Interior Design Schools in Washington

Top Interior Design Schools in Washington: Your Guide to the Best Programs

Looking for the top interior design schools in Washington? This guide covers the leading programs, from bachelor’s to master’s degrees, and special features that make each school stand out. Learn about the best institutions for creativity, practical experience, and career preparation.

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  • Washington state offers a variety of highly regarded interior design programs, with leading institutions like the University of Washington-Seattle and Washington State University emphasizing research, practice, and hands-on learning.
  • University of Washington-Seattle provides comprehensive undergraduate and graduate interior design programs, focusing on integrating research, practice, and education across various design sectors.
  • Washington State University stands out for its practical, experiential approach to interior design education, offering extensive opportunities for travel, community engagement, and internships to prepare students for real-world scenarios.

Interior design is not merely about aesthetics. It is a fine balance between functionality and style, between understanding the human mind and manipulating physical space.

Several outstanding programs in Washington state are designed to equip future designers with the skills to strike this balance.

Leading Interior Design Programs in Washington

The Pacific Northwest, known for its lush landscapes and vibrant cities, is also home to some of the nation’s best interior design colleges. These institutions not only equip students with the necessary skills but also provide a stimulating environment that fosters creativity and innovation.

For example, the University of Washington-Seattle Campus stands out for its outstanding design studio programs that adopt an all-inclusive approach to interior design education. These programs emphasize research, practice, and education, providing students with a solid foundation in the field. Washington State University, another leading institution, offers an experiential interior design curriculum centered around design studios, allowing students to learn hands-on.

Other noteworthy interior design schools in Washington include:

  • Bellevue College
  • Clover Park Technical College
  • Spokane Falls Community College
  • Cornish College of the Arts

Each of these institutions offers unique programs that cater to different learning styles and career goals, ensuring that every aspiring interior designer finds a program that meets their needs.

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

The University of Washington-Seattle Campus is a large public university located in the heart of Seattle, a city known for its strong architectural and design culture. The university’s School of Art + Art History + Design offers a Bachelor of Design (BDes) degree, which includes majors in Industrial Design, Interaction Design, and Visual Communication Design.

In addition to the BDes degree, the university also offers a Masters of Design (MDes) degree for graduate-level students. This program is ideal for those who wish to delve deeper into the field of design or pursue a career in academia or research.

A distinguishing feature of the design programs at the University of Washington-Seattle Campus is their focus on the integration of research, practice, and education. This all-encompassing method guarantees comprehensive preparation for students to flourish in various design sectors, including:

  • Residential design
  • Commercial design
  • Urban design
  • Landscape design
  • Interior design

Whether students choose to work in a large city or small towns, they will be well-equipped to succeed in their chosen design field.

Washington State University

Washington State University (WSU), ranked #2 in the best interior design colleges in Washington, offers an accredited Bachelor of Arts degree in interior design. Renowned for its practical learning method, this program’s curriculum is experiential and anchored around design studios.

The design program integrates computer-aided design tools such as AutoCAD and Revit, along with an up-to-date materials resource library. This allows students to gain practical experience in using industry-standard tools while understanding the fundamentals of great design.

Apart from the comprehensive curriculum, what makes WSU’s interior design program stand out are the opportunities it provides for:

  • Travel
  • Community engagement
  • Job shadows
  • Internships

These experiences allow students to apply their classroom learning to real-world scenarios, preparing them for the professional world.

Graduates of WSU’s interior design program are trained to:

  • Analyze client needs
  • Formulate design concepts
  • Develop presentations
  • Prepare working drawings compliant with codes and accessibility guidelines

This thorough preparation has resulted in a consistently higher-than-average NCIDQ exam pass rate, furthering WSU’s reputation as a top institution for interior design.

Bellevue College

Bellevue College, a public institution located in the vibrant city of Seattle, offers a comprehensive bachelor’s degree in interior design. Ranked #4 among the best interior design colleges in Washington, Bellevue College is known for its rigorous curriculum and dedicated faculty.

During the 2020-2021 academic year, 29 students graduated with an associate’s degree in interior design, while 45 students completed the bachelor’s degree program. The majority of these graduates were women, making up about 90% of the associate’s degree graduates and 80% of the bachelor’s degree graduates.

These graduation figures echo the college’s dedication towards fostering diversity and inclusivity within the realm of interior design. They also underscore the popularity and effectiveness of Bellevue College’s design program, making it a top choice for aspiring interior designers in Washington.

Clover Park Technical College

Clover Park Technical College, situated in scenic Lakewood, WA, offers a highly regarded interior design program. The college is ranked #6 among the best interior design schools in Washington, demonstrating its commitment to providing quality education in this field.

With a 100% acceptance rate and a 45% graduation rate, Clover Park Technical College caters to a diverse student population. The college offers a variety of programs, including:

  • Interior Design
  • Nursing
  • Automotive Technology
  • Culinary Arts

The interior design program is structured to furnish students with the requisite practical skills and theoretical understanding to succeed in the field.

Spokane Falls Community College

Located in Spokane, WA, Spokane Falls Community College is known for its quality interior design program. Ranked #7 among the best interior design colleges in Washington, the college awarded 12 associate’s degrees in interior design during the 2020-2021 academic year.

The demographic breakdown of the graduates is diverse, reflecting the college’s commitment to inclusivity. About 8% of the interior design degrees were awarded to men, and 92% to women. Among these graduates, there were 2 Asian, 2 Hispanic or Latino, 5 White, and 3 from other races.

Such diversity not only enhances the academic journey for the students but also primes them to operate in a diverse, global industry. Owing to its inclusive ethos and high-quality curriculum, Spokane Falls Community College continues to be a preferred option for budding interior designers.

Cornish College of the Arts

Cornish College of the Arts, located in the heart of Seattle, offers a unique BFA in Interior Architecture program. This program stands out for its emphasis on socially responsible design practices, making it a top choice for students interested in sustainable and human-centered design.

The curriculum includes studying green building and adaptive reuse, equipping students with the knowledge to create designs that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also environmentally friendly. The program also trains students to use digital tools like Creative Suite and AutoCAD, essential skills for modern interior designers.

Under the leadership of Julie Myers, Chair and Founder of the Interior Architecture Department, Cornish College of the Arts continues to nurture creative minds and future leaders in the field of interior design.

Unique Features of Washington Interior Design Schools

The interior design programs in Washington stand out not only for their rigorous curriculum but also for the unique experiences they offer. For example, the Senior Experience offers intriguing options such as study abroad opportunities in Italy, professional internships, or involvement in community-centric studio projects.

These unique features provide students with a well-rounded education, combining theoretical knowledge with practical experience. Whether it’s traveling to Italy to study the country’s renowned architecture and design or engaging with local communities through studio projects, students in Washington’s interior design programs have the opportunity to broaden their horizons and deepen their understanding of the field.

Career Opportunities for Graduates

Graduates from premier interior design institutions in Washington are adequately equipped to thrive in their professional pursuits. They are trained to:

  • Analyze client needs
  • Integrate client needs with their interior design knowledge
  • Ensure that their designs are visually appealing
  • Ensure that their designs are functional and user-friendly.

In addition, they are equipped to prepare working drawings and specifications for interior detailing, fixtures, and furnishings. This allows them to work effectively with other licensed professionals in technical areas of design for regulatory approval.

Beyond the technical skills, graduates also benefit from career prep services such as involvement in community service projects and participation in national conferences. These experiences not only enhance their resumes but also provide them with networking opportunities and exposure to the latest trends in the industry.