Interior Design Associations Support new Illinois Interior Design Economic Opportunity Act.

The Illinois Interior Design Coalition (IIDC) recently held a series of town hall meetings to better educate the interior design community about the specifics of forthcoming legislation that will enable Registered Interior Designers the privilege of stamping and sealing technical submissions for permitting purposes. The new Bill is entitled the Illinois Interior Design Economic Opportunity Act.   These events co-sponsored by both ASID and IIDA were held in Bloomington/Normal and Chicago, which netted approximately 100 attendees. These meetings are the first attempts to educate interior designers on how this legislation affects or does not affect everyone in the profession.  Essentially the new bill would allow for new competition for Registered Interior Designers in a realm that has only been afforded to Licensed Architects and Engineers.  The work that Registered Interior Designers do on a daily basis would finally give them the power to permit their work and to allow them to take full responsibility for their work.  The bill does not penalize people who do not wish to take on this added benefit, nor does it penalize interior designers from doing what they currently do on a daily basis within the realm of the current laws.

What does this Act Do?


  • Allows individuals who currently are Registered Interior Designers under the Illinois Interior Design Title Act the opportunity to become Registered Interior Designers under this new Practice Act. All current Registered Interior Designers qualify for the Practice Act based upon the requirements outlined in the current Title Act. The following is a link to the Illinois Interior Design Title Act:
  • Provides individuals who have passed the NCIDQ exam, which is the national standard for Interior Design Professionals, the path for state registration. To apply for registration, the NCIDQ exam is the prerequisite for applying for Interior Design Registration in the State of Illinois as well as the majority of States in the United States and Canada.
  • Allows Registered Interior Designers to run their own businesses and perform all duties necessary in his/her practice, and to provide individuals the freedom to practice in their field of work without interference from other regulated professions.
  • Exempts retail design services (including furniture, finishes and millwork/cabinetry). Other professions, including structural engineering, architecture and professional engineering are also exempt.
  • Gives Interior Design students the path to meet their educational goal and to create a definite path for them to gain registration in Interior Design in the State of Illinois. Students in Interior Design programs across the state spend on average $80,000 for their education, and they should be able to practice Interior Design as it is described in the Act.
  • Allows Registered Interior Designers the privilege to stamp/seal drawings in order to submit their technical submissions for permitting in any Illinois jurisdiction. By allowing Registered Interior Designers to stamp and seal their own drawings, it takes the risk away from a Licensed Architect if there are any errors or omissions in the drawings they are signing. It essentially gives the Registered Interior Designer the responsibility of his/her own work.
  • Includes a requirement for continuing education for Registered Interior Designers similar to architects and engineers.
  • Provides small businesses the opportunity to grow and help in the economic recovery of the State of Illinois. This Act also creates further competition in the marketplace, and allows Registered Interior Designers an equal footing to architects for work in code‐regulated spaces.
  • The scope of work defined in this bill governs code‐regulated, commercial, nonstructural interior spaces greater than 5,000 SF. All residential homes are exempt (not regulated) in this Act.
  • Non‐registered interior designers can partner with Registered Interior Designers to provide direct supervision over technical submissions and stamp for permitting. Today this supervision and stamping is only permitted by a Licensed Architect.
  • Exempts preparation of environmental analysis, feasibility studies, programming, or construction management services as these are not code governed services.
  • Allows the draftsmen, students, project representatives, and employees of those lawfully practicing as
  • Registered Interior Designers under the provisions of the Act to work under the direct supervision of their employers.


Illinois Interior Design Coalition (IIDC)

The Illinois Interior Design Coalition (IIDC) is a not-for-profit political action committee whose mission is to protect the public’s health, safety and welfare through the integrity of the Illinois Interior Design Title Act.

  • IIDC identifies legislative initiatives to prevent outside professionals from defining the Interior Designer’s areas of responsibilities.
  • IIDC maintains the recognition of government bodies to the impact of Interior Designers on public welfare.
  • IIDC creates a single voice to support legislation that defines the Interior Design profession and its impact on public health and welfare.
  • Without IIDC’s effort for licensure, as provided by a practice act, Interior Designers may be excluded by other regulatory entities.

IIDC has a thorough FAQ Section that addresses Registration, the Title Act, and IIDC’s progress.

Membership in IIDC is open to ALL interior designers and those in related fields who are encouraged to attend their regular monthly meetings. Get involved in protecting the title of “Interior Designer” by contacting the Illinois Interior Design Coalition at Check for monthly meeting dates and locations.


Talking Points on the Illinois Interior Design Economic Opportunity Act

Myths about Illinois Interior Design Economic Opportunity Act: True or False?

