Interior design describes a group of various yet related projects that involve turning an interior space into an effective setting for the range of human activities are to take place there. An interior designer is someone who conducts such projects. Interior design is a multifaceted profession that includes conceptual development, liaising with the stakeholders of a project and the management and execution of the design.
In the past, Interiors were put together instinctively as a part of the process of building. The profession of interior design has been a consequence of the development of society and the complex architecture that has resulted from the development of industrial processes. The pursuit of effective use of space, user well-being and functional design has contributed to the development of the contemporary interior design profession.
Throughout the 18th century and into the early 19th Century, interior decoration was the concern of the homemaker or, in well of families an upholsterer or craftsman may influence the style of the interior space. Architects would also employ craftsmen or artisans to complete interior design for their buildings. Towards the end of the 19th century interior decorating emerged as a profession in the Western world. This was due to various actions, particularly by women, to professionalise the homemaking process. Elise De Wolfe has been credited with the creation of the interior decorating profession. Having successfully re-designed her own home, De Wolfe began offering her services to other people within her social circle. As people began offering interior decoration as a service the professionalization of this service gained momentum.
This movement towards professionalization was reinforced by the publication of books on the subject. Publications include the book Suggestions for House Decoration in Painting, Woodwork and Furniture (1876) by Anges and Rhoda Garrett, Elise De Wolfeâ€™s The House in Good Taste (1913) and articles by Candice Wheeler such as Principles of Home Decoration with Practical Examples (1903). Most of the books were published by women and clearly suggested the profession was within the womenâ€™s domain, E.g. The two-part article Interior Decoration as a Profession for Women (1895), written by Candice Wheeler. As previously mentioned, before formal interior decorators evolved the job was the concern of craftsmen or upholsterers. This means that many â€˜decoratorsâ€™ at this time were dealers in the elements needed for interiors. This called into question the qualifications of the decorator and their standing as an independent advisor. This gave term interior decorator negative connotations for some, as a painter or curtain sales person can be a self-appointed decorator. Hence, the decorators favoured term Interior Designer. Interior design has now developed past the point of decoration and the terms, although overlapping, are distinct.
The most prominent development of the interior design profession was after World War II. From the 1950s onwards spending on the home increased. Interior design courses were established, requiring the publication of textbooks and reference sources. Historical accounts of interior designers and firms distinct from the decorative arts specialists were made available. While organisations to regulate education, qualifications, standards and practices, etc were established for the profession.
Interior Design was previously seen as playing a secondary role to architecture. It also has many connections to other design disciplines, involving the work of architects, industrial designers, engineers, builders, craftsmen, etc. For these reasons the government of interior design standards and qualifications was often incorporated into other professional organisations that involved design. Organisations such as the Chartered Society of Designers, established in the UK in 1986, and the American Designers Institute, founded in 1938, were established as organisations that governed various areas of design. It was not until later that specific representation for the interior design profession was developed. The US National Society of Interior Designers was established in 1957, while in the UK the Interior Decorators and Designers Association was established in 1966. Across Europe, other organisations such as The Finnish Association of Interior Architects (1949) were being established and in 1994 the International Interior Design Association was founded.
Ellen Mazur Thomson, author of Origins of Graphic Design in America (1997), determined that professional status is achieved through education, self-imposed standards and professional gate-keeping organisations. Having achieved this, interior design became an accepted profession.
The profession of interior design is not clearly defined and projects undertaken by an interior designer vary widely. Terms such as decorator and designer are often used interchangeably. However, there is a distinction between the terms.
Matching Interior Design Colleges
Harrington College of Design
Four or more years; Private for profit; $18,250 average out-state tuition; $18,250 average in-state tuition
New York School of Interior Design
Four or more years; Private not for profit; $19,104 average out-state tuition; $19,104 average in-state tuition
Savannah College of Art and Design
Four or more years; Private not for profit; $30,510 average out-state tuition; $30,510 average in-state tuition
Fashion Institute of Technology
Four or more years; Public; $11,922 average out-state tuition; $3,974 average in-state tuition
FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-Los Angeles
Four or more years; Private for profit; $25,469 average out-state tuition; $25,469 average in-state tuition
Four or more years; Private not for profit; $37,500 average out-state tuition; $37,500 average in-state tuition
Interior Designers Institute
Four or more years; Private for profit; $17,950 average out-state tuition; $17,950 average in-state tuition
Interior Design Scholarships
|Beinecke Scholarship Program||$34,000||February 14, 2018|
|Harvey Nudelman Scholarship||$5,000||December 04, 2017|
|NEWH Product Design Competition||$4,000||January 02, 2018|
|Sustainable Residential Design Scholarship||$2,500||December 15, 2017|
|Residential Design Scholarship||$2,500||December 15, 2017|
|Zinggia Art Scholarship||$2,000||March 03, 2018|
|Charles Beardsley Undergraduate Endowed Scholarship||$1,500||February 01, 2018|
|Tenshon Scholarship||$1,500||December 15, 2017|
|Ruth DeYoung Kohler Award||$1,400||February 28, 2018|
|Ralph L. and Frances A. Jaeschke Arts and Sciences Endowed Scholarship||$1,250||February 01, 2018|
Interior Design Related Majors
- Graphic Design
- Commercial and Advertising Art
- Fashion/Apparel Design
- Design and Visual Communications
- Industrial Design
- Commercial Photography
- Art/Art Studies
- Fine Arts
- Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts
- Music Performance
- Cinematography and Film/Video Production
- Art History, Criticism and Conservation
- Film/Cinema Studies
- Visual and Performing Arts
- Music Management and Merchandising