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History of Interior Design

History of Interior Design

It has been just over a century since interior design became a profession. Today, interior design encompasses thousands of highly specialized areas that require years of study and experience, which began as an art which embraced form and function.

American interior decorators first used the term in the early 1900s. There were few academic qualifications among decorators of that time, but the best ones were able to interpret and address the issues, such as proportion and scale, with good taste and common sense. The first documented commercial Interior Decorator was Dorothy Draper, who established her design firm in 1923. In 1913, Elsie de Wolfe published the first interior design book, "The House in Good Taste."

Interior designers were first defined in the 1930s by a magazine called "Interior Design and Decoration". The magazine didn't publish between 1943 and 1952, but a competing magazine called "Interiors" insisted on using the term "interior designer," not "decorator." The term was also used by design schools to recognize work not only by designers, but also architects. A greater number of contract works were published in "Interiors" than residential projects. The term “and Decoration” was dropped from the name when “Interior Design and Decoration” magazine resumed publication.

A group meeting at a furniture show in 1931 led to the creation of AID, the largest professional organization in the field at the time. From 1934 to 1936, AID was known as the American Institute of Interior Designers (AID).A number of professional organizations and associations have sprung up to represent the varied members of the interior design profession as the profession has grown over the years.

For the purpose of establishing, maintaining, and governing standards for interior design education and examination, the Foundation for Interior Design Educational Research (FIDER) and the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) were founded in the 1970's.

United States government legislation supporting interior design did not begin until 1982. Those laws were passed in Alabama.

A world of ever-increasing globalization is at the same time demanding the fine-tuning of specialized areas of critical knowledge as interior design history continues to evolve. Design for Aging in Place, Universal Design, Healthcare Design, Educational & Institutional Design, Specialty Workplace Design and more have all become accepted as part of the norm in built environments where health, safety and welfare of the public are paramount.