Best Interior Design Schools to Launch Your Career

Far more than just knowing how to pick the right sofa, interior design has evolved into an art and science that encompasses technology as well as design. Successful designers need to know all the traditional concepts underlying great interiors, but also the latest tools and technological innovations. For a well-grounded education, take a look at these top interior design schools across the globe.

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Europe

Florence Design Academy —  Florence, Italy

Situated in the center of Florence — home to countless Italian art and architecture masterpieces — Is the Florence Design Academy. Because the professional pedigree and connections of faculty are key in the value of a design degree, this program is consistently ranked among the top interior design schools globally. Most of the academy’s instructors work for top design organizations and brands in Italy and across Europe. In addition to interior design, the school offers programs in graphic, industrial design and fashion design.The Florence Design Academy may be located in a renowned historical city, but the education it provides is cutting edge, incorporating the latest technological tools and innovations in its education of design students.

Designing stylish interiors is a basic skill student must learn.View in gallery
Designing stylish interiors is a basic skill student must learn.

Istituto d’Arte Applicata e Design —  Torino, Italy

Focusing on the applied arts, the Istituto d’Arte Applicata e Design (IAAD) offers masters degrees and three-year degrees in interior design. The advanced degree option focuses on interior architecture for business environments. IAAD is one of the leading interior design schools that treats design as “a system capable of linking production with end users dealing with research and innovation to provide social value, cultural significance to goods and services.” Its teaching faculty are also deeply connected with design organizations and brands, and the school has a variety of industrial partnerships that enhance student education.

Italian design has always been at the forefront of innovative style.View in gallery
Italian design has always been at the forefront of innovative style.

Creapole Ecole de Creation Management — Paris

It goes without saying that Paris is one of the style capitals of the world and the Crèapole Ecole de Creation Management location in the heart of the city is a definite plus. This applied arts school offers programs in interior design, fashion, visual communication, product design, transportation design, art design and animation. The four-year design program gives students the essential knowledge they need and a mastery of technology that will help them succeed in today’s world of interior design. In addition to a variety of partnerships with companies, the faculty are also well connected in the design field — a critical factor in real-world education.

Quintessential Parisian design is just one decor style.View in gallery
Quintessential Parisian design is just one decor style.

United Kingdom

The Interior Design School — London

Unlike many of the other top interior design schools, the Interior Design School of London focuses on freehand design throughout most of the program until the final segments. All the courses at the London-based school are designed to mimic a real-life design studio, which can better prepare students for today’s interior design work environment. The curriculum is periodically updated to reflect the advancements and the requirements of the interior design industry.

Some students use design skills for a career in retail and merchandising.View in gallery
Some students use design skills for a career in retail and merchandising.

Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts — London

Another of the top interior design schools found in London is the Chelsea College of Arts, which is part of the University of the Arts. The college has an international reputation as a premier art and design program. The three-year interior design program gives students the skills they need for creating, designing and visualizing all kinds spaces. All aspects of the field —  practical, theoretical and professional — are taught and help students learn to manage today’s complex spaces. The school is also known as a welcoming environment for  experimentation, ideas and new concepts.

New technology and art can be melded into cutting edge designs.View in gallery
New technology and art can be melded into cutting edge designs.

Dublin Institute of Design

Found on just about every list of top interior design schools, the Dublin Institute of Design offers full-time and part-time courses in interior design and other design disciplines. The Institute’s 3-year Bachelors of Arts in Interior Design program, launched in 1991, has helped solidify its strong reputation in the interior design  education market. The accredited school requires students to study technological programs in order to keep up with the rapid changes in the interior design field.

A well composed design is essential for any living space.View in gallery
A well composed design is essential for any living space.

Australia

University of Technology — Sydney

The University of Technology (UTS) 3- year program focuses on interior and spatial design. Actually, the university  has three schools, spanning the full range of disciplines, from architecture, design, construction and property to planning.  Teaching studios are set up to mirror the real-world work environment and make full use of analogue and digital tools necessary for successfully practicing interior design. One of Australia’s leading technology universities, UTS students study with top professionals and respected international academics. The program works to develop each individual’s creative potential as a designer, thinkers and innovators in the  industry.

Public and work spaces are important design projects.View in gallery
Public and work spaces are important design projects.

India

Sir J J School of Arts — Mumbai

The Sir JJ School of Arts, founded in 1857, is considered a pioneering institutes of fine art education in India. competition is stiff for its 60 seats. The school offers a BFA in Interior Decoration, which includes both theoretical and practical coursework, as well as a work project.

Luxury designs require an in-depth knowledge of colors and materials.View in gallery
Luxury designs require an in-depth knowledge of colors and materials.

