These Are The Best Interior Design Schools In The Country


If you want to make a living as an interior designer, then you should consider attending an interior design school. Although you don’t need to have an interior design degree in order to succeed in the industry, getting a formal education can never hurt. Your courses will teach you invaluable lessons about your craft. You will learn about the aesthetic, technical, and business sides of the industry. You will also receive the opportunity to talk one-on-one with your teachers, people who are experienced in the field, instead of teaching yourself.

Although there are success stories from interior designers who didn’t receive a formal education, like Chip and Joanna Gaines, most design firms require at least a bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible for employment. If you choose to pursue a degree, you should select a program based on which one you believe will bring you the most professional growth.

Here are a few interior design schools that you should consider looking deeper into if you’re serious about turning this passion into a career:

What colleges have the best interior design programs?

Syracuse University

Syracuse University has an excellent interior design program for students who want to focus on design but also want a standard liberal arts experience. This university places an emphasis on self-discovery in visual art, design, risk-taking, and critical thought – skills that are key in pursuing a successful career in interior design or interior architecture.

Cornell University

This is the only Ivy League school that offers an interior design program, which means it’s difficult to get accepted into and has a rigorous curriculum. However, if you end up apart of this program, you will learn crucial lessons about project management, design strategy, and wellbeing. You will also have hands-on experience in research and innovation.

Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)

This university is famous for its bachelor degree programs in design, art, and fashion. It’s perfect for anyone interested in a curriculum that combines the academic study of the history of interior design and hands-on projects. It will give you a chance to learn about your field and to gain personal experience in your field, which will be helpful in the long run when or if you’re applying to work at a design firm.

Parsons The New School for Design

This university is best for students who are interested in pursuing commercial design. It is a collaborative heavy program where you will work with others in different degree programs. This is meant to prepare you for a future in interior design where you will need excellent communication skills in order to fulfill the needs of clients. 

The University of Cincinnati in Ohio

This university offers an elaborate five-year program where you will learn how to resolve problems and think critically. You will also learn about the physical, psychological, and social needs of clients. In addition to your time spent inside the classroom, this program will provide you with hands-on experience in order to give you a chance to use cutting-edge technologies in the field.

New York School of Interior Design

The design program at this college will teach you how to think analytically, how to create beautiful interior environments, and how to communicate verbally as well as graphically. Due to the strong professional network available to students, over ninety percent of graduates have found employment in the field within six months of completing their studies.

Rhode Island School of Design

If you’re interested in a specific type of interior design, this program might be best suited for you because it allows you to specialize in a ‘pathway’. It gives you the option to choose between pursuing a career in interior design for the theater, for exhibition design, or for retail design. That way, you will learn the specific skills needed for your area of interest. 

Pratt Institute

This university offers an architecturally oriented program that teaches spatial design and surface embellishment. It will educate you about scale, proportion, configuration, light sources, textures, materials, and color in order to help you create spaces with a positive impact on the human spirit.

Is math part of the curriculum for interior design programs? 

Yes, it absolutely is. You need more than a good, creative eye in order to succeed as an interior designer. You also need to be proficient with mathematics and have building code specifications memorized. In order to meet safety standards, you should know how to make buildings accessible to people with disabilities, how many electrical outlets are needed for X amount of surface area, and how big the width, height, and length of each type of room should be, at minimum.

As an interior designer, you also need to be able to stick to a budget, set accurate fees for your services, and predict the number of hours you’re going to be spending on a job in order to write estimates for clients. Before you start making purchases, you have to figure out exactly what you are going to buy in order to make sure you have enough funds to cover the whole project. You cannot spend too much money on certain fixtures and forget to purchase other fixtures, leaving the room incomplete. You need to be careful with the amount of money you spend, so you don’t end up overcharging your clients or losing out on money yourself.

In order to succeed in an interior design career, it’s also important for you to know what size furniture suits the space you’re decorating. You cannot afford to measure wrong and purchase products in the incorrect sizes. If the measurement of a couch or table is wrong, it can make a room appear overly crowded. If the measurement of a stove or fridge is wrong, it can make the room completely nonfunctional. You need to measure the ceiling, floors, and walls correctly, and then buy furniture accordingly.

