Much Ado About Nothing


The anti-regulation forces are getting all worked up over a spate of proposed ID legislative efforts. Mississippi, Colorado Washington, Oregon and Arizona have bills in various stages of the process. As posted in an earlier thread PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER notes a new tune from the angry decorator camp. Since the battle for the term and the practice of “interior design” particularly “non-commercial” interior design is over (grant the IJ/IDPC credit) all new legislation appears to be carefully crafted to avoid  1st amendment issues by clearly specifying “registered” or “certified” interior designers as the beneficiary of the proposed legislation. The battle for interior design is over. A new professional paradigm is emerging that allows for free choice in regard to professional validation. If you choose to earn legally recognized credentials you are free to do so. If you choose to merely practice as an interior designer with all of your God given creative talents and artistic flair you are free to do so. Is this a great country or what?  Here is a copy of the actual legislation proposed in Arizona seems pretty clear to me- IF YOU CHOOSE NOT TO “REGISTER” AND YOU WISH TO PRACTICE AS AN INTERIOR DESIGNER YOU ARE FREE TO DO SO.

House of Representatives

HB 2309

interior designer registration

Sponsors: Representative Mesnard


X Committee on Employment and Regulatory Affairs
  Caucus and COW
  House Engrossed


Establishes voluntary registration requirements, guidelines, and penalties for registered interior designers, and allows them to stamp and sign non-structural plans for permitting purposes.


Interior designers can work in a wide variety of capacities. Both large companies and smaller corporations hire interior designers as employees during regular working hours. Designers for smaller firms usually work on a contract or per-job basis, whereas self-employed designers tend to work more hours. For residential projects, a self-employed interior designers usually earns a per-hour fee plus a percentage of the total cost of furniture, lighting, artwork, and other design elements. For commercial projects, they may charge per-hour fees, or a flat fee for the whole project. Interior designers are typically required to meet deadlines, stay on budget, and meet clients’ needs. Current law requires licensed professionals review the work and sign it before submitting the design for approval by clients or construction permisioning. Nationally, the need for licensed review and signature varies by locality, relevant legislation, and scope of work.



  • Adds interior designers to the heading of Title 32, Chapter 1.
  • Defines interior design documents as the set of documents and specifications that form a part of the legal contract for interior design services between an owner and interior designer.
  • Defines registered interior designer as a person who is registered pursuant to this chapter and who is qualified by the board based on education, experience and examination to provide interior design services pursuant to this chapter.
  • Adds one registered interior designer to the board of technical registration.
  • Requires a registered interior designer to have had at least five years of documented active professional experience.
  • Outlines requirements for registration as an interior designer:

Ø        Specifies that the applicant must be at least eighteen years of age.

Ø        Requests that the applicant be of good moral character and repute.

Ø        Requires the applicant to pass a written competency examination that is approved by the board and is nationally recognized.

Ø        Requires the applicant to have passed a course of study with a minimum of forty semester hours or sixty quarter hours of interior design related coursework that culminates in a certificate, degree or diploma.

Ø        Specifies that an applicant must possess at least three thousand five hundred and twenty hours of diversified practical interior design experience.

Ø        Stipulates that an applicant must not have had a registration denied or revoked pursuant to this chapter within one year preceding the application.

  • Specifies that any interior design documents filed with any state or local building department for the purpose of obtaining a building permit shall bear the seal of the engineer, architect or registered interior designer who prepared or approved the documents and the date on which the documents were sealed.
  • Allows the board to waive the examination, education, or experience requirements for an applicant who applies within eighteen months of the effective date of this bill if the applicant is actively engaged as an interior designer on the effective date of the bill, or if the board determines that the applicant has sufficient competency.
  • Prohibits the board from renewing the registration of an interior designer if the applicant has not completed at least six hours of continuing education over a two year period.
  • Specifies that if an interior designer may be exempt from the registration requirements is they are designing the interior of a detached single family dwelling or a commercial space, and the work does not involve issues of code compliance which require the affixing of a seal, and does not require that the plans be filed, renewed and approved before the issuance of a building permit in accordance with the building codes of the political subdivision that has jurisdiction over the work.
  • Specifies that an interior designer may be exempt from the registration requirements outlined in the bill if the person is not identified as a registered interior designer.
  • Establishes a class two misdemeanor if a person who is not registered as an interior designer advertises or displays any card, sign or other device that may indicate to the public that the person is a registered interior designer.
  • Makes technical and conforming changes.

Fiftieth Legislature

First Regular Session  2          January 26, 2011


It seems that the logic of the anti-regulation effort has run off the rails and is now just steaming ahead on sheer envy or some sort of rabid quasi-libertarian tea party frenzy. Please take your interior design title and go practice what you preach. It will save both of our professions a lot of time and effort.

P.S. From the proposed bill in Washington State this clarification is front and center;

“The provisions of this section may not affect the use of the words “interior design” or “interior designer” where a person does not practice or offer to practice registered interior design.”

( )


P.P.S. From the NKBA regarding legislation in Mississippi;

This bill will absolutely impact our members. Further, the bill will divide the design community into those who are recognized by the State as having some sort of special skill and expertise…and all others who are unable to become certified.  Certainly, the public will attach undue added value to state recognition and place our members at a competitive disadvantage in seeking work. Why should the State help a small group of designers market their services over those of their competitors?  They should compete on the merits of their ability, portfolio and references and let the client decide.

