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The Best Furniture Design Schools in the U.S. 2017

In today’s modern world filled with wondrous luxuries, there are some things that many of us take for granted. Laptops, televisions, and smart phones might come to mind for some, for example. There are some more practical modern luxuries that many of us may not even think of as luxuries, though. Furniture is one of those luxuries.

It can probably be said that nearly every occupied home in the country has more than a few pieces of furniture. In fact, the majority of the human race probably wouldn’t be able to function without furniture. We would have nowhere to eat our meals, store our belongings, relax after a hard day at work, or even sleep without furniture.

Furniture has become an everyday staple for the majority of people on earth. Even seemingly primitive tribes fashion furniture from available resources.

Not only does furniture come in quite handy during most of our day, it also adds a little something extra to our homes as well. Some furniture, for example, can be used as a nice comfy place to park our tired bones when we need a rest. It can also add style and beauty when used as décor.

So, although you may not have thought of it before, you would probably find it very difficult to live without furniture. Have you ever wondered where furniture comes from, though? Or, who comes up with the comfy and attractive designs?

Designing and building furniture is no easy task. A furniture design career, although difficult at times, can be a very rewarding and lucrative career for some people. In order to get started in this type of career, however, a person should have heaps of special knowledge, talent, and skill. These particular skills can often be acquired by attending furniture design schools.

  • School Name

    10 schools ranked

  • Nestled amidst the picturesque New England seaboard, Rhode Island School of Design has long been one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious colleges offering rigorous art programs at both an undergraduate and graduate level.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 2,481
  • RIT is a private college whose fine arts programs are consistently ranked in the “Top 10” by US News. Conferring associates, undergraduate and graduate degrees, it has 4 galleries and a Center for Design.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 16,639
  • Embracing a forward-looking approach to artistic academia, SCAD is a student-centered institution determined to provide educational excellence within the context of a positive learning environment. Students learn to create art, as well as live creatively artistic lives.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 11,861
  • KCAD is famous for its esteemed faculty, intimate involvement in student success, well-resourced facilities and cutting-edge technological equipment. Its broad-based educational approach prepares students for fulfilling careers and responsible citizenship.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Public
  • Established in 1886, MCAD is a not-for-profit, private college conferring both 4 year and postgraduate degrees. A preeminent art and design educational institution, MCAD offers certificate programs, continuing education and hosts numerous exhibitions.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 796
  • Established in 1906, the College for Creative Studies is a small, private, fully-accredited institution of higher learning. Diversity and inclusion characterize the student body: undergraduates hail from 35 states and 24 countries; while the graduate population is comprised of 81% international enrollees from 8 countries. Located in Midtown Detroit, students enjoy the long-established, rich culture of the city. From the Detroit Film Theatre and the Detroit Institute of Arts; to the libraries, galleries and famous restaurants; both college and students can leverage the educational opportunities provided by the urban community.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 1,487
  • With 30 distinct areas of study, Academy of Art University is America's largest private accredited art university. Markedly exceptional is their “No-Barrier to Admissions” policy. Applicants need only possess passion coupled with the ability to concretize it.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Private, For Profit
    • imgEnrollment : 13,800
  • With 22 undergraduate degree programs, 12 graduate programs and international study options; California College of the Arts successfully balances tradition with innovation and theory with practice. Students enjoy an 8:1 student/teacher ratio and class sizes averaging 13 students.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 1,975
  • With 14 artistic majors, NMU’s School of Art & Design exemplifies the variety of opportunities available to the artistically-minded student. NMU prepares students for their professions by close portfolio monitoring and developing career tools.

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 8,303
  • As the oldest arts educational institution in the state, Maine College of Art has been helping students succeed since 1882. Located in the picturesque Arts District of Portland, Maine; the college-town enjoys a distinguished reputation for its beauty and artistic culture. Among its numerous awards, the location was named #1 Most Liveable City by Forbes Magazine. The intimacy of a mentorship-based education is ensured with the College’s student to teacher ratio of 10:1 (one of the best in the nation).

