As a student in the Interior Design program, you’ll learn how to use creative problem solving and design thinking to explore the functionality, aesthetic appeal, sustainability, and user experience of interior environments. Through collaborative and individual learning experiences that emphasize place-making and human-centered design, you’ll be immersed in a studio culture that addresses both local and global design challenges through a diverse range of project typologies, including residential, workplace, education, healthcare, and hospitality. At the same time, your explorations will expand your knowledge of design, drawing, color, digital and hand rendering, drafting, and industry software.
You’ll also round your education out with a wide range of general education and art history courses that will stimulate your curiosity, broaden your perspective, and inspire new creative expressions. KCAD’s flexible General Education Pathways model empowers you to direct your learning by exploring subjects you find most engaging and relevant.
You’ll graduate from the Interior Design program primed to identify and implement innovative and creative human-centered design solutions that not only meet clients’ needs but contribute to the advancement of the profession. You’ll build a diverse skill set that blends design fundamentals, critical thinking, analytical reasoning, creative problem solving, industry standard software proficiency, and clear visual and verbal communication skills. By expanding your understanding of the ethical and environmental implications of design, you’ll be able to look at the big picture and develop innovative solutions that respond to the social, physical, and psychological impacts of interior spaces.
KCAD’s Interior Design program has been continuously accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA - formerly FIDER) since 1974 and has a consistently high professional placement record among its alumni (80% of 2016 graduates were employed in the field by the time they received their degree). That means you’ll benefit from a rich history of accreditation and accomplishment that serves as a framework for the comprehensive curriculum offered in the program today.
What’s more, KCAD’s location in the heart of the contract furniture industry has fostered strong industry relationships that enable opportunities for design and research professionals to share their knowledge and experience with you. In addition to your course work, you’ll gain knowledge of the profession through field trips, internships, and other educational experiences involving interior design and architecture firms as well as furniture companies.
As a graduate of the Interior Design program, your versatile skill set will prepare you for a variety of careers working in commercial or residential interior design, retail design, hospitality or healthcare design, education design, contract furniture design, or kitchen and bath design, to name a few. You’ll also be ready to develop a professional specialty in your own practice such as textile design, lighting design, or historical preservation. In addition, the increasing need for universal, sustainable, and evidenced-based design will ensure that you’ll have plenty of new avenues and opportunities available to you.
You’ll emerge from the program well positioned for professional success. As a student, you’ll be eligible to take the Interior Design Fundamental Exam (IDFX), the first part of the three-section NCIDQ exam that’s recognized in the United States as the qualifying exam for the interior design profession, which means that you’ll already be well on your way to becoming a certified interior designer before you even graduate.
As a student in the Interior Design Program, you’ll benefit from a strong and well established relationship and commitment to the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). You’ll be encouraged to be actively involved with the KCAD IIDA student chapter, taking advantage of competitions, scholarships, and networking opportunities that are regularly integrated into the program curriculum. Both the KCAD Green Council student organization and local nonprofit West Michigan Sustainable Business forum also offer a number of ways to broaden your understanding of sustainability by participating in initiatives on and off of campus.
When it comes to hands-on interaction, you’ll have at your fingertips both KCAD’s Material ConneXion Library, which offers direct access to more than 1,000 physical samples of advanced, innovative, and sustainable materials as well as online access to over 7,000 more, and the Interior Design resource room, containing more than 1,500 reference and material samples from industry leading manufacturers. There’s also The Dow Center FlexLab, KCAD’s state-of-the-art digital fabrication facility featuring 3D printers and scanners, laser cutting and vinyl cutting machines, wide format printers, and more; and the KCAD Library, which provides access to millions of books through the MeLCat shared library catalog as well as access to specialized research databases and subscriptions to scholarly journals. You’ll also benefit from access to industry interactions, guest speakers, design forums, and other events hosted by Design West Michigan, a KCAD organization that explores and advocates for design as an economic building block in the region.
Freehand drawing using basic perspective principles and quick sketch techniques.
Advanced freehand drawing and sketching with the addition of color media.
An introduction to the computer as a design tool using the industry standards in page layout and digital illustration, and photo manipulation software, the Adobe Creative Suite. File transport (PDF) and font management software will also be introduced.
A problem-solving course covering the principles of composition and modular design systems. Uses predominately abstract shapes and black, white, and achromatic gray ranges.(Students who have earned credit for VISC 110, Design I, may not use credit earned in KCPA 110 to meet graduation requirements.)
To explore the elements, principles and aesthetic concepts integral to three-dimensional design and to consider relationships between concept, process, materials, tools and technical skills. (Students who have earned credit for ARTS 120, 3-D Design, may not use credit earned in KCSF 11 to meet graduation requirements.)
