BLDI-290: Professional Practice for Interior Designers

Business, Entrepreneurship, and Professional Development
Building Sciences
Interior Design
Academic Level
Course Subject
Bldg Sciences-Interior Design
Course Number
Course Title
Professional Practice for Interior Designers
Credit Hours
Instructor Contact Hours Per Semester
47.00 (for 15-week classes)
Student Contact Hours Per Semester
47.00 (for 15-week classes)
Grading Method
Catalog Course Description

Exams the interior design profession, including the study of legal, financial, and ethical business practices with special emphasis on management, human resource practices, marketing, and advertising.

Goals, Topics, and Objectives

Goal Statement

To provide students with knowledge of professional interior design business practices.  Students will explore business models, professional ethics, accounting and record keeping, office management, human resource practices, marketing design services and advertising, project management and the bid process.  

Core Course Topics
  1. Interior design profession, career options, certification, professional associations, and licensing
  2. Legal, financial and ethical issues in the business environment
  3. Business formations, sales and income tax issues, registration of business name, advantages and disadvantages of business ownership, insurance and legal counsel
  4. Financial advisors, accountants, bankers, establishing business credit, small business loans, business location, start up costs, office equipment, cash flow and budgeting
  5. Office organization and management, letters of agreement, contracts, maintaining vital records, writing and submitting detailed specifications for purchasing products, installation instructions and custom design work
  6. Professional design fees, determining profit margins, indirect job costs, retail/discount pricing, obtaining quotes, invoicing, FOB, delivery and installation charges
  7. Bookkeeping, accounting, billing, and payroll
  8. Project closeout, post-occupancy and client follow-up, warranties
  9. Marketing, establishing a niche, advertising, customer service and building client relationships
Core Course Learning Objectives (Separated)
  1. Demonstrate through written construction documents, written contracts, research and critical analysis of issues relative to employment and liability, an understanding of the legal responsibilities of interior designers engaged in professional practice.
  2. Exhibit basic understanding of the development and maintenance of financial records for an interior design practice through the development of spreadsheets in compliance with appropriate accounting principles and the requirements for filing business taxes.
  3. Compare and contrast optional business models, marketing tools and developing desired client base through creation of a business model and company website for a mock interior design firm.
  4. Create a mock interior design firm setting up a business model reflecting efficient office management, record keeping, specifying invoicing, purchasing, customer service, design, delivery and installation of a small commercial design project, and post occupancy evaluations.
  5. Apply marketing and advertising techniques in the creation of a website for a mock design firm.
  6. Analyze and discuss ethics in professional business conduct and service to the public.
  7. Compare and contrast professional design organizations and apply to become a student member of a national interior design association or organization.
  8. Identify and discuss career opportunities, certification, licensing and registration requirements for interior designers in the State of Michigan and research requirements for same in other states.

Assessment and Requirements

Assessment of Academic Achievement
  • Research and creation of interior design firm
  • Interior Design Firm Website
  • Professional Practice Documentation Project:
    • Manage a small design project beginning with meeting the client through post occupancy evaluation
    • Prepare invoices/letters of agreement
    • Design, select and specify furniture, finishes and lighting for a small commercial project
    • Provide samples, specifications and unit packaging and photos of all items necessary to complete the project
    • Measure, calculate, determine profit margins, invoice, purchase and deliver products to virtual clients
    • Organize and maintain vital documents


Satisfies Wellness Requirement

Credit for Prior College-Level Learning

Options for Credit for Prior College-Level Learning
Other Details

Determined by Faculty

Effective Term
Fall 2023