Interior_Design

InteriorDesign

Give me some space, and I'll show you what I can do.

You’re not the only person who has a knack for re-imagining the look of a room, and office, or even an entire building interior. For you though, it goes much deeper. You think about how a space connects to the people who use it—and to the environment. If you’re ready to go all-in and make a career out of it, our Interior Design degree program is the place to start. Here, you’ll develop the technical and creative skills to design interior spaces that meet demanding requirements—not just aesthetically, but in terms of safety, accessibility, and sustainability. You’ll be surrounded and inspired by other talented, creatively driven students. And you’ll be pushed, challenged, and, above all else, supported by experienced faculty*. It’ll take total commitment. But it could add up to a career doing what you love.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design

Quarter Credit Hours:
180
Timeframe:
12 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design

Outcomes

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/185 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

View Academic Catalog

Classroom Experience

If it was easy, anybody could do it.

You have a unique vision—and a strong passion—for designing the spaces where people live and work. Our program is all about turning that passion and vision into a career that's both challenging and rewarding. You'll have the opportunity to learn to design attractive environments that are safe, accessible, and sustainable, while meeting today’s demanding technical requirements and regulations. We’ll start by guiding you through basics like perspective, proportion, color, drafting, and rendering. Then you can to build skills in areas from textiles, furnishings, and lighting to traditional and computerized design and computer-aided drafting. You’ll explore residential, commercial, institutional, and office design with courses in materials and specifications, building and safety codes, sustainable building principles and practices, environmental design, and human factors. See our gainful employment pages for possible careers that match the program that interests you.

What Will I Study?

Interior_Design_Study

I know what I want. Now show me what I need.

Creating living and working spaces isn’t just about color, light, and materials. It’s about building codes, accessibility, and sustainability. In a rigorous, all-encompassing Interior Design curriculum developed by industry and education innovators to deliver the right balance, you'll study:

  • Traditional and Computerized Design
  • Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD)
  • Space Planning
  • Textiles
  • Lighting
  • Barrier-Free Designs
  • Interior Architectural Systems
  • Residential Design
  • Commercial Design
  • Institutional Design
  • Office Design
  • Materials and Specifications
  • Building and Safety Codes
  • Sustainable Building Principles and Practices
  • Environmental Design
  • Human Factors

I'm looking for my proving ground.

At The Art Institutes system of schools, creativity is our core, our calling, our culture. We know that a creative career isn’t for everyone. It’s only for those who have the confidence and tenacity to make the leap from passion to profession. Our Interior Design degree program reflects the real world and all its challenges. Because it’s tough out there, it’s tough in here. But you’ll have the support you need to make your creativity marketable. We’ll provide the mentoring and real-world experience you need to prevail, with faculty* who’ve worked in the field and internship possibilities at successful businesses. You’ll be encouraged and expected to be bold. To take risks. To push yourself and the people around you. It won’t be easy. In fact, it’ll be the hardest thing you’ll ever love.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

 

Meet our Faculty

  • Lead Faculty of Interior Design Anne Holic

    Anne Holic

    Interior Design

    It's amazing to see students gain so much knowledge in a short amount of time. By the time they graduate they've acquired many professional skills and talents.

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    Anne Holic

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    As a child, I drew all the time. In college, I took architecture and design classes. I knew that was the perfect combination of my love for art, the humanities, and the sciences. Each interior design project is a mix of designing, drawing, working with people, and watching your idea become reality.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    I use my experience in both residential and commercial work every day, guiding students through projects. I use my contacts with the local design community to bring designers and architects in to meet students and review their work every quarter. And I’ve put together student work camps where we give back to the community by building at a Habitat for Humanity site for a day while learning about green architecture.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In my introductory Design Basics class, I teach the elements of design: form, shape, texture, etc. The first day of class we cut open fruits and vegetables and study the elements within—then we apply the same process to architecture and design. It’s all about understanding that design is all around us.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Our Interior Design students learn a lot from Graphic Design students and instructors. While they understand space planning and project design, the graphic input helps them learn to package and sell their designs. That collaboration is creating beautiful portfolios—and it’ll help my students sell their projects to clients down the road.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Many of my former students have come back to thank me for teaching them about construction. In the field, designers are in contact with engineers, architects, and contractors every day. I always stress that designers must understand general construction and speak the language of the other professionals in the field.

