E+ID Contact

Eiben Hall
Chaminade University of Honolulu
3140 Waialae Avenue
Honolulu, Hawai'i 96816

Program Director
(808) 739-8574

Program Secretary
(808) 739-4680

E+ID Profession

What is Environmental + Interior Design?

Environmental and interior designers are part of a collaborative team that creates the spaces in which we live, play, and work. Because people spend more than 90% of their time indoors, the built environment has a crucial impact on our health and quality of life. The design of building interiors also directly impacts our relationship to our surroundings as well as to the environment at large. An environmental perspective helps us to understand our connection not just to the building itself, but also to the land, to the community, and to the planet–which in turn cultivates a sense of responsibility for the welfare of everything affected by our design decisions.

The demands of professional design practice require a comprehensive, interdisciplinary and collaborative skill set and knowledge base in order to be successful. Design practice includes space planning, programming analysis, code compliance, project management, lighting design, acoustics, sustainability, and fire protection, as well as selection and procurement of finishes and furnishings. The work of the interior designer also involves coordination with the design of mechanical, electrical, structural, and plumbing systems, in addition to coordination with contractors, suppliers, vendors, and installers.

How then does Environmental + Interior Design differ from architecture? While there is much common ground between the fields of interior design and architecture, architects generally work at a larger scale, creating the building shell and addressing its relationship to its site. Interior design operates on a more intimate scale, with an emphasis on human experience. Interior designers are concerned with how people use, perceive, behave, and interact in the spaces they inhabit. Important aspects of the user’s perspective that are addressed are safety, health, accessibility for users of varying abilities, and comfort–not only physical comfort, but also the psychological and social well-being. Over 75% of what a person experiences in a space–light, color, sound, tactile quality, thermal quality, air quality–falls under the purview of interior design.

Designers in general must be both creative and innovative, as well as analytical and technical. They are problem-solvers who seek to optimize solutions within a set of constraints, but at the same time they must also be visionary–able to both anticipate and influence future trends. Design is a balance between the practical and feasible with the imaginative and abstract. A design education builds a comprehensive skill set: it cultivates creativity and discipline, organizational and interpersonal skills, artistic and technical drawing skills, planning and management capabilities, and a collaborative work ethic.

Career Opportunities

Professional Fields

  • Commercial Design (i.e., retail, restaurant, and recreation)
  • Institutional Design (i.e., hospitality, healthcare, schools, and civic buildings)
  • Contract Design (i.e., corporate and office landscape design)
  • Residential Design (i.e., single family, multi-family, and multi-generational dwellings)

Consultant Positions

  • Programming Consultant
  • Space Planning Consultant
  • Environmental Design Consultant
  • Universal Design Consultant
  • Sustainable Design Consultant
  • Evidence-Based Design Research Consultant


  • Assisted Living or Aging-in-Place Facilities
  • Health Clinics
  • Children’s Interiors
  • Government Projects
  • Spas & Salons
  • Museum Interiors
  • Prison Interiors
  • Airport Interiors
  • Stadium Design
  • Watercraft Interiors
  • Amusement & Theme Park Design
  • Lighting Design
  • Kitchen & Bath Design
  • Theatre Set Design
  • Furniture Design
  • Space Habitat Design
  • Graphic Design & Illustration
  • Project Management
  • CAD/Revit Contract Documents & Specifications
  • Design Education
  • Event/Exhibit Planning
  • Sales (furnishings, suppliers, equipment, fixtures)

Community Connections