Canada

The Visual College of Art and Design, Vancouver

Leading the list of Canada’s top interior design schools, the Visual College of Art and Design (VCAD) offers a 6-term program that educates students how to create attractive and practical spaces, including residential, commercial, industrial and public designs. VCAD’s program gives students a skill set that encompasses design principles, color theory, space planning, drafting and industry-standard software.  The program highlights practical experience, aiming to prepare students tube effective design team members right from the start.

Canadian design talent was on display at IDS Toronto 2017.View in gallery
Canadian design talent was on display at IDS Toronto 2017.

United States

Rhode Island School of Design — Providence

At the head of every list of top interior design schools is the Rhode Island School of Design, the country’s first art and design school, founded in RI in 1877.  The school offer bachelors as well as post graduate programs in disciplines such as interior architecture and furniture design. The Interior Studies bachelor degree program is divided into three specializations called pathways:  theater, exhibition design or retail design. Faculty in the program strive to provide hands-on experiences to learn about practices in the construction industry and beyond.

RISD students displayed a variety of designs, like the lounge chair, at ICFF 2017.View in gallery
RISD students displayed a variety of designs, like the lounge chair, at ICFF 2017.

Pratt Institute — Brooklyn

No list of top interior design programs is complete without the Pratt Institute. The school offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design. Students in both programs can focus on the commercial or residential arenas. Courses vary and include everything from 3-D design and architectural drawing to light and color. In 2016, DesignIntelligence ranked Pratt’s bachelor degree program third in the nation, and the graduate program second.

Pratt students learn to create objects important in form and function, like this vessel.View in gallery
Pratt students learn to create objects important in form and function, like this vessel.

Savannah College of Art and Design — Savannah, Georgia

Among the innovative top interior design programs is the one offered by the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). This institution, located in Georgia, offers a B.F.A, an M.A., and an M.F.A. in interior design. The school covers the full range of design disciplines, allowing students to pursue dual majors and with related programs such as architecture, furniture design, and service design. The school also has a campus in Hong Kong.

This table was one of the SCAD student designs at ICFF 2017.View in gallery
This table was one of the SCAD student designs at ICFF 2017.

University of Cincinnati — Ohio

At the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), students enroll in a 5-year bachelor degree program in interior design. One of the top interior design schools in the U.S., I.D. (International Design) magazine, listed the University of Cincinnati among the globe’s Top 10 design schools, and the only public institution to make that list. In addition to helping students learn vital skills in design technology, critical thinking, and visual communication, the college offers plenty of co-op opportunities for interior designers, and features a hands-on capstone project.

Increasingly, design students work designing pleasing public and work spaces.View in gallery
Increasingly, design students work designing pleasing public and work spaces.

New York School of Interior Design — New York

The New York School of Interior Design in New York, NY is a small school of 538 students.  It offers three academic programs in interior design: a Basic Interior Design certificate program (BID), an Associate in Applied Science in Interior Design, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design. Courses can be taken on line and in person, as well as on a full-time and part-time basis. Coursework includes a comprehensive introduction to interior design. Graduate programs include a professional and post-professional Master of Fine Arts, Master of Professional Studies in Sustainable Interior Environments, Interior Lighting Design, or Healthcare Interior Design.

Students who go into consulting can work with clients who have modest as well as luxe budgets.View in gallery
Students who go into consulting can work with clients who have modest as well as luxe budgets.

The New School’s Parsons School of Design, New York

The New School’s Parsons School of Design offers a B.F.A. in Interior Design, a B.F.A. in Design and Technology, a B.S. in Urban Design, and an M.F.A. in Interior Design. The school’s location in New York City gives students access to the New York City’s expansive art and design industry. The interior design major is research-based and prepares its graduates for a wealth of careers from consulting and historic preservation, to lighting design, exhibitions, and more.

Furniture design is a popular focus for students some schools.View in gallery
Furniture design is a popular focus for students some schools.

Cranbrook Academy of Art — Bloomfield, Michigan

Widely known as the breeding ground for iconic designers such as Eero Saarinen, Charles Eames, Daniel Libeskind and Harry Bertoia, the Cranbrook Academy of Art stands uniquely among the top interior design schools. The program does not have predetermined curricula, required classes, or prerequisites. It is a “graduate-only program designed specifically to support individual exploration and mentoring.” The institution’s ten artists-in-residence determine how their programs are run and they work with students on an individual basis to determine their course of study. The work is focused on the studio-based practice of making, regular critique, and opportunities for to observe and work with leading practitioners in their own studios.

Iconic chairs like this Saarinen piece are synonymous with the Cranbrook Academy.View in gallery
Iconic chairs like this Saarinen piece are synonymous with the Cranbrook Academy.