Residential Design Degree and Certification Facts

Get information on undergraduate and graduate degree programs in residential design, which is sometimes called interior design. Learn what courses are included, and find out about certification requirements for interior designers. Schools offering AutoCAD Drafting & Design Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Programs Are Available in Residential Design?

Online and campus-based residential design programs are available through bachelor's and master's degree programs, primarily in interior design. If you have a bachelor's degree in interior design, residential design, architecture or art, credits may count toward your master's degree. Throughout the program, you complete designs and layouts illustrating your understanding of color, space and style.

Program Levels Bachelor's degree, master's degree
Common Courses Bachelor's: Writing contracts, architecture, design concepts, digital design, drafting principles
Master's: Home organization, interior design issues, computer design, business principles, residential design trends
Possible Careers Space planner, refurbisher, interior decorator, residential designer, set designer
Certification Options NCIDQ certification is available

What Will I Learn Through Undergraduate Degree Program?

Through a program in residential design, you interact with customers to generate ideas for bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms and other home spaces. Bachelor's degree programs often cover some courses in architecture, which include concepts in designing floor plans, creating bathrooms and redesigning kitchens. In addition to using color, you tie in people's personal preferences and interests to create unique rooms with art, pillows and sculptures. You use materials such as wood, stone, marble, glass and metal to enhance a home. Other topics of study include:

  • Drafting principles
  • Furniture history and styles
  • Fabric colors and textures
  • Creating designs digitally
  • Writing contracts

What Will I Learn Through a Master's Degree Program?

Master's degree programs in residential design may train you in business principles, architecture and teaching strategies in addition to design. You use computers and graphics to quickly change colors, styles and layouts to show clients a number of different options. Some programs give you the opportunity to study the work of famous designers and learn about the use of color and design in various cultures. Other topics of study might include:

  • Drawing
  • Issues in interior design
  • Modern architecture
  • Organizing homes
  • Trends in residential design

What Careers and Certifications Are Available?

A bachelor's degree prepares you to work as an interior decorator, residential designer, assistant interior designer or space planner. You can also train to refurbish furniture so it's historically accurate and in better condition; similarly, you can focus on niche areas such as home lighting. Other positions include creating sets for plays, television or film. With a master's degree, you could go on to own your own interior design business or possibly enter the field of interior architecture.

You can take a certification exam offered by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) after a combination of six years of college education and work experience. Some of your work experience must be under someone certified by the NCIDQ or with someone who is a licensed or registered interior designer for all of your hours to count, which enables you to take the qualifying exam faster. This credential can lead to more job opportunities and is one way to demonstrate your dedication to the trade and your level of professionalism.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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