    • imgAccredited
    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 468

What Are Furniture Design Schools?

Schools that offer furniture design degrees are often necessary for learning the ins and outs of the furniture industry. This special area of industrial design is sometimes considered to be a mixture of several different industries, including interior design, fashion, and architecture. A good furniture design school will usually incorporate all of these elements into their furniture design programs.

The furniture making process typically starts with the idea stage, moves on to the actual design stage, and finishes with the production stage. Students who attend furniture design schools will typically learn about a number of different elements needed to create a piece of furniture, from start to finish.

What Are the Different Types of Furniture Design Schools?

In general, furniture design schools are not usually schools in and of themselves. Instead they are usually programs or schools within larger schools.

There are a few different types of educational institutes that may house furniture design schools. Traditional colleges and universities, for instance, sometimes offer furniture design degree programs. Large art and design institutes and fashion institutes might also include fashion design schools on their campuses as well.

Each of these types of furniture design school options has its advantages and disadvantages. Traditional colleges and universities might be more easily accessible, for instance, but they may not offer truly focused design degree programs. Art, design and fashion institutes, on the other hand, are often more expensive, but they also usually have more internship and networking opportunities for aspiring furniture designers and artists.

What Type of Degree Do I Need from a Furniture Design School?

There are a few common types of degrees that most furniture design schools offer. Associate and bachelor’s degrees typically enable students to learn the fundamentals of furniture design, as well as advanced techniques. These types of degrees usually take students two or four years to complete. Students who are looking for a more in depth education or those who would like to focus on a specific aspect of furniture design may want to consider earning a Master’s degree in furniture design.

Furniture design schools also offer a couple of very common degree programs needed to get started in the exciting world of furniture design.

  • Furniture Design Degrees – 

    Furniture design degrees are often the first degrees that come to mind when striving to start a furniture design degree. These types of degrees help students gain crucial knowledge that can later be used to start building their careers. These types of degree programs are mostly focused on learning every aspect of designing and building furniture.

  • Industrial Design Degrees – 

    Industrial design degrees are similar to furniture design degrees. However, students working toward earning industrial design degrees don’t usually focus just on furniture. Instead, they focus on designing and building a number of different consumer products. Some of the areas that industrial design instructors might touch on may include toy design, automobile design, and product design.

Choosing the right degree and degree program for you will ultimately depend on your career goals. If you’re looking to start your career sooner rather than later, you may want to opt for an associate degree in furniture design or industrial design. This type of degree will often enable you to find entry level positions with several different companies.


Individuals looking to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees will usually need to wait four years or more before they jump into their careers. However, more advanced degrees will often lead to more employment opportunities as well as higher starting salaries.

What Are Some Courses Offered at Furniture Design Schools?

Some of the basic courses offered in furniture design schools often cover such subjects as furniture and industrial design history, along with design theory. Students will also usually be required to take courses that help them understand what makes a good quality piece of furniture. Other classes my cover furniture styles, market trends, and materials.

Designing furniture also requires some degree of artistic talent as well. Because of this, furniture design students are often required to take courses in drawing, CAD, and model making.

Many of the courses offered in furniture design schools enable students to learn by doing, so to speak. Students will usually be required to take courses that teach them how to manipulate materials to build furniture. This might include such courses as woodworking, welding, pattern making, and sewing.

Do I Need a Degree from a Furniture Design School?

The short answer to this question is a resounding “yes!” That is, if you want a successful career in furniture design, then you will need a furniture design degree.

Furniture design and creation is not a simple process. It requires specialized knowledge and skills that can only be learned in their entirety at furniture design schools. In fact, many companies – like factories and furniture design firms – won’t even consider applicants without the proper training.

Attending one of these schools also enables aspiring furniture designers a chance to build their portfolios, which can help showcase their skills to potential employers. Students will also be able to get hands-on experience that will make them invaluable assets in whichever company they choose to work for.