The process of drawing as observation and conceptualization through eye-hand coordination. Emphasizes linear construction with concern for accurate proportion and simple positive-negative/figure-ground relationships. Includes an in-depth study of linear perspective. (Students who have earned FSU credit for VISC 112 Drawing I, may not use credit earned in KCDR 131 to meet graduation requirements.
Emphasis on development of convincing illusion of three-dimensional objects, through the combined use of line, value, proportion, and composition. This course focuses on the further refinement of the concepts, processes, and techniques introduced in Drawing I. Expanded exploration of perspective, composition, color investigation, media exploration, and idea development within traditional subject matter will be emphasized.
An introduction to basics of hand drafting. Introduces the tools and techniques of architectural drafting. Drafting skills are a communication tool to create and interpret architectural plans, elevations, and details.
This course is an introduction to the interior design process; interior products including finishes, furniture and equipment; and the concepts of universal and sustainable design The course includes knowledge of basic building construction, enhanced drafting skills, and advances the development of architectural drawing including millwork details.
This course applies the interior design process to plan aesthetic and functional spaces for residential and contract interiors. Students will be introduced to the aesthetic, psychological , and physiological implications of color theory.
This course is a continuation of the design process with projects focused on residential spaces, including multi-story structures. Basic building construction with an emphasis on drafting skills and architectural drawing are included.
This course focuses on problem solving for commercial design, the study of proportional relationships and adjacencies, planning with office furniture systems, and an introduction to commercial building codes and computer aided drafting.
This course examines the characteristics of building materials and interior finishes focusing on the appropriate application and sustainability of finish materials.
This course introduces methods for defining problems and developing design solutions for retail space interiors.
This course examines the characteristics of textiles within interior environments, focusing on the appropriate application, performance, and sustainability of textiles.
This course researches and analyzes the interior design marketplace and business practices.
This course addresses basic business structures and documentation methods with a focus on financial aspects of interior design.
This course emphasizes functional requirements and planning for hospitality settings through the development of both small and large scale projects.
This course addresses problem solving for mid-size office projects including the introduction of branded environments and the reinforcement of commercial building codes.
This course addresses advanced problem solving for more complex commercial projects that incorporate industry specific software. Students use proxemics, anthropometrics and ergonomics to focus on human-centered design. Students will consult with industry professionals on current trends and influences in workplace design.
In this course, students focus on conceptual problem solving for interactive multi-functional environments in emerging markets (e.g., healthcare, age-in-place, higher education, etc.). Solutions use evidence based design research and psychology of built environments to arrive at design solutions. Students will consult with industry professionals on current trends and influences in emerging markets.
In this course, students will identify and research needs for the built environment and provide creative conceptual design solutions for a variety of problems in a broad global context. Solutions will address ecological, socio-economic, and cultural contexts.
An overview of the Western Art tradition from prehistory through the Renaissance using a socio-cultural methodology in a chronological framework. (Students who have earned credit for ARTH 110, Prehistoric through Middle Ages, may not use credit earned in KCAH 111 to meet graduation requirements.)
A survey of Western art from the Baroque to the present, this course will continue building upon the foundation of Western Art I; Prehistoric through the Renaissance, using a socio-cultural methodology in a chronological framework. (Students who have earned credit for ARTH 111, Renaissance through 20th Century, may not use credit earned in KCAH 112 to meet graduation requirements.)
A continuation of the survey Design History from the eighteenth century to the present emphasizing developments in architecture, interiors, furniture, decorative, and fine arts.
This course focuses on using writing to develop ideas, hone critical thinking skills, and express ideas clearly and appropriately according to audience and purpose. Students write in a variety of modes and spend a portion of the semester engaging in scholarly research. Students also develop their public speaking skills.
This course provides a core understanding of effective storytelling. It examines the ways in which storytellers-both past and present-craft, organize, and convey ideas to successfully impact audiences, doing so through both inquiry into established narratives, as well as students' own experiments with narrative forms.
This course examines what it means to be a member of a particular society and how individuals both form and are formed by society. It will provide students with a better understanding of the social and cultural worlds they inhabit.
This course is an inquiry into the nature and power of philosophy to transform the way we experience the world around us and understand our place within it. Through a selection of readings representing various philosophical traditions and perspectives, critical discussion, and writing, students will examine some of the great questions that have intrigues philosophers from antiquity to present.
Download the catalog for the most recent course listings and prerequisites.
As a graduate of the Interior Design program, you’ll be prepared to plan the space and furnish the interiors of private homes, public buildings, business and institutional facilities, including offices, restaurants, retail establishments, hospitals, hotels and theaters.
You may work in an architectural or interior design firm, a retail furniture or lighting store, a furniture manufacturer, or a contract furniture dealership. You may design offices, retail spaces, hospitals, and restaurants.