Research is important in every discipline as it helps us better understand who we are, what we need, and how we can make a difference. Interior design research helps designers learn more about the people using the space, what innovative strategies, products, and materials are needed to design the space, and how the design of the space impacts people’s experiences. Interior design touches various types of spaces in the built environment: residences, workplaces, healthcare facilities, schools, hotels, retail stores, restaurants, entertainment facilities, public/civic areas, etc. Everyone experiences these spaces to some extent daily. In other words, interior designers are constantly making an impact on people’s lives through their design work. The more we learn from research, the more we are equipped to design places to achieve goals and positively impact lives.
Research sounds great, but what exactly does interior design research look like? A sample of some questions that interior design research can address are:
- What design solutions can support working at home?
- What design solutions can accommodate multi-generations and/or multiple cultures?
- Are there individual differences (e.g., age, national culture, personality, personal place history, etc.) that affect how people experience design?
- How can interior design…
- support people’s ability to relax and recharge at home?
- promote focus/concentration in the workplace?
- promote health, wellness, and healing in healthcare facilities and beyond?
- encourage learning in schools and other institutions?
- promote brand loyalty in hotels and retail stores?
- promote marketing and encourage purchases in retail stores?
- support sustainable lifestyles?
These questions are answered through various research methods, including literature reviews, surveys, interviews, observations, post-occupancy evaluations, etc.
The ASID Foundation considers research an essential way to advance the profession and communicate the impact of interior design. Awarding research grants annually through the Transform Grants and the Irene Winifred Eno Grant, the ASID Foundation seeks to address critical gaps in industry knowledge, advance design understanding, and transform the practice of interior design for the benefit of everyone. To give you a better idea of how these research questions and the methods used to collect the data can provide interior designers with more knowledge to support their design projects, here are some research projects that have been completed through the ASID Foundation research grants. Click on each research project title to access the executive summary.
|Research Project Title||Space Type||Outcome|
|Materials Research Collaborative||All||Database|
|Developing a Standard Evidence-Based Patient Room Interior Design Checklist and Evaluation Tool||Healthcare Facilities||Tool|
|Designing for Adults with Intellectual Development Diversities: An Integrative Approach||Residences (Institutions)||Framework|
|Key Performance Indicators of Knowledge Workplace Design Promoting Knowledge Worker Performance and Economic Competitiveness||Workplaces||Tool|
|Developing a Cost Comparison Tool for Planning Ahead to Age in a Home Designed to the Standards of Universal Design and Accessibility vs. Moving into an Assisted Living Facility||Residences||Tool|
|Design Resources for Homelessness||Residences (Institutions)||Database|
|Stand Up to Work||Workplaces||Evidence|
Research can help us make informed decisions. Make it a fundamental practice to keep up with new research, understand the existing intelligence, and apply it to your design projects.
About the Author
Susan Chung, Ph.D., is the senior research associate at the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) where she connects design and research for improving human experiences in the interior environment. Valuing the needs of design practitioners, her work at ASID translates research on interior design issues and trends into applicable design implications, and directs projects that investigate positive impact on human experiences. She also devotes her summer time teaching students at Cornell University on how design is interconnected with our daily lives and how they can make a difference in this world through design. With a background in both interior design and organizational behavior research from her doctorate degree in Human Behavior and Design at Cornell University, she has a particular passion in how design attributes are related to creative performance in workplace environments.