When you’re working as an interior designer, your calculations matter. You’re going to be working closely with architects, electricians, and builders. In order to help them do their jobs properly, you have to be able to read blueprints and make drawings with exact specifications for countertops, outlets, doors, and windows. Otherwise, your project is going to fall apart fast.

Which schools should I think about for interior design?

If you’re planning on going to school for interior design, there are certain factors you should take into consideration. If you don’t have enough funds for a high-priced university, then you need to look at universities with a low net price. If you don’t have high test scores, then you need to find a program that is flexible about SAT scores. You know your own situation better than anyone else, which is why it’s up to you to figure out what interior design schools will work best for you.

The best schools to attend based on acceptance rates:

You should make sure you get your higher education from a school that values you. If you want to attend an exclusive school that’s difficult to get accepted into, here are a few of your options:

  • California State University (28% acceptance rate)
  • Rhode Island School of Design (32% acceptance rate)
  • University of Texas (36% acceptance rate)
  • Baylor University (39% acceptance rate)
  • Fashion Institute of Technology (39% acceptance rate)
  • Mississippi College (39% acceptance rate)
  • Western Carolina University (39% acceptance rate)

The best schools to attend based on net prices:

You shouldn’t have to spend a fortune in order to receive an education. If you don’t have the money for an expensive college program, here are a few schools that are more affordable but will still help you earn your interior design degree:

  • Oakland Community College ($3,424 net price)
  • Indian River State College ($1,064 net price)
  • Chattahoochee Technical College ($3,115 net price)
  • Palm Beach State College ($3,813 net price)
  • Henry Ford College ($3,469 net price)
  • J F Ingram State Technical College ($3,840 net price)
  • Lanier Technical College ($4,325 net price)

The best schools to attend based on SAT averages:

It’s okay if you don’t have the highest SAT scores. It doesn’t mean you aren’t going to be successful. It doesn’t mean you aren’t going to get accepted into any colleges. Here are a few universities that accept students within a reasonable SAT range:

  • Mount Mary University (663-878 SAT range)
  • University of Charleston (860-1030 SAT range)
  • University of Bridgeport (860-1050 SAT range)
  • Cazenovia College (843-1090 SAT range)
  • Kean University (880-1070 SAT range)
  • Brenau University (880-1100 SAT range)
  • Concordia University (898-1156 SAT range)

The best schools to attend based on overall grades:

These ‘grades’ take multiple factors into consideration – academics, professors, diversity, student life, and safety. Overall, these schools are your best choices if you’re planning on earning your interior design degree:

  • University of Texas (A+)
  • Virginia Tech (A+)
  • University of Florida (A+)
  • University of Wisconsin (A+)
  • Purdue University (A+)
  • University of Minnesota (A+)
  • The Ohio State University (A+)

What will an interior design course entail?

As an interior design student, no matter which school you attend, there are certain classes that you’ll have to master, depending on your art and design interest. For example, if you want to learn about sustainable design, Syracuse offers an Environmental & Interior Design program with courses in Art History and Digital Tools and through experience in a design studio. Or, if you’re more into interior design and architecture, Cornell University offers undergraduate and graduate interior architecture programs where you will learn about architectural interior through history and drawing courses. No matter what your design interest is, you will learn about design theory and the design process that goes behind this career path.

Can I be a part of an interior design degree program online?

Yes! It is possible to get an online interior design degree, whether if you’re aiming for a bachelor’s degree, associate degree or master’s degree in a graduate program. Some art schools, like Savannah College of Art and Design or the University of Florida offer online courses for those who want to be an interior or architectural designer. You could easily obtain an interior design certificate or degree through one of these schools and an online design program. There are plenty of schools out there that offer programs online so that you are still able to earn your degree.

If you want to pursue a career as an interior designer, you need more than a creative eye. In every interior design class, you need to be proficient in mathematics, good at communicating with clients, and savvy about the business end of things. That’s why getting a degree in interior design from a design school, like one of the ones listed above, might be your best way of achieving your dreams.