    What’s your one piece of advice for a student embarking on a creative career?

    Students need to find where their talents lie, whether in product design, space planning, CAD detailing, client interaction, construction oversight, fabric selection, etc. There are so many opportunities if they can perfect their talents.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    It’s amazing to see students gain so much knowledge in a short amount of time. By the time they graduate they’ve acquired many professional skills and talents.

    Read More...
  • Lead Art Foundations Faculty Jason Axtell

    Jason Axtell

    Graphic & Web Design

    Learn all you can, whatever you can, while you can. It'll only make you more viable and resourceful—that's what employers want.

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    Jason Axtell

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I knew early in life that drawing and painting were essential to who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. But it wasn't until my freshman year that I knew I had it in me to pursue a career in illustration and design.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    In my job, I’ve had to become very resourceful and flexible as I use traditional and digital techniques to create logo designs, illustrations, digital coloring, layouts, etc. The skills and work ethic I’ve learned help me design a course load of assignments that build upon and expand my student's knowledge and abilities.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    The one I’m best known for is my “apple” assignment. I provide a step-by-step guide to illustrating an apple in Photoshop from scratch. It forces students to take the time to understand where the tools are and how to use them. It also provides a strong basis for everything else that comes later in the class.

    How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

    On the “apple” project, for example, students who stick with it realize they have what it takes to work with this complex program.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Art and creativity are subjective. Everyone approaches their chosen profession, discipline, and techniques in different ways. Having a class of people who are all there to learn something unique to their field helps everyone gain a broader understanding of color, drawing, and computer programs by watching how others work out a problem or assignment.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Be punctual. You’ll earn a poor reputation in the creative community if you can’t deliver what you promise, on time. Beyond that, I encourage students to practice and learn everything they can while in school. Learn all you can, whatever you can, while you can. It’ll only make you more viable and resourceful—that’s what employers want. And learn more than just techniques and tools—learn about yourself. How do you work? What are you capable of doing?

    Anything else?

    This is the most rewarding and fulfilling job I've ever had. I inspire others and myself at the same time. I surround myself with like-minded individuals who keep me motivated, ambitious, and honest.

    Read More...
  • Nina Thirakul

    Fashion Marketing & Management

    Always be hungry for knowledge. That hunger is what keeps us competitive.

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    Nina Thirakul

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I realized that I was an effective teacher when my students told me that I prepared them well to conquer their jobs, the competition, the industry, and their fears.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    My background is in fashion design, from an internship with a London fashion designer to ten years with the House of Chanel, and I build that experience into my lectures. My students enjoy the stories and, more importantly, they get to see how textbook material relates to real-life situations. And they see me as a real person who has credibility both as their instructor and as an industry insider.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    One of the most rigorous final projects is for my Trends and Concepts class. Students must research and analyze 24 trends. Parts of the assignment are due at various times, and I provide feedback for each write-up and every trend analysis. Students learn that when they submit work on time, they can use the feedback to make corrections as they finalize projects. I encourage students to be proactive about their learning and work, to learn good time-management skills, and work hard to be the best they can be.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Working with students from other programs is valuable on many levels. They get to see the talents and skills of others as they accomplish a task together. And it forces them out of their comfort zone, beyond their circle of friends and their field of study.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Be honest: To yourself, your peers, your instructors, family, friends, everyone. Be honest to your craft. Hold yourself to the highest standard. Don’t settle for less.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    If you want to be the best artist you can be, put in the time to perfect your skills. Always be open to learning new things, and always be hungry for knowledge. That hunger is what keeps us competitive.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I love my job. It provides a true sense of happiness when I can make a difference in my students’ lives.

    Read More...
The Art Institute of Michigan alumni Calvert Griffin [My education] helped me to learn how to be an effective teammate and work well with others. Calvert Griffin
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, 2014, The Art Institute of Michigan