1. I am an Interior Designer now, and I am not currently registered in the State of Illinois. If this Act becomes law, I will be put out of business.

FALSE: A non‐registered interior design professional may still perform the tasks and duties he/she currently does in code‐regulated spaces, as long as he/she has a licensed/registered professional review and sign off on the work, which is what the current law requires. In code‐regulated spaces, registered design professionals must sign and seal the drawings that are used for permitting purposes. Under this proposed Act, Registered Interior Designers will be able to sign and seal drawings like other registered design professionals. Retail merchants are also exempt from this law in the case of the sale of goods or furnishings as stated in this bill.

2. The Illinois Interior Design Economic Opportunity Act will allow Registered Interior Designers to be the prime or lead consultant on any given project.

TRUE: This Act will allow a Registered Interior Designer to lead a project team of various consultants including architects, engineers, food service consultants, lighting consultants, etc. All consultants will still be required to stamp and seal their respective drawings, if deemed necessary, by current Illinois laws. Registered Interior Designers will be allowed to stamp and seal their own drawings and go to their local jurisdiction to undergo plan review and permitting of these drawings.

3. Registered Interior Designers can stamp and seal drawings that are structural in nature.

FALSE: A Licensed Architect and a Structural Engineer are REQUIRED to stamp and seal drawings that are structural in nature. Interior Designers MUST seek licensed professionals that are qualified to do such work. The state laws pertaining to load bearing structures will NOT change.

4. Interior Designers only pick finishes and specify furniture.

FALSE: There are many Interior Designers that are qualified to do many tasks besides picking finishes and specifying furniture. Other duties usually performed by numerous Interior Designers include planning the interior layout of spaces, creating technical drawings, coordinating with other consultants/professionals, complying with state and local building and life safety codes, complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act, developing sustainable design strategies, and dealing with health, safety and welfare issues, just to name a few. There are approximately 1,600 Registered Interior Designers under the existing Illinois Interior Design Title Act who are qualified for registration under this proposed Act. There are many more in Illinois who are enrolled in Interior Design programs in universities and colleges across the state, as well as individuals who are preparing to take the NCIDQ exam in order to become Registered Interior Designers.

5. Other professions don’t have “special” laws or licensing procedures or requirements.

FALSE: Most professions require education, testing and licensing. Some in similar professions, for example, landscape architects, become certified to expand practice opportunities. Testing and licensing simply allow any Registered Interior Designer to expand the range of services offered by affirming specific knowledge, skills and abilities.

6. The Illinois Interior Design Economic Opportunity Act will allow Registered Interior Designers the freedom to practice their craft to its fullest.

TRUE: Currently Registered Interior Designers MUST have their technical submissions reviewed by a licensed Architect for stamping and sealing prior to submitting the drawings for permit. By providing stamping/sealing privileges, this will allow Registered Interior Designers who operate their own businesses the opportunity to work on projects that were out of reach, and they do not have to rely on an architect to review and stamp their drawings. Most architects are reluctant to take the liability of stamping drawings they were not originally involved in the design process from the beginning. This will allow the Registered Interior Designer a trouble‐free approach to do their work.

7. The current laws in Illinois greatly restrict Registered Interior Designers from other states that are registered in the State of Illinois to practice.

TRUE: Registered/Licensed/Certified Interior Designers in other states who have stamping and sealing privileges now CANNOT stamp/seal drawing in the State of Illinois. States such as Texas, Florida, Nevada, Louisiana, Georgia and Washington, DC currently allow registered/certified/licensed Interior Designers to stamp and seal drawings for permit. If these individuals are qualified to be registered in the State of Illinois, why should they be restricted from doing what they can currently do in their normal practice?

8. By passing the Illinois Interior Design Economic Opportunity Act, this will allow Registered Interior Designers to have a positive economic impact to the citizens of the State of Illinois.

TRUE: If this Act passes, it will greatly impact the economic conditions in the State of Illinois in a very positive way. By allowing passage of this Act, Registered Interior Designers will be allowed to enhance the capabilities of their practice by allowing those individuals to expand their businesses in many ways. They will be able to be the prime on a project, since they will be taking full responsibility for the work they produce. It will allow for Registered Interior Designers who are small business owners to go after work that traditionally was sought after by larger architectural firms due to restrictions of stamping/sealing privileges.

9. Registered Interior Designers who own their own businesses will have to carry additional liability insurance if the Illinois Interior Design Economic Opportunity Act passes.

FALSE: Registered Interior Designers that carry liability insurance for their practice currently will not have to carry any additional insurance once the Illinois Interior Design Economic Opportunity Act is law. Registered professionals currently carry insurance policies in cases of “errors and omissions” for their work, and that will not change with the new law.

