree programs offered by larger educational institutes.

Community colleges and traditional universities, for instance, often offer interior design programs. Vocational schools and art institutes also usually offer interior design degree programs as well.

With the internet becoming more and more accessible and easy to use, online interior design schools are becoming very popular as well. These schools are generally much more convenient, since they allow students access to course materials 24 hours a day, every day. This enables students to complete the courses and earn their degrees in their own time. Many online interior design school students are able to earn their degrees even while attending to other obligations, including full-time jobs and family responsibilities.

What Degree Programs Do Interior Design Schools Offer?

Interior design schools might offer a few different types of degree programs to their students. The type of degree program that a student chooses will usually depend on his individual situation and career goals.

Some interior design schools offer certificate or diploma programs. These typically enable students to learn the basic fundamentals of interior design, and may take up to a year to complete. Students who graduate with interior design certificates or diplomas will sometimes be able to secure employment in entry level decorating positions.

Students can also choose to earn associate or bachelor degrees in interior design as well. Associate degree programs in interior design allow students to learn interior design fundamentals and techniques, and they typically take around two years to complete. Bachelor degree programs, on the other hand, are more in depth, and they take around four years to complete. Individuals with associate degrees in interior design will usually be able to secure employment in entry level and mid-level interior design positions, while individuals with bachelor degrees in this area will generally have more employment opportunities.

Both bachelor and associate degrees in interior design will usually enable students to prepare for interior licensure exams in their states. Those with associate degrees, however, will usually need to have a couple years of work experience under their belts as well before they can take the exam.

What Types of Courses Are Offered at Interior Design Schools?

Interior design schools typically offer a number of different courses. Some core courses may be required for graduation, while others are electives, or optional.

All interior design students will usually need to take several courses on the basics of interior design. This often includes courses that cover the history of the industry and period designs, along with color schemes, painting, furniture and furnishings, textiles, lighting, and acoustics. Many interior design schools also offer courses that cover basic structural design and beginning architecture principles, as well as courses on inspection regulations and building code regulations. Sketching and CAD courses are also usually offered as part of interior design programs.

Students attending interior design schools will also usually be able to take courses that cover basic and advanced techniques for certain types of interior spaces. This might include certain rooms in a house, like kitchens and bathrooms, or it might include certain types of buildings, such as residential or commercial buildings.

What Are the Different Career Options for Interior Design School Graduates?

A career in interior design can be very exciting, fun, and rewarding. Individuals that graduate from interior design schools might find themselves working in several different types of companies.

One of the most common places for an interior designer to work is in an interior design firm. Talented and experienced interior design professionals might even choose to open their own interior design companies. Interior designers might also find themselves working for housing developers and real estate firms, as well as home improvement stores and furniture manufacturers.

Do I Need a Degree From an Interior Design School?

Whether you need interior design school training largely depends on your location. In the majority of states, a formal interior design education is usually necessary to take the state licensing exam required to become a professional interior designer.

Some states, however, require little to no training to become an interior designer. Even in these states, though, knowing what looks good in a room is not the only skill needed to become an interior design professional. Knowledge of interior design principles and techniques will help you get ahead of and stay ahead of your local competition. After all, the majority of people tend to trust professionals with formal educations more than those without.