The Interior Design Program at WCU provides students with broad exposure to all aspects of the practice of interior design. The program is grounded in research-based problem-solving in addition to a variety of cultural, environmental, and historical perspectives. The Interior Design program is accredited through the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD) and the Council of Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), recognizing the highest academic standards established by the profession.
We prepare students for career opportunities in a field that combines creativity, technology and business in a profession that relies on people skills, problem-solving capabilities, and financial awareness. The B.S. degree in interior design includes specialty courses in residential design, commercial design, and kitchen and bath design. It includes a senior capstone project and an internship experience during the summer between junior and senior year. Additionally, we offer students the exciting opportunity to travel for first-hand exposure to the art and architecture found abroad.
Prospective Interior Design students should submit a program application via Acceptd. Please refer to the Prospective Students information at https://www.wcu.edu/learn/departments-schools-colleges/fpa/artdesign/about-the-school-of-art-and-design/index.aspx
Most years, 90-100 percent of the students who graduate from the Interior Design Program find employment in the interior design field within six months of completing the program, and almost all of our students graduate in four years. Employment is available in both residential and/or commercial design markets in full-service design, space planning, decorating, sales, and/or marketing and business management. Both residential and commercial design offers opportunities with design firms as well as in-house designers for furniture stores, office dealerships, architectural firms, manufacturers and builders.
Job Placement: 95% of the students that graduated in May of 2020 were employed by January of 2021, with 95% employed within the interior design field.
Acceptance into Graduate Programs: One graduate from 2020 applied and has been accepted to a graduate program.
Graduation Rates: 95% of the students from the class of 2020 graduated in 4 years.
Retention/ Attrition: 96% of all interior design students enrolled during the spring 2020 semester returned in the fall 2020 semester, putting attrition at 4.3%.
IDES 356 Junior Studio II - Service Learning Projects. Presentations are linked below.
I am a proud 2020 graduate of WCU's Interior Design program, and I am now equally proud to work as a Junior Designer and Office Coordinator for Nistenhaus Design in St. Louis, Missouri. Our office offers interior design, architecture, general contracting, retail, and event planning. Our design projects range from residential to commercial, each project involving different sets of creative minds to meet absolute client satisfaction.
CBI Workplace Solutions, AIT (Associate in Training), Charlotte, NC
Kelsey graduated from Western in 2019. She accepted a job with CBI as a Design Project Manager through their AIT program here in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kelsey is currently working on commercial design projects throughout the country and has learned so much since accepting this position. Prior to this, she worked at Marsh Kitchen & Bath for 1.5 years as a project coordinator. Kelsey says “It has been interesting to see how versatile our roles as Designers can be.”
TSA, Salt Lake City, Utah
Deeply motivated by improving the human experience for people in all walks of life, Sara was drawn to healthcare as it allows her to beautify spaces that positively affect the lives of all who enter regardless of their backgrounds. Particularly familiar with women’s centers and clinics. Sara’s dedication to supporting our highly skilled clients with equally skilled and innovative design is supported by her pursuit of a Master’s degree in interior design and constant study of healthcare design resources.
Atriax Group, Hickory NC, Graduated 2021
I currently work as an Architectural/Interior Designer for a company called Atriax Group based in Hickory, NC. The services we offer are architectural, design and engineering services to medical centers, military and governmental facilities, and public and private sector locations around the world. I have only been here one week and loving every minute of it! I am currently traveling to Lexington, KY for field verification today till Friday!
Co-founder and Artistic Director for Trap Decór, Charlotte, NC; pictured here with wife and co-owner Steph Holmes, began conceptualizing Trap Decór, during our Junior year at Western Carolina University when we were living in less-than-ideal conditions. However, it was a pinnacle time and place to be in, as our space was furnished and decorated in a way that reflected this chapter in our life. Through this revelation, as an Interior Design student, I became enamored with the idea of luxury home design that spoke to young homeowners who, as the saying goes, "came from the bottom now we're here." So from there, I began sketching ideas like pillows, curtains, towels, chairs, etc. that evoked elegance, but with an edge. I knew that I wanted to create a business that goes beyond just visually interesting home decor - I wanted Trap Decór to be a brand of conversational yet functional art pieces. As the Artistic Director, my job is to develop collections that bring awareness to diverse and underrepresented narratives. I want Trap Decor to resonate with our clients on a personal and artistic level, as well as empower them to curate their own unapologetically authentic home.
Kaylen Hester will soon to be starting a role as AIT-Design Project Manager at CBI workplace Solutions, Charlotte NC. (Associate in training). I recently graduated from WCU in May of 2021. Directly after graduation I landed myself in a residential design role. During that short time, I decided that residential design was not the best fit, so I perused a job in commercial interiors. This led me to accepting a role at CBI as an AIT-Design project manager where I will eventually be handling commercial interiors projects.
WCU Interior Design Alumna of 2019
Clemson University - Master of Construction Science and Management 2021 Alumna
I currently work as a Senior Design Manager at Design South Builders in Cashiers, NC. We are a Design-Build firm that specializes in high-end residential homes. Before earning my master’s at Clemson, I earned my NC Real Estate License. I enjoy combining my passions for design, construction, and real estate knowledge in my current work. I look forward to continuing learning while I prepare to take my NCIDQ exam next April.
TITLE: Interior Designer
GRADUATION YEAR: 2014 BS Interior Design, 2023 BFA Architecture, 2025 M. Architecture.
The mission of the Interior Design Program at WCU is strengthen and broaden the intellectual and cultural horizons of our students by providing a supportive learning environment and encouraging a socially responsive approach to design.
The layout of each studio space emphasizes our belief in the importance of student-to-faculty ratio in the classroom. While lecture classes may average 28 students, the studios usually have 14 on the average. The Interior Design Program is housed in a 4,000-square-foot area in Belk Building and has wireless technology for accessing the Web and working with CAD software in the classroom.
To take advantage of the new design technologies available, PC laptop computers are required for the Interior Design Program. Mac computers will not be able to run the required software.