Fairchild Books Interior Design Library - Featured Content Archive

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Paris, known as the City of Light, evokes excitement, a soft glow from a café can make one feel at home. Light that can be exciting, mysterious, magical, or comforting. Lighting is also an integral part of the designed interior. Designers who understand the different attributes and applications of lighting have the ability to transform interiors while also enhancing the health and wellbeing of their users.

Our Featured Content illuminates the role of various types of lighting and their applications in order to optimize space, human wellbeing, safety, and sustainability.

Photo of Boulevard Haussmann at night, in Paris.
Image credit: Frédéric Rodriguez via Getty Images
The Science and Art of Lighting

Designers must consider both natural and electric sources of light when they plan a quality lighting environment because lighting affects people’s health and welfare, and bad lighting can hinder even the best interior design.

The global emphasis on human-centred design (HCD), healthy buildings, and green design has prompted designers to create quality lighting that enhances human health, wellbeing, and performance while maximizing daylight and specifying energy-efficient lighting systems.

This chapter from Fundamentals of Lighting provides an introduction to the science and art of lighting and the fundamentals of how to use light to create good design, as well as how the scientific properties of light can create artistic results.

Bedroom with handmade design elements
Image credit: Oleg Breslavtsev via Getty Images
Lighting the home space

Ambient lighting, task lighting, and decorative lighting are frequently combined in a space, and their purposes may overlap as required by the time of day or the uses of the room. Careful selection, placement, and control of lighting can create an internal environment that is functional, aesthetically pleasing and cost effective.

This chapter from Knowing Your Home Furnishings will enlighten students as to how different types of lighting can be applied in the home space and includes a breakdown with recommendations for lighting in specific rooms and factors to consider in the selection of lamps to balance aesthetics and function.

3d illustration of a kitchen
Image credit: Marc Osborne via Getty Images
Drawing up plans for lighting a space

Electrical and lighting plans are used to show the locations for electrical outlets, switches, phone lines and locations for lighting fixtures. A lighting plan is often created from a reflected ceiling plan (RCP) which includes the placement of all fixtures on the ceiling.

This handy chapter from Hand Drafting for Interior Design will shine a light on how to create reflected ceiling and electrical plans through examples and an outline of the symbols used to represent different types of fixtures, switches, and elements which are commonly found.

Photo of The Enterprise Centre UEA, in Norwich, United Kingdom
Dennis Gilbert via Getty Images
Sustainable lighting solutions

Lighting accounts for the single largest percentage of energy use in buildings. The most potent impact an interior designer can have on the energy efficiency and the ultimate sustainability of a building is through good lighting design. As such, it is critical to understand issues of sustainability as they relate to lighting design and fixture or lamp selection.

This essential chapter from Sustainable Building Systems and Construction for Designers supports interior designers looking to gain a working knowledge of electricity and how it gets distributed through a building. Highlights include how to determine the energy efficiency of a light source, the effectiveness of the fixture in putting light where light is needed, and sustainable lighting design principles which inform more sustainable lighting solutions.


Design education is unique amongst fields of study—it is an integrator and connector of knowledge, forming links between ideas, information, people, and objects. Pedagogy is often described as the act of teaching, however it is also centred on theories of learning.

STUDIO Resources, available as part of Fairchild Books Interior Design Library, allow students to enhance and consolidate their learning with interactive digital materials. These highlights outline key concepts in the study of interior design and provide a guide to the specific learning resources available in each title.

Image of a structural sketch
Construction Detailing for Interior Design

Construction detailing impacts the design of the whole house. Drafting skills and literacy with construction-documents are essential for students learning to draft interior construction details. This textbook’s illustrated tutorials feature building code references, definitions of important industry-specific terms, helpful tips, and context-setting photographic support, as well as exercises enabling students to put what they have learned into practice to create their own simple interior construction details.

It also features an introductory animation which helps to illustrate the impact of construction detailing on design and enhance the learning experience.

Architectural rendering of a house
Architectural Drafting for Interior Design

Specifically designed for interior designers to learn how to communicate their ideas graphically, this book focuses on topics such as how to draw a floor plan, how to use it to create an interior elevation, and how to understand the relationship between 2D and 3D drawings.

It features additional worksheets and exercises on these topics to support learning, for example on how to create of an interior elevation. Also written with NCIDQ, CIDA and NKBA requirements in mind, this book will provide readers with a strong, standards-based foundation in interior design.

Image of a calculator and an architectural plane
Estimating and Costing for Interior Designers

Math is an essential component of the interior design profession. Utilizing step-by-step examples and worksheets to simplify the math used in the interior design field, this resource outlines a logical process which can be used for calculating materials and estimating the costs of installed products based on their math calculations.

