Interior designers help transform the inside of homes, retail spaces, restaurants, medical offices and other venues into highly functional, attractive places that create the mood and atmosphere their clients require. Some interior designers provide full-scale design services -- assessing sites, developing detailed plans for layout and decor, managing budgets and working with contractors to see the project through to completion. Others specialize in space planning, kitchen and bath design, lighting, sales or marketing and business management. Still others focus on specific types of spaces, such as medical facilities, or exhibits and museum design.
After completing foundational art history and studio art classes, including drawing and two- and three-dimensional design, students become immersed in interior design inside and outside the classroom. Interior design principles, common challenges and best practices are explored in courses centered on residential and commercial design, lighting, space planning, kitchens and baths, and computer-aided drafting and design technique. An optional travel course enables students to study art, design and architecture abroad. Students apply what they have learned during an internship with a professional interior designer and a senior capstone project. Accomplished, professional faculty offer personalized attention in small studio and lecture courses that average 14 and 28 students, respectively. Students use the program’s lighting studio, sample/resource room, seminar meeting lounge, a computer/plotter workroom, and two dedicated interior design working studios.
A growing population and higher personal income has created numerous career opportunities in the field in residential and commercial design. Interior designers often work as part of a design firm or as a staff designer for government agencies or businesses such as furniture stores, office dealerships, architectural firms, manufacturers, and builders. Employment opportunities include work with residences, offices, restaurants and hotels, healthcare settings, financial institutions, educational buildings, criminal justice facilities, stores, religious sanctuaries, exhibits and museums, trains, ships, airliners and recreational vehicles. All of WCU’s program graduates from May 2014 were employed within eight months, and 90 percent landed jobs in the field of interior design. Students’ acceptance rate to graduate school was 100 percent. Over 40% of past interior design students have been offered permanent employment before graduation from their internship employers.