Art Institutes

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
Outcomes
X

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design

Outcomes

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/2546 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.

Meet our Alumni

  • The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston alumni Ayme Troas

    Ayme Troas

    Interior Design , 2015

    "My education [taught me] how to communicate with other designers. When they ask for particular items by name, I know exactly what they are talking about."

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    Ayme Troas

    Design and Sales for KBK to Trade

    Ayme Troas is working in design and sales for KBK to Trade in San Antonio, Texas. She assists designers in finding the right fabrics, furniture, accessories, and lighting for interior design projects. Ayme also works with vendors to get information for clients and to place orders. “The design industry is always evolving, as are the people. Every once in a while someone comes along and takes the industry by storm. I enjoy learning about the new trends and introducing them to our clients,” she says.

    Ayme finds creative inspiration in the world around her. “Whether it’s people, food, my surroundings, or a movement, there is always something that will spark a start to my next project.” Her creative heroes are people in the design industry who go above and beyond to reach the best possible design outcome. Looking to the future, Ayme believes that computer renderings will continue to improve—and will soon look like actual photographs. “The industry is headed toward more digital advances [including] creating applications for tablets or phones [that will allow designers to make] on-the-spot renderings. These [applications] would be extremely beneficial to designers who are always on the go.”

    Ayme, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from The Art Institute of San Antonio, says that her education taught her the industry language as well as how to be a strong communicator. “When [other designers] ask for particular items by name, I know exactly what they are talking about and therefore I can help them more proficiently. I’m also able to quickly draft plans or create sketches to show custom pieces or room layouts.” She adds that current students should push their creativity and don’t hold back. “Find your signature style but don’t be afraid to explore others.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/2546 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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What Will I Study?

Study Section

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

  • Judy Ruvuna

    Judy Ruvuna

    Interior Design

    "Don’t be afraid to fail—failure has generated some of the most innovative design solutions."

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    Judy Ruvuna

    What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I was intensely curious as a child, always asking, "Why?" I wanted to know how things worked and frequently created my own toys by pulling things apart to create the toys.  Drawing eventually became a way for “keeping me out of trouble” by creating things on paper.  I realized that I wanted to be a creative professional in high school when I created a set for a play that I had written.  Building the set and painting the scenes was a lot of work; it also made me realize how powerful design could be.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

    I design projects and assignments to improve the student’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills and use my industry experience to bring real-world context to the material that I teach in the classroom.  I make sure that the students have a clear understanding of the design process and explore typical questions and problems associated with each phase of the design process. This allows the students to learn how to conceptualize, explore, define and produce. The students then go into the production phase with the best possible design solutions for every project they work on.  They also learn how to communicate, critique, provide feedback and collaborate on ideas as if were working in industry.   

    Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    When students come to CAD I (Computer Aided Drafting) they are initially a bit overwhelmed; some of them having never used a computer to draw or design.  Each new group of students come into the class with different skill sets; the challenge is to get all the students ready to design their final project and produce a set of construction documents.  I use targeted assignments, tutoring and create a collaborative learning environment.  The students are always amazed at what they can do.   

    What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

    Collaborating and sharing ideas is vital for generating new and innovative ideas.  In my classes where I have Interior Design and Design & Technical Graphics students, collaboration has produced some really interesting projects.  Students are exposed to a different way of thinking and solving problems.

    In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

    Find something that you are really passionate about, work hard, and don’t be afraid to fail. Failure has generated some of the most innovative design solutions.  Remember that the world is full of creative designers; never ever stop learning.


    Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you, your experience, or your role as a faculty member at The Art Institutes?


    I had always been concerned that having a background in Textiles, Interior Design, Architecture and Historic Preservation, I would have to choose. As a faculty member at The Art Institute of San Antonio, I get to use all of my experience.

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  • Mary Minor HS

    Mary Minor, MArch, Assoc. AIA

    Interior Design

    "Across each of the different classes I teach, the common objective is to provide students with a process for creative problem solving."

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    Mary Minor, MArch, Assoc. AIA

    What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    When I was young, Lincoln Logs and Legos were my favorite toys. I was drawing floor plans for my bedroom in grade school and designed my first building layout for a family retreat in high school. I studied mechanical engineering and philosophy in my undergraduate studies, and in graduate school, my focus centered on theory and concept. Together, the blend of thought process and design outcome has helped shape my professional creativity.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

    I believe it is important to incorporate real-life examples of the concepts we study, and I try to base these examples in the community of San Antonio as familiar references for my students. It is also important to experience these concepts in person, so field trips are an integral part of introducing students to the design community. I also encourage students to join industry organizations, sharing my own experience of the benefits of these groups and the invaluable resource that a strong network can be for individuals in design. 

    Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    The current climate of our industry emphasizes teamwork and cross-disciplinary collaboration. A design charette is an intense planning session used in many firms (often with competition entries) to bring together design team members in a brainstorming exercise. This practice encourages respect amongst the design team, breaks down hierarchy and promotes the verbalization of design ideas. A short design charette as a first day introduction to a studio class allows students to role-play different members of a design team and work in a collaborative environment to produce a design in the intense time limit of a class period. I have used the ubiquitous typology of the conference room as a design problem to immediately delve into a design thinking atmosphere and promote an early understanding of the stages of design. In this exercise, the students self regulate and value is as much about the process as it is about the end result.

    What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

    Collaboration is a tool that promotes communication and critical thinking skills. Interpreting and implementing Thinking Collaborative’s Seven Norms of Collaboration in the classroom can establish norms for groups and help set the stage for impactful group activities. I find collaboration tends to teach listening skills and respect for colleagues. It helps students to verbalize their thought process and learn to ask good questions. Design thinking, a designer’s methodology for problem solving,  is promoted in a collaborative environment, helping students to become more comfortable with exploring multiple solutions, understanding client needs, negotiation and building group consensus.

    In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

    Across each of the different classes I teach, the common objective is to provide students with a process for creative problem solving. 

    My advice to students in the interior design program—carry a sketch book with you at all times, draw a little every day, think and express yourself visually, and share your ideas to promote feedback.

    Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you, your experience, or your role as a faculty member at The Art Institutes?

    I am a designer, planner and preservationist with a passion for good design in the built environment. I earned a BA in Philosophy from Trinity University in 2000 and a Masters of Architecture from UTSA in 2016. I hold certificates in Historic Preservation and Regional & Urban Planning. In addition to working for The Art Institute, I have worked for the University of Texas at San Antonio, the City of San Antonio’s Operation Facelift program, the King William Association and I co-founded a non-profit design and research studio, Urbe-SA, that targets urban problems with design solutions.

    My philosophy of design and education is influenced by Jared Banks, an architect/writer in Washington, who has defined three types of architects; the builder, the artist and the philosopher. The design profession is a community and we rely on each arm of the community to make up the discipline as a whole. I am a philosopher designer who is conceptually and idea driven and most fascinated by the implications of art and architecture and the role they play in the larger community of our earth. I believe, however, the important distinction is that as designers, we are all different combinations of these elements of maker, artist and philosopher, and the synthesis we each bring to the profession is the unique voice we have to contribute to our industry.

    What was the inspiration for your artwork?

    Sometimes a design solution is a community program. While working on a design challenge of urban street revitalization in an underserved community in San Antonio, the San Antonio Fruit Tree Project was born. Walking the streets, we noticed many of the homes had mature fruit trees growing in their yards. This opened our eyes to a cultural phenomenon in the older communities of San Antonio. Our urban neighborhoods are home to an abundance of established orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, fig and pomegranate trees, just to name a few. Many of these trees produce more fruit than one household can consume and this fruit goes to waste. In some of these homes, the residents are unable to pick their fruit due to age, disabilities or busy lives. Our solution was a harvesting program, The San Antonio Fruit Tree Project. We canvas neighborhoods, knock on doors of homeowners with visible fruit trees, and ask them if we can register their tree with our organization. We then schedule a harvest, round up volunteers, pick the fruit tree and deliver it to the San Antonio Food Bank, whom we have partnered with to distribute this fruit to a family in need. Rather than a singular piece of architecture or a planning document, the SA Fruit Tree Project is a design program developed to highlight need and create social networks within communities. This project exemplifies my approach to design and commitment to addressing social problems within our community.

    How can people find out more about you and your artwork?

    http://www.safruittrees.org/

    https://www.facebook.com/SanAntonioFruitTreeProject/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KAo6i8ss3k

    https://www.foodpolicysa.org/fruit-trees-taught-us-inequality-san-antonio/

    http://www.urbe-sa.org

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  • Rick

    Rick "Coach" Green

    "Setting goals is critical, in and out of the classroom."

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    Rick "Coach" Green

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

    My junior year in high school, I was in the food service program. The drama teacher encouraged me to try out for the school play, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. After the director of the food service program saw me act in the play, she encouraged me to go back into regular studies and join the speech team. The next year, I was state champion in Duet Acting and fifth in the nation for Prose/Poetry…and I knew performing was my destiny.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    Adults learn by doing. So when I teach the communication process model, my students act out the different components of the model. It’s an approach that’s based on collaboration and student-centered learning.

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

    I always have students set goals for their learning experience. Setting goals is critical, in and out of the classroom, to help you get and stay motivated.

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  • San Antonio General Education Faculty Christina Dixon

    Christina L. Dixon

    "A closed mind never grows."