Sample problems and exercises take the calculations of quantities needed one step further to actually applying material and labour costs, in order to discover the installed costs of the specified products. For example the 'Tile Countertop Worksheet' from the costing worksheets is a guide to help a designer account for how much of a material they would need.

To assist with learning, exercises are provided in introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels for all types of interior designers. Other key pedagogical features include learning objectives, key terms, chapter summaries, imperial and metric units, professional tips, and glossary.

Image of a swatch of colors and a living room drawing
Color Plus Design: Transforming Interior Space

Color and design when used together can organize any space around a theme or focal point and provide harmony or contrast. Learn how to effectively use color in conjunction with key design principles, such as balance, rhythm, emphasis, proportion, scale, unity, harmony, and variety to create unified and visually inviting spaces.

Flashcards, such as those from the new color + health chapter, help students to study the concepts and vocabulary from this topic more effectively.

Image of a living room, half drawing and half reality
Interior Design Fundamentals

Understanding design thinking and how it can be used as lens to approach interior design is essential for any student. Learn the basics of interior design, design thinking, and the design process. Envision yourself in the role of professional designer as you learn about design phases, spatial well-being, color theory, professional practice, finishes, furnishings, lighting, environmental systems, and more.

Case studies, review questions, and exercises in every chapter illustrate the practical applications of the theories and concepts explored. For example the multiple choice quizzes allow students to test themselves on key concepts and consolidate what they have learnt.

Fabrics and Soft Goods

Textiles are ubiquitous, playing an integral part of our everyday lives. The paradox is they are often invisible to us in the environment in which we live. Understanding the science of textiles; their properties, construction and aesthetics is required to make an appropriate selection as part of the design process. With textile technology, the modification and creation of new fibers and fabrics seems limitless. This guide will consider the sustainability of different fabrics in the context of the design industry.

Architect engineer drawing plans on a blueprint
Introduction to materials

The reasons for selecting certain textiles includes functional and aesthetic considerations. With an overview of the materials, components, construction and finishing of different textiles and soft goods, this chapter provides a framework for understanding the characteristics and use of fabrics. This guide on using soft goods in the interior space explores how a space can be brought to life by the introduction of a soft accessory.

Shot of a young businesswoman working with blueprints in an office
The Science of Textiles

The discovering a development of textiles was one of humankind’s earliest technical achievements. This text assist the designer in making connections between textile science and interior design, supporting design with the practical application of relevant science with an index on different textile performance concepts and properties. This introduction to natural and manufactured textile fabrics explores how the physical, mechanical, chemical and environmental properties of a fibre determine its performance and therefore its use.

Image representing the Revit Architecture interior design computer program
Sustainability, Safety and Codes

Consumers and professionals in many industries are increasingly conscious of environmental concerns; with awareness, consumers and manufactures alike are voluntarily reducing the materials and recycling resources. This chapter delves into concepts such as: sustainability and the ‘cradle-to-grave’ system within manufacturing with an overview of environmentally focused design considerations within the textile industry. Learn about the concept of environmentalism and the role of fabric standards, renewal of resources and low-emitting interior products in green and sustainable design in this overview.

Drawing and Digital Drawing

What does the modern drafting table look like? Designers use a mix of multimedia tools and techniques when modelling a space and its interior during each stage of the design process, including conception, presentation, and construction. Manual drafting, digitally and by hand, demands a broad skillset from designers that combines creativity and precision with proficiency, both in the technology they use and their technique. This is our guide to drawing in the twenty-first century.

Architect engineer drawing plans on a blueprint
Hand drafting

Presentation is everything. Whether you are a designer pitching presentation sheets to potential clients or drafting construction documents for contractors, clarity, style and precision are vital. The essential elements of these two types of hand-drafted drawings are summarized in this concise, demonstrative explainer for new practitioners. From title blocks to partition and ceiling plans, this chapter’s hand-drawn illustrations are themselves a great index for how to index your designs.

Shot of a young businesswoman working with blueprints in an office
Computer-aided design (CAD)

AutoCAD is one of the key computer programs for designers when manual drafting and an important tool for sketching digitally. Step-by-step visual instructions layout the roadmap to creating your digital drawings and the journey that designers take when navigating AutoCAD’s user-interface. Explore how to use Dynamic Inputs, the Command Prompt function, and the interactive resources available to you as part of the virtual drafting table.

