Becoming an Interior Designer

Throughout the Interior Design Program, an emphasis is placed on the basic relationships between interior design, architecture, and visual and decorative arts. While an architect typically deals with the general design of buildings, an interior designer is concerned with more closely dimensional aspects of the design, specific aesthetic, functional, and psychological issues involved, and the particular characteristics of spaces. Interior design is a multifaceted profession, which includes conceptual development, spatial planning, site surveying, scheduling, research, communicating with the stakeholders in a design, managing the construction, and carrying out design.   

To be a successful interior designer, one needs an all-encompassing education and skills for working across multiple disciplines (architecture; graphic design; decorative arts; and fabric, furniture, and lighting design, sales). Based on professional standards established by the Interior Design Credentialing Board and industry partners, an AS in interior design technology will help you build competence across all stages of design. A bachelors or masters degree will provide exposure to many design principles that you will utilize in your career.  

After graduating, most students go on to work in that field or enter a masters degree program in Architecture, Graphic Design, and Industrial Design. Many graduates go on to work for established design and architectural firms, or to establish their own businesses, following a few years professional experience. Most larger firms incorporate architects, industrial designers, and graphic designers.   

Design firms that are involved in work outside of residential buildings range from smaller groups of associates to organizations with 50 to 100 employees. Field trips are taken to design firms, art museums, historical sites, showcase houses, and architectural sites. Courses on the history of art and architecture, building, and professional practice are supplemented with field trips and presentations from practicing designers, forging relationships with the profession that translate to job opportunities.   

You will be taking an array of courses, including principles for both residential and commercial design, history of architecture and interiors, and business practices. The curriculum includes studies in the history of art and design, innovations in new materials and construction technologies, and human behavior. The holistic curriculum focuses on designing a code-compliant, accessible, inclusive indoor environment that addresses wellbeing by taking into account peoples complex physical, mental, and emotional needs.  

The interior design program prepares students to be professional interior designers, identifying, researching, and creatively solving problems related to the function and quality of an indoor environment. The interior design program in OMore College of Architecture, Art, & Design at Belmont University at Belmont University is focused on creating the most employable interior designers, with an emphasis on technical skills, creative problem-solving, and professionalism. An interior designer with an emphasis on Fine Line design may take on projects involving arranging the basic layout of spaces in a building, but also projects requiring understanding of technical issues, such as placement of windows and doors, acoustics, and lighting.

Designers also provide services related to indoor spaces, including design analysis, scheduling, space planning, and aesthetics, using specialized knowledge of indoor building, building codes, equipment, materials, and furnishings. Some designers work in housewares stores, providing design services to assist customers in selecting materials and furnishings. Fictional home decorators include the Sugarbaker sisters in the show Designing Women, and Grace Adler in Will & Grace. Additionally, both HGTV and The DIY Network televise numerous programs on interior design and decorating, featuring the work of various interior designers, decorators, and home repair experts in an array of projects. 

Interior designers redesign kitchens and bathrooms, develop special lines of furniture for home goods stores, consult on architectural building projects, and help families build beautiful home structures to suit their personal tastes. Interior designers look beyond the choice of color palettes and furnishings, applying their knowledge to developing building documents, occupancy loads, health codes, and sustainability design principles, and managing and coordinating professional services including mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and life safety — all in order to make sure that people can live, learn, or work in a safe environment that is also aesthetically pleasing. 

Whether an indoor space is a shop, office, restaurant, hospital ward, or a home, the interior designer has learned how to develop spaces that are both beautiful and inspiring. You learn both the residential and commercial aspects of design and construction, such as illustrations, colors, lighting, fabrics, finishes, and furnishings. Your studies will cover sustainability and socially responsible design, lighting, and furniture, and adherence to codes and professional practices.

You will study high-performance, eco-friendly design, grounded in the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) framework, and develop your skills in researching, writing, and presenting graphics. You will build your understanding of the design process from beginning to end, from customer needs, scheduling, schematic design, product design and specifications, through to final presentations. You will also develop a fluency with two-dimensional and three-dimensional design software and the computer equipment used by modern designers. You will develop job-ready skills in analysis, presentation, CAD (computer-aided design), BIM (building information modeling), and specification of indoor materials. 

Jumping into the professional world requires emerging designers to create and present a strong portfolio, and the undergraduate program provides a great place to build the skills needed for this.

Although business activity continues to increase in residential interiors, the demand for, and challenges for, a professional designer appear to be diminishing, resulting in an increasing number of skilled professionals working on work outside of residential construction. Tillotson Design Associates impressive project list includes interior and exterior lighting of academic buildings, business facilities, libraries, concourses, museums and galleries, performing spaces, places of worship, residences, restaurants, rehabilitation, and retail. The independent lighting design firm celebrated its 11th year of operation in 2015. Our award-winning, leading luxury interior designers, Marc Tee, Michael Abbott, and our team of over 70 industry-leading interior design professionals, blend flawless interior details, unique furnishings, and innovative craftsmanship to bring your vision to life. 

Residential design is frequently called Contract Design due to the way a designer is compensated (i.e., the Contract Fee Structure), as opposed to a Commission or Percentage Structure common to Residential Interior Decorators.


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