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Advocate Spotlight
Corina Folts, IIDA, NCIDQ and New York Certified Interior Designer

Corina is a Senior Associate and Certified Interior Designer with SWBR. Corina chose to get a degree in commercial interior design because she wanted to create healthy, comfortable, spaces for building occupants that positively impacted their emotional wellbeing. She thought focusing on the interior would provide the biggest impact to the users of the space. Corina received her Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from the then-CIDA-accredited Art Institute of Pittsburgh. She started her career in Florida in 2004 with a design firm who had offices in other states, and she realized that the profession did not have consistent regulation across the nation and decided to act.


How long have you been an advocate for reasonable regulation of interior design? Tell us about your current efforts.


Upon moving to New York and working for a small boutique architecture firm, I was able to prove the value of an interior designer and was supported in my pursuit of NCIDQ Certification and registration within the office of professions as a Certified Interior Designer in New York. When I transitioned to a larger architecture firm and joined IIDA NY, it became clear that it was the norm in New York for interior designers to not be used fully based on their education, examination, and experience. I was constantly educating colleagues, clients, peers, and more on what the interior design spectrum entailed and what a Certified Interior Designer was. In 2018 I became the IIDA NY Chapter’s Advocacy Chair for Rochester City Center and then transitioned to the VP of Advocacy for the state. I worked with a task force to help bring members together to form a New York Consortium for Interior Design that consists of members from IIDA NY with all city centers, ASID NY Upstate CE, and ASID NY Metro. We have developed a list of legislative objectives to pursue. The current focus is to align the education requirements with that of CIDQ to allow those who are truly qualified by means of education, examination, and experience to call themselves Certified Interior Designers in the state of New York. The next step is to bring all members up to date and start sharing the information beyond membership.


Why is advocating for reasonable regulation of interior design important? As a practitioner, why is it important to you?


Many professions can relate to having a degree to practice but only practicing a small portion of that degree within the job. Many interior designers are frustrated by this, because of their investment in the profession (through education, examination, and experience), and they are not able to practice fully what they are trained and able to do. There are many factors surrounding this: media, state restrictions, uninformed public, clients, or colleagues. The profession of interior design contains a range of services, for example: kitchen and bath design, space planning, and selecting finishes for a corporate client that meet the required codes and regulations.


What advice or message do you have for other advocates of reasonable regulation of interior design?


It is important to provide a distinction for those who work in a code-impacted environment, but not create barriers for those who want to practice an aspect of the profession that does not affect the life, safety, and wellness of commercial building occupants. We must better define the scope of practice of Certified Interior Designers. This will help to educate and show the value of our capabilities, having a safe option for those who want to enhance their commercial spaces and create the best human experience possible.  


If you live in New York and are passionate about the interior design profession, Corina wants to hear your story, what issues you are facing, and how she may be able to help! Interior designers are all here to lift each other up, and to value the full range of services offered. If you want to help your fellow professionals, reach out to CIDQ, IIDA, or ASID to get started in your area.

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