Arts & Humanities
Bachelor of Science in Interior Design
Owner of Studio L
Lauren Simmons earned her Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from Abilene Christian University in 2007. Simmons entered the field because she said she has always been a creative person and somewhat artistic, but she didn’t want to get an arts degree because of financial concerns. She said that before she began studying interior design, she didn’t know much about the field, and that she was surprised by how it incorporated study in architecture as well. After working for some other design firms, she now owns her own, called Studio L, started in March of 2011.
Why did you choose interior design?
People have asked me that quite a bit, and it’s mainly because I’ve always been a creative person and somewhat artistic, and my mind definitely operates on the creative side. I didn’t want to pursue a career specifically in the arts because I knew it would be difficult to support myself financially. I always had an interest in interior design, but I didnít know much about it. I thought it was more interior decorating, but there are some architectural aspects to it as well. I chose it because it was a bit more appealing than some of the other options. It was just a guess, but I stuck with it and ended up loving it and it was a good fit.
What did you like about the experience? What could have been better?
I really liked the emphasis on more realistic project work as opposed to just a standard written test. Our program was heavy in the professors giving us real-life scenarios with these imaginary clients, where we had deadlines and budgets, and they tried to make it as realistic as possible. I enjoyed that aspect, although it was much more time-consuming than just studying for a test. But for me, it was more enjoyable, and I got more out of doing that than just studying from a book.
I actually wish that they would have let us meet with and have extensive lectures with designers that have been in the field so that they could give us more relevant insight as to what it’s actually like in the work place. As great as the group projects were, there are issues that come up when you’re working with a contractor or a client that don’t come to school. So more advice and direction from people who are already in the field and who have already gone through that learning curve would have been nice.
How has it impacted your career?
Greatly. I think the main thing that I learned from school in the practice of design especially was the amount of organization required. It’s much more detail-oriented than I ever expected. More knowledge is required of several different fields than I ever expected. You need to know some architecture, and some electrical and plumbing because you’re held responsible for it when you’re leading a project. That’s something that I learned in school — that the designer is responsible for keeping the project in line and on schedule and on track.
What skills from your degree do you still use?
Most definitely the learning of all the computer drafting programs. It’s very important to be current with that. That’s actually a big factor in getting hired by other firms. Typically, older designers that have been in the field aren’t current with that, so it gave me an advantage. Also, just learning whenever we were working in groups on projects, that’s a huge part of the design field — learning how to work with others. Some creative people are more introverted and they think they can do it all by themselves, but when it comes to design, you have to be able to communicate well with others and be able to work with them to create a better product.
What advice would you give to students who are considering studying interior design?
It’s a misconception that interior design is glamorous. It’s glamorized by things that people see on TV. It’s so much more about the behind-the-scenes work, but that part of it is extremely rewarding. I would say to always know that you’re never going to learn the field, that it’s a continual education process. It’s always changing, but that’s what makes it exciting.