Interior design has evolved over the past century, and the New York School of Interior Design—which was founded by architect Sherrill Whiton nearly 100 years ago—has changed along with it. In 1915, during a slowdown in the building industry, Whiton conceived the idea of a Home Study Course in the Decorative Arts. As more and more home study students began to visit his professional office expecting to find a school, he decided to open one in 1916. He established the New York School of Interior Decoration. At the time, interior design was just beginning to take shape as a distinct and recognized profession—one that required training in everything from art history to the play of light on walls and other surfaces.
In 1924, NYSID was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents. Since then, it has grown from a handful of students and a single course of study in its first year to more than 700 students and nine programs today. Whiton literally wrote the book on interior design education. His Elements of Interior Decoration was published in 1937 and is currently in its 6th edition, now titledInterior Design and Decoration. It is still a design school standard today.
In 1951, the College’s name was changed to the New York School of Interior Design, recognizing that the education we provide doesn’t only concern itself with the details and finishes of a space but the architecture of the interior, everything that is not strictly structural. And by the time Jacqueline Kennedy was first lady—and first brought to national prominence the role of the interior designer with her renovation of the White House—we'd already been on the scene for four decades. In many ways, it's our firm foundation in the evolution of interior design's history that's allowed us to be its forerunner.
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