Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design

BFA interior design

Harrington College of Design’s Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Interior Design combines the elements and principles of design with practical applications, incorporating space planning and problem solving, supplemented with general education coursework. This program is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA, formerly FIDER).*

Li-Pei Schweder earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from Harrington College of Design in 2004. Today, she's an interior designer with a Chicago architecture and design firm focusing mainly on corporate interiors. Hear her story on the role her Harrington education played in helping her discover her future.

The curriculum of Harrington's bachelor-level Interior Design degree offers students the opportunity to explore creative design, business skills and computer-aided design technology. Students may also choose a specialized course of study to concentrate their focus on a specific area of interior design, with choices including Sustainable Design, Branded Environments, Digital Technology and Historic Preservation. Graduates should be able to:

  • Understand how to work with a variety of design project types and users.
  • Develop the attitudes, traits and values of professional responsibility, accountability and effectiveness.
  • Understand the fundamentals of art and design, theories of design, green design, human behavior and discipline-related history.
  • Understand and apply the knowledge, skills, processes and theories of interior design.
  • Communicate effectively.
  • Develop skills in computer applications used in the interior design industry.
  • Design within the context of building systems and to use appropriate materials and products.
  • Apply the laws, codes, regulations, standards and practices that protect the health, safety and welfare of the public.
  • Understand the foundations of business and professional practice.

Courses in Harrington's BFA in Interior Design program focus on assisting students in the first phase of preparation toward becoming qualified, licensed professionals, as illustrated in the sampling of courses below*.

  • In Architectural Detailing and Construction, emphasis is on advanced training in the preparation of two-dimensional design development and working drawings through development of basic architectural details.
  • In History of Interiors and Architecture I, students survey the development of interiors, architecture and furniture from pre-history to the mid-19th century. The coverage is primarily Western, though some non-Western cultures are presented.
  • In Portfolio for Interior Design, students are provided with the tools and techniques needed to support success in identifying and obtaining an entry-level position in their field and producing a resume and portfolio.

Other core requirements in this program include*:

  • Beginning Drawing
  • Color: Perception and Application
  • 2D Design
  • Design in 3 Dimensions
  • Introduction to Computer Graphics
  • Project Management
  • Business Practices
  • Portfolio for Interior Design
  • Graphic Comm. Tools for Interior Design
  • Architectural Detailing and Construction
  • ADA & Building Codes
  • Advanced Detailing
  • Materials and Sources
  • Introduction to Interior Design
  • Interior Design I
  • Interior Design II
  • Revit Architecture
  • 3D AutoCAD
  • Interior Design III
  • Interior Design IV
  • Advanced CAD Rendering
  • Interior Design Thesis Preparation
  • Interior Design Thesis
  • History of Interiors & Architecture I
  • History of Interiors & Architecture II
  • Introduction to AutoCAD
  • Building Systems
  • Fundamentals of Lighting
  • Textiles

*Course curriculum is subject to change.

For accreditation information for this and other Harrington College of Design programs, please click here.

*An additional form of accreditation that a school may undertake to obtain is a specific, individual accreditation of certain programs (programmatic accreditation). Institutional accreditation is not the same as or a substitution for programmatic accreditation. Although programmatic accreditation is not required for employment in many cases, the existence of programmatic accreditation is a further indication that a program meets the standards of the profession, and may therefore indirectly enhance employment opportunities. Also, in some cases, programmatic accreditation will allow the graduates of the accredited program to sit for some credentialing exams immediately upon graduation without any requirement of work experience. The Council for Interior Design Accreditation (“CIDA”), formerly known as the Foundation for Interior Design Education Research (“FIDER”), accredits Interior Design programs. The Bachelor of Fine Arts Interior Design program at Harrington College of Design is programmatically accredited by CIDA.