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    Christina L. Dixon

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

    My purpose in life is to educate people, whether formally or informally. I‘ve always had a strong desire to help others understand the importance of diversity and acceptance. As an African-American woman, I learned very early on that the world isn’t always friendly. But one experience turned it around for me. Early in my professional career, my professor asked me if I’d ever considered teaching. She’d seen my work, and worked with me at charity events. She told me, “If more people had been introduced to the world the way you see it, it might be a better place.” That’s when I decided to try my hand at teaching.

    The change didn’t happen instantly though because I wasn’t swayed.  It took a couple years of convincing from my faithful, persistent mother to get me to go out and actively pursue teaching.  I never saw myself teaching professionally but from what my mother and my professor saw in me, it must have been meant.  Here I am now, enjoying the interaction—both teaching and learning from the many students I encounter each day.

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

    I bring the real world of psychology into the classroom...and show that it doesn’t have to be boring or hard to understand. If I can reshape how my students think and behave by teaching some of the core principles of psychology, they’ll be better prepared to adapt in an ever-changing world—and more open-minded about the people they encounter. I do this by challenging their beliefs and exposing them to fresh insights about people and cultures around the world.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    All my class assignments are focused on discovery. I ask students to research and explore both common, everyday issues and those that are monumental and life-changing. As the quarter progresses, I ask them to explore their own lives...to apply what they’ve learned in class to reshape their lives for the better. Through this process, they learn to appreciate diversity—hopefully to accept themselves despite their flaws, and create unique and personal pieces of art.

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

    A closed mind never grows. An open mind is more exposed to the world. Art demands that you see the world through different lenses. If you want to be successful, you must be open to seeing the world untainted, in its true form. This is how the wise get their wisdom.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    You’re not coming to my class for a counseling session...but you’ll be calmed and enlightened when you leave.


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  • Meghan Pearson HS

    Meghan Pearson

    "You only get one body. Take care of it!"

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    Meghan Pearson
    What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    As a dietitian, I’m more of a math and science person, however interacting with aspiring creative professionals in the classroom offers new perspectives on my field and adds a nice balance to my work.  I like to think my background in the sciences helps to balance the creative careers of my students as well.  

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

    Nutrition is a unique course in that it applies to everyone on an individual level.  Everybody eats, so everybody can benefit from this class if they choose to.  I like to utilize my professional experience to create opportunities for students to learn hands-on by applying what they’re learning to their own lives, in addition to sharing real-life examples to demonstrate key concepts.

    Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    I try to balance educating my students on the facts about my field while also encouraging them to form their own opinions about nutrition.  Our class discussions probably best exemplify this approach.  Opening the floor for students to share their opinions on potentially polarizing topics provides an opportunity for individuals’ beliefs, biases, and opinions to be challenged.  Sometimes opinions are changed and sometimes they’re strengthened; but what’s just as important as becoming better informed on these topics is learning how to disagree with peers in a way that is respectful, mature, and constructive.  This is a skill that will take them far in any field.

    In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

    I believe the single most important thing I impart to my students is teaching them to be informed consumers.  My class addresses how to interpret nutrition research, making wise choices in the grocery store, restaurants, and safety in over-the-counter supplements.  I won’t always be there to answer their questions, so my most important job is teaching them how to find the answers themselves.    

    The most critical advice I can offer a student embarking on a creative career is to take care of yourself.  Care for your body and your health.  Your body enables you to pursue your dreams, and your health will directly impact your daily life.  You only get one body.  Take care of it.

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  • Vanessa Langton Portrait

    Vanessa Langton

    "Work hard and always give your best—your work is a direct representation of yourself and your abilities!"

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    Vanessa Langton
    What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    As a kid I made drawings regularly. When fellow students and teachers began to recognize my potential, I thought maybe there was something to art and creative expression. My mother nurtured my interests in art by taking me to museums regularly to look at the works of great artists and she bought me art supplies to practice. I knew very young that I could not live without art and art history in my life.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

    Prior to teaching art history I worked as a graphic designer and I know what it is like to be an ambitious art student trying to prep a portfolio to hunt for a job. As an art historian, I also know how important it is to be able to describe your artwork through written and spoken words. Through art history, students learn not only about different eras in art, but they also learn how to talk about art. These skills can be applied to any area of study—graphic design, the culinary arts, game art design, photography, etc.

    Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    At the end of each quarter, my students are required to give an oral presentation. Not only does the student have to research a specific artist or art era, but they have to put together a slide show, a script, and present this to a room of their peers. This pushes the student towards a goal as they are faced with a deadline.

    What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

    Perhaps when students are assigned to work together they end up discussing their chosen areas of studies through a critical point of view and look beyond the surface to acquire meaning. They could question the who, what, and why using methods of formal analysis to all areas of the creative spectrum.

    In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

    Work hard and always give your best—your work is a direct representation of yourself and your abilities!

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