Interior Design Schools in Kentucky

Top Interior Design Schools in Kentucky: Best Programs & Courses

Looking for top interior design schools in Kentucky? This article will guide you through the best programs the state has to offer. Whether you’re aiming for a comprehensive undergraduate experience or advanced studies, find out which Kentucky schools can help you achieve your interior design career goals.

Search Certified Residential Interior Designer Programs

Get information on Certified Residential Interior Designer programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Listings
  • The University of Kentucky College of Design’s interior design program emphasizes hands-on learning and offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees, aiming to develop critical thinkers who challenge and reimagine the built environment.
  • Western Kentucky University’s interior design program integrates practical skills with theoretical knowledge, providing students with modern facilities, real-world design challenges, and preparing them for the NCIDQ exam.
  • The Hite Institute of Art and Design at the University of Louisville offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design, with a focus on rigorous conceptual development and professional readiness, supported by mentorship and student work showcases.

The School of Interiors at the University of Kentucky is a thriving community of design researchers, theorists, historians, and practitioners. This dynamic community nurtures students to become the next generation of design innovators, with a curriculum that promotes design excellence by developing critical thinkers who challenge and reimagine the built environment.

This program goes beyond the traditional, encouraging students to engage with emerging issues in the field through hands-on learning experiences. Students are given a wide array of opportunities to apply their learning in real-world contexts, including:

  • Internships
  • Design-build activities
  • Speculative community-based projects
  • Faculty-led research trips both within the United States and overseas

These experiences allow students to gain practical skills and make meaningful contributions to their field.

University of Kentucky College of Design

The University of Kentucky College of Design offers an interior design program leading that explores the dynamic field of architectural interiors. This program nurtures the next generation of design innovators, with faculty participating in research, teaching, and professional practices that bridge multiple disciplines like environmental design, architecture, and preservation. Partnering with leading architecture firms, students gain valuable insights and experience in the industry.

The curriculum is designed to develop critical thinkers who challenge and reimagine the built environment. It emphasizes promoting design excellence through an awareness of social, cognitive, and performative potentials of spatial design.

The key components of the curriculum include:

  • Hands-on learning
  • Internships
  • Design-build activities
  • Speculative community-based projects

These components enable students to engage with emerging issues in the field.

Degrees Offered

The University of Kentucky’s School of Interiors provides a comprehensive four-year undergraduate program. This program leads to a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interiors: Planning/Strategy/Design..

For those seeking to delve deeper into the field of interior decorating, they also offer a graduate program leading to a Master of Arts in Interiors: Planning/Strategy/Design, which can help you become a skilled interior designer and understand how interior designers work in various interior environments, including interior space.

Directed Electives

The elective courses at the University of Kentucky allow students to:

  • Gain specialized knowledge in subjects of interest
  • Supplement their degree program
  • Pursue an academic minor or a certificate program offered at the University
  • Tailor their education to their personal interests and career goals.

Western Kentucky University Interior Design Program

Western Kentucky University offers an interior design program that integrates practical skills with theoretical knowledge. The program places a strong emphasis on hands-on learning experiences, including studio work and internships, preparing students for the realities they’ll encounter in their future careers.

Students at Western Kentucky University have access to modern facilities and resources such as design studios and computer labs equipped with industry-standard software. The program also includes concentrations in Interior Design and Fashion Merchandising, enabling students to specialize in their areas of interest.

Program Coursework

Core courses in the Western Kentucky University interior design program include:

These courses equip students with the foundational knowledge needed to excel in the field of interior design. Additionally, students will learn about materials and finishes, furniture design, and computer-aided design (CAD), further enriching their design skills and understanding of interior construction.

Specialized knowledge areas covered in the program include Sustainable Design, Lighting Design, and Building Systems, preparing students to tackle a diverse range of design challenges. The curriculum also includes collaborative projects that simulate real-world design challenges, providing students with valuable practical experience.

NCIDQ Exam Eligibility

The Western Kentucky University interior design program prepares students for the NCIDQ exam, also known as the interior design qualification examination, a recognized standard for professional interior designers, through comprehensive coursework and practical experience. Graduates will have the skills to design interior spaces that meet functional and aesthetic needs, preparing them for successful careers in the industry.

Hite Institute of Art and Design at the University of Louisville

The Hite Institute of Art and Design at the University of Louisville offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree with a track in Interior Design. This track has received interior design accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), ensuring a high standard of education for its students.

The BFA Interior Design track at the Hite Institute emphasizes a rigorous conceptual development focus. This program is designed to provide professional orientation and prepare students for leadership roles in the field of interior design.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the BFA program at the Hite Institute of Art and Design requires prospective students to:

  1. First be accepted into the BA program in Studio Art.
  2. Complete specific foundation courses like DES 204 Foundation Interior Design and DES 361 Introduction to Interior Design.
  3. Present a portfolio of work demonstrating technical and conceptual competency.
  4. Have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

BFA Candidacy and Completion

Maintaining candidacy for the BFA involves completing foundational courses and achieving the requisite GPAs. Students need a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 and a departmental GPA of 3.0 to qualify for the BFA in Interior Design. To remain in good standing and continue in the program, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0.

An integral part of the BFA Interior Design program is mentorship, offering guidance and support to students throughout their educational journey. To successfully complete the program, students are required to present a thesis exhibition, write a thesis, and pass a final oral exam.

Student Work Showcase

Student work is showcased in multiple galleries both on campus and in downtown Louisville, offering the public a glimpse into the innovative designs created by students. The Hite Institute also frequently updates its online gallery to showcase current student work and design projects.

Completion of the BFA requires the submission of work for the department’s Learning Outcomes Measurement, ensuring that graduates possess the skills and knowledge required in the industry.

Career Opportunities for Interior Designers in Kentucky

Graduates of interior design programs in Kentucky can explore a wide range of career paths within various fields of interior design. The skills and knowledge gained through these comprehensive programs open doors to potential career options in:

  • Environmental design
  • Adaptive reuse
  • Healthcare design
  • Furniture design
  • Exhibition design

Additionally, graduates will explore the opportunities and challenges specifically within residential design. This area of specialization offers a plethora of opportunities, catering to a variety of design styles and client needs.

Professional Organizations and Resources

There are several professional interior design organizations that offer resources, networking opportunities, and support for interior design students and professionals. Some of these organizations include:

  • The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)
  • The American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • The Interior Design Society (IDS)
  • The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)

These organizations provide their members with a wide array of benefits, including networking events, education opportunities, and industry-standard certifications.

Other noteworthy organizations include the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and the International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA), which provide members with resources like trade magazine subscriptions, tuition reimbursement, business-related discounts, and supplemental insurance. These organizations serve to strengthen the interior design community, fostering professional growth and development within the interior design industry.

Preparing for Advanced Study

For those interested in furthering their education, the Savannah College of Art and Design offers advanced study opportunities in interior design, including BFA, MA, and MFA programs. Their Post-Professional Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design is a two-year terminal degree program aimed at providing advanced creative and academic scholarship for professionals in interior design, architecture, and related fields.

This advanced MFA program requires full-time study and includes components like core design studio sequences, specialty studios, lectures/seminars, and electives. The thesis, a culminating project in the MFA program, involves directed research followed by a studio project, demonstrating originality, research, and design skills.