10. The American Institute of Architects will endorse the Illinois Interior Design Economic Act or any laws that promote the regulation of the Interior Design industry.

FALSE: There is a mandate from The American Institute of Architects (AIA) at the national level to NOT allow ANY Interior Design laws pass as it relates to code‐regulated spaces. Since 1989 and then reaffirmed in 2000, the AIA has stated they will not allow other design professionals into the realm of registration because they are afraid that Registered Interior Designers are fragmenting design responsibility from Licensed Architects. They continue to feed their membership misinformation about the knowledge Registered Interior Designers have when it comes to health, safety and welfare issues. The dissent from the AIA is merely a turf war that they have been controlling for many years, and they will continue to do so until the Legislature and Interior Designers says that this is not acceptable anymore. The AIA Illinois is forced to follow the mandate that is dictated to them from the national level, despite all the licensed architects that work side by side with Registered Interior Designers on a daily basis and know the knowledge that we have to perform our jobs.

11. The evolution of the Interior Design industry over the years has allowed for Registered Interior Designers the proper education, work experience and certified examination to be qualified to be registered design professionals when it relates to code‐regulated spaces that do not include load‐bearing structures.

TRUE: From the time an interior design professional completes a 2‐3 or 4 year interior program from a public or private University, gains valuable experience working under qualified interior design and architecture professionals, and takes the NCIDQ exam, he or she has met all the necessary requirements to perform the tasks necessary as outlined in the Illinois Interior Design Economic Opportunity Act. The curriculums at the University level have been changing over the years to meet the stringent requirements that Registered/Licensed/Certified professionals demand from these future professionals. The NCIDQ exam has also undergone the necessary changes to their exam to meet the continued evolution of the Interior Design profession. All professions go through these changes as they evolve, and interior design is not the only one going through this. These changes only make their professionals better at what they do. The AIA continues to not recognize any of these changes, and their mandate to not include Registered Interior Designers as “registered design professionals” will continue until it is stopped.

Illinois Title Act Extension Bill Renewed

The Illinois Interior Design Title Act Sunset Extension Bill (Senate Bill 1310) introduced into the state legislature earlier this year has been extended for another ten years.  The Bill unanimously passed both the State House and State Senate without any opposition or objections.  The Bill was sent to the Governor’s office on June 28, 2011 where it was signed by Governor Quinn.  Upon the Bill becoming law, the existing Title Act will be renewed from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2021.  The renewal of this Bill allows us to prepare for forthcoming legislation to move our industry forward and to allow Interior Designers the right to practice our profession without interference from other professions.  To help with this effort, we encourage all Interior Designers who have passed the NCIDQ exam to register with the State of Illinois to become a Registered Interior Designer.  The profession cannot evolve without strength in numbers.

You Can Make a Difference!

Are you passionate about Interior Design? The ASID Illinois Chapter Advocacy Committee needs YOU!

Through support, fundraising and volunteer efforts, ASID Illinois chapter members assist with several events each year that benefit the interior design industry and Illinois Interior Design Coalition’s (IIDC) goal to promote and protect Title Registration.

Contact the ASID Illinois Chapter Advocacy Committee at or to get involved in making a difference. New members are needed and always welcome!

3 Things You Can Do To Make a Difference for the Interior Design Profession

1. Prepare for and take the NCIDQ.

Passage of the NCIDQ Exam identified you as having met the minimum standards for professional practice of Interior Design. Show that you have met these standards of education, experience and examination.

Make sure you make yourself PUBLIC on NCIDQ’s website. This allows NCIDQ to publish the names of those who have passed the NCIDQ. These numbers are vital statistics that are used to show how many Interior Designers are qualified to practice interior design to its full extent in Illinois.

2. Register with the State to become a “Registered Interior Designer”.

After successful passage of the NCIDQ Exam, you are eligible to register with the State of Illinois to become and use the title “Registered Interior Designer”. If you need step by step guidance on how to complete registration please contact ASID IL for those resources. For the Illinois Registration Application and more information about the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation visit

3. Get Involved!

  • Learn what issues are affecting Interior Designers in Illinois and how you can help. Get involved today with the ASID Advocacy Committee and assist in planning Interior Design industry events that benefit Interior Designers and that educate others while networking with practicing Interior Designers. To sign up or learn more, email ASID at
  • Participate in IIDC events and become a member of IIDC. Please click here for information on their website:  Please look forward to IIDC’s Capital Day. This will be a great opportunity to meet with legislators and make a big impact on our profession.