( )

More baseless rhetoric attacking those who CHOOSE to advance their professional credentials as opposed to those who CHOOSE not to. If you are a CKD/NKBA Certified to do non-commercial kitchen or bathroom design then you have nothing to worry about despite what the NKBA tells you. Read the damn bills!

So does this mean that PROFESSIONALINTERIORDESIGNER is out of a job? Ummm NO. I still maintain that Uncle Sam should not run our public relations effort. I also believe that the angry decorators posed but a skirmish, albeit a furry bloody one, and the real opponent in our advancement toward legal recognition is better armed. Are we ready to take on the AIA?

8 responses to “Much Ado About Nothing”

  1. Political Scientist Avatar
    Political Scientist


    I thought you were on the sidelines with regards to Interior Design Legislation.

    Maybe not.

    In my opinion, the Big Bad Government need not be involved.

    If you want to put Certified, Identified, Recognized or maybe the “Best Damn Interior Designer in the State of Kansas” next to your name, please do it without wasting time and ASID Membershipe dues on Lobbyists.


  2. Shoot the Decorators Avatar
    Shoot the Decorators

    Hey, I forgot we are talking about Arizona.
    Let’s just shoot the Decorators.


  3. Wow you pulled the gun metaphor…..even I won’t go there- whatever.
    Your comment on my apparent waffle on ID regulation is valid. Personally I favor self-regulation and self-certification as a starting point. But the pragmatist in me understands that it is too late for that to be a realistic model for the advancement of the profession. So now that the regulatory cat is out of the bag I will not work against it. I do not want to see any effort to validate the profession loose traction.

    I do support the ID regulatory effort in that it will allow us to begin taking responsibility for permitting of the construction of interior space (with limits) which we have designed. But you don’t have a dog in that hunt so not to worry.

    I also stand by my appreciation of the anti-regulation effort and their impact on the refinement of the ID regulatory effort. Interior Design is free at last. Anybody can be an interior designer. Good God almighty you are free at last. And if you choose you can earn certification and become registered. But hey if you want to allow the free market to determine your true qualifications please be our guest- that’s a choice as well.

    BTW I really don’t care to be the best damn interior designer in the State of Kansas just the best advocate for the advancement of the profession.

    Thanks for your comments.


  4. So what’s the point of this debate after all. This is not about the Nobel Peace Prize. Architects, Designers and Decorators all want successful robust practices. So the theory is that by becoming more “professional” via education, certification and the like, they will get a bigger piece of the Client $$.

    So ASID collects $15 a head plus their dues and dumps the money into these efforts.

    If they took that $15 (pick a number and multiply x membership) or more and started buying Google Ad Words, launched other online marketing campaigns and rearranged their website to better promote their designers (Allied & Professional), we’d all be so busy we wouldn’t have time to worry about legislation and licensing.

    And enough with the “Allied” designation. Mike, have one of your students go online and compare the portfolios of Allied versus Professional Interior Designers. I guarantee you they would vote for the Allied portfolios!


  5. If you choose not to evolve with everybody, and everything else, that is your choice. Your beef is obviously with ASID. You should note that I do not fly the ASID credentials. Haven’t since the mid 80’s. I have no beef with them but will not defend them either. Take that for what it is worth.


  6. What's your Blog about? Avatar
    What’s your Blog about?


    Is this a Blog about what it take to be a “Professional Interior Designer” or just another “mouthpiece” for the effort pass laws that “certify” Interior Designers.

    I thought you were neutral on legislation?

    I guess not.


    1. P.S. Thanks for your post you have prompted me to update my position on ID regulation.


  7. I do not support legislation as a means to distinguish the certified from those who claim a birthright to professional status as “interior designers” nor do I support any regulation that infringes on the practice of residential “interior design”. Interior designers should be free to practice interior decoration or residential interior design. I stand firm in belief that we could do far better if we were to self-regulate and self-certify. But I am not naive enough to believe I have any influence in that regard. NCIDQ certified interior designers will not stand down on their effort to use government regulation as a vehicle to validate their professional status. Nor is it my intent to stand in the way of or detract from what is the default model of professional advancement. So yes I do support legislative efforts that recognize “certified” interior designers and their right to limited permitting privileges. For example if you read newer threads I do not support the ID legislation efforts in Oregon because the bill is poorly worded and may place undue regulation on those who wish to call themselves or their services interior design. Granted this is a very fine line and I will acknowledge that I may appear to be waffling. In my mind the legislative effort paradigm is shifting from the battle between decorators and designers to designers and architects. This is actually playing out since I started this blog over a year ago. This is a good thing.

    Now there are numerous issues with our new legislative focus and I believe that we are stumbling somewhat blindly into a turf battle that will make our tiff with the interior decorators posing as interior designers look like a walk in the professional park. I will continue to espouse the virtues of self-regulation, self certification and professional advancement without the force of government and I will also provide commentary both supportive and critical of the ID regulation effort as the situation evolves.
    I hope I answered your questions.


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