2007/09: Ask Me
Q&A 13 years ago No Comments

I am looking for a list of supplies first year and second interior design students may need. Also, maybe some recommended reading and websites for discounted or used interior design textbooks.

(submitted by Donnetta D.)

Interior design students need specific tools and resources for their classes. Even in this technology driven age, hand drawing, sketching and rendering (that’s coloring to those who don’t know) are still important skills the interior design student learns.


Students will need a nice metal T-Square (but ask your professor because some schools use a drafting machine and these may already be installed in your studio), two drafting triangles (30/60 degree and 45 degree), and a precision quality drafting pencil with 2H and HB lead refills. Some professors want you to also have F lead hardness.

I think the beginning student should also stock up on lightweight tracing paper in an 18” width – and please plan to use it. Excellent work comes from willingness to try ideas, that you are also willing to wad up and throw away (like that last boyfriend you had!). Anyway, I guess that is why some people will call this paper “bum wad”!


Okay – to get serious, every student needs four or five gray value Chartpak® or Prismacolor® art markers along with a 24- or 48-count colored pencil set. You know my favorite is Prismacolor®, but one time I had a student who just used cheap hard lead Roseart® colored pencils. I think she had 12 colors, and her work was wonderful! Oh well – just keep that professor guessing who is going to have the winning submission!

I love for students to draft, draw and render on Canson® marker paper. It comes in a tablet in a variety of sizes. It has a slight translucent quality that can be rendered on both the front and back to get variations in value, without buying a broader color range.

Some professors may require Clearprint® drafting vellum (that’s a wonderful cotton rag drafting surface), but is sure does rob you of spending money needed for Sonic® ice cream slushes. Sorry – I just love those things. And I think I need one right now!


If you are going to do all of that drawing, surely you will welcome a nice supply of erasers. Those trigger operated white erasers are great. And while you are shopping, pick up an eraser shield, so you can aim to an exact spot that needs to be cleaned up.

My students need a variety of glues – Elmer’s® school glue, hot glue, Tacky Glue, epoxy glue, spray adhesive, rubber cement, and Duck® brand roller glue – not to mention 3M® foam tape. No wonder my students always have sticky fingers!

Also, every beginning student will need an Exacto® knife, utility knife, a roll of drafting tape, and a tube sleeve to store their drawings in.

Finally, every first-year student really will be glad if they start their university career with a Wi-Fi ready laptop computer and companion printer/scanner combination. Be sure to get the standard software packages for word processing, but also insist on graphic editing software such as Photoshop®. This will be a terrific boost as you turn those first efforts into a digital portfolio.

Best wishes for your first year. It is true – it can be very competitive in the classroom, but eager and productive students will reap the rewards for years to come – even if they are sleep deprived from time to time!