Image representing the Revit Architecture interior design computer program
Revit 2020

Architectural design, by its nature, poses complex three-dimensional problems. Building Information Modeling (BIM for short) collects large datasets that describe every aspect of a building, and Revit Architecture is the most popular interior design computer program for organising and presenting this complex information in a single database. Read about Revit 2020 in this comprehensive introduction to the program.

half blueprint, half 3D-rendered image of an empty large retro restaurant bar with arched ceiling, large rounded windows, tables and bar stools
Merging hand sketching into digital

Hand-drawing and digital design are not mutually exclusive but compatible processes in manual drafting. “Proficiency in multiple media gives the designer the best of both worlds: the beauty and control of manual work paired with the power and speed of the computer”, writes Lydia Sloan Cline. In this in-depth, multidisciplinary chapter, readers will learn the fundamentals of a combined approach alongside the benefits of flexibly interchanging – and further merging – virtual and physical design.

Inclusive Design

Inclusive, or universal, design is about more than just incorporating all of the latest codes, compliances, and guidance when designing a space. It is the art of accommodating the widest array of peoples with a variety of abilities through every stage of their lifetime. It should be functional for neuro-normative children, wheelchair-bound seniors, deaf or blind persons, and everyone else who may enter the space. The space should also function within the culture it’s built, celebrating its uniqueness in a functional space in a way that it’s population will innately know how to interact.

The floor next to a shower is often a slick area. Light fixtures directed to this area could help to alert someone to a slippery surface.
Human Factors

Accessibility needs to be factored into for every type of disability, but inclusive design goes beyond including a ramp next to a set of stairs. A well-landscaped ramp can give everyone the same, equal, and easy access of a space. Human factors must also address the diversity and population of a culture, addressing elements like cultural, gender, generation, communication, spiritual needs, and more. Each in turn affect how the visual cues of a space are perceived.

Wayfinding placed into the floor design using a color-guided pattern to orient and move visitors and patients through this medical space. Helsinki, Finland
Psychology in your Environment

Culture, religion, and social aspects affect how a space is perceived, giving meaning to shapes, symbols, and even color. These are important factors in wayfinding, which help us navigate the complexities of the space around us. This can be something as simple as following the green line on the floor of a hospital to reach the right department or innately knowing that an octagonal red sign means STOP. Place also plays a role in understanding the space occupied. It provides a foundational understanding, giving its community purpose and control, whether they are entering a home, hospital, grocery store, or more.

Close-up of artist Joan Miro's sketchbook at the Fundacio Miro Mallorca museum, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 1987
Diverse Design
Culture plays an important facture in space and the Western world is no longer the driving force of design innovation. With booming populations and expanding metropolitan centers, India is known for combining traditional elements into techno-savvy designs. As a large and varying country, local geography is combined into the designs of their buildings, highlighting influences from cultures like Iran, Tibet, China, Mongolia, Persia, and more. In contrast, Nigeria, though the most populous country in Africa, experiences roughly the same high-temperature environments, meaning designs incorporate cooling and dry functionalities, usually incorporating central courtyards in their designs to promote natural cross-ventilation.

Sustainable Design

Sustainability is a topic at the forefront of contemporary interior design today. Not only is it better for the environment, for one’s health, and cost efficient; it also has low maintenance, a longer life-cycle and recyclable possibilities. This includes understanding codes, pre-occupancy evaluation of the space, bringing in as many natural elements as possible, making conscientious choices in materials, and providing effective energy sources. 

Paperwork and hands on a board room table at a business presentation or seminar.
Introduction to Holistic Design

Before you can even start the design process, familiarize yourself with the codes to make sure you are adhering to green and sustainability standards. Discover the guiding theories and principles behind biophilia, cradle-to-cradle design, environmental and health factors. Explore how best to approach a holistic design for your space. 

Shot of a man designing a skateboard on his tablet in the workshop
Green Homes

Many factors play into the designing of a green home, most notably the climate and environment of your area. This could be the floor-to-ceiling windows characteristic in the American South to help stimulate airflow in the humidity and heat or it could mean choosing insulating materials for your Alaskan home to keep warm in the winter. However, green homes may also mean living in a multi-family structure like an apartment, condo, assisted-living facility, or government housing that is close to public transit.

Close-up of artist Joan Miro's sketchbook at the Fundacio Miro Mallorca museum, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 1987
Interior Considerations

After you learned what makes a sustainable structure, it is time to incorporate environmentally friendly materials to your design. Include energy-efficient windows, choose fabrics treated in less harmful chemicals, and up-cycled countertops for your kitchen. Bring in as much natural lighting as possible into the space, replace light bulbs with more energy-efficient LED bulbs, and use lamps as much as possible instead of overhead lighting. Find out what choices you can make to help your environment.