How a School of Interior Architecture and Design Can Benefit Professional Designers

A career in architecture is a long-term commitment. As such, it is essential to choose the right program for you. Interior Architecture is a niche course with precise coursework that enables students to become subject matter experts. It combines a micro-to-macro study of the design envelope with an intuitive take on designing and interpreting human-centric spaces.

Design Process

Like architects, interior designers work with clients to create the perfect space. They are responsible for the design, layout, and planning of a room or building, including structural components and aesthetically-appealing lighting, color, and texture. They also often take on the role of project manager and liaise with surveyors, contractors, vendors, and other experts. Many professional designers skip the planning step because it could be more exciting, leading to frustration later in the design process. Planning the design thoroughly is essential to ensure all aspects are considered. Unlike architecture coursework, interior design courses provide a streamlined macro-to-micro approach to the building envelope and structure for creating design interpretations that are functional and aesthetic. These niche-based services are highly in demand as the trend of urbanization leads to compact room sizes and creates the need for intelligent and intuitive design solutions.


An essential skill for professional designers is determining what a client wants within the limits of a budget. Many schools offer courses in the nuances of budgeting for interior design projects. The process involves developing estimates and planning project schedules, including materials, labor, and equipment expenses. It also includes the development of a comprehensive portfolio of work and marketing materials.

Students in the school of interior architecture and design, like Academy of Art University often take classes that teach them how to work with various external software programs. The coursework can help a student learn about different specialization options and get a broader perspective on the industry. It’s worth remembering that fully-qualified architects need seven years of training and pass an exam before using the word ‘architect’ on their business cards. As such, they often earn more money than interior designers who have only completed undergraduate degrees – and even those who still need to earn their licenses. This may be unfair, but it is an aspect of the profession that is unlikely to change anytime soon.

Space Planning

Students learn to utilize various techniques in two-dimensional media to document and reimagine interior spaces. They also explore the mechanics of visual representation through plans, sections, and elevations.

Space planning is more than just figuring out how to arrange furniture or choosing the best paint style for a room. It also involves addressing practical concerns, like ensuring an area is accessible and can be used for its intended purpose. This is especially important for public spaces like libraries or student unions, where people may travel unpredictably. It’s also essential for private spaces where a room might have multiple purposes. For instance, a music room could need to accommodate storage, seating, and instruments while providing a space for practicing musical skills. If the room’s design is appropriately planned, it may become easier to meet all these needs effectively. This is why it’s essential to think about the overall plan and how different elements will interact from the start of a project.


The visualization process involves creating a picture of your goal in your mind. This helps you believe that you can achieve it. It also activates your reticular activating system (RAS)–a bundle of neurons that filters information, letting in only what’s important to you. To become an interior designer, you must have a creative eye and a sense of how people use spaces. Additionally, you must be able to work well with clients and contractors. These skills will allow you to bring your designs from concept to reality. While some argue that there is a clear line between interior architecture and interior design, the truth is that these two fields have overlapping responsibilities. An architect is more aligned with the structural fabric of a building, while an interior designer focuses on the aesthetics and furniture in a space. Both of these areas are crucial to creating functional and beautiful buildings.

Construction Management

In addition to fostering design creativity, an interior architecture degree provides students with a solid foundation in the industry. This translates into career advancement opportunities and a higher early-career salary baseline, especially for those with a master’s degree. An interior design program should nurture artistic interests while equipping students with the latest tools practicing designers employ, from drafting and modeling software to construction documents. Students in a certificate program should learn the basics of two- and three-dimensional drawing, hand drafting, furniture arrangement, client psychology, and basic CAD techniques. In a four-year bachelor’s degree program, students should study more in-depth topics like building structures and systems for adaptive reuse. They’ll be able to apply these skills during their studies, co-op assignments, and real projects at the end of their degree. Students who earn a bachelor’s degree can go on to work in various settings, including interior design firms, architectural offices, and furniture makers. They’ll be free to specialize by working with a wide range of clients and their unique preferences.