Auburn Family

From Brooklyn to Auburn: The Life of an Interior Design Student

Passion, time commitment and a good eye are just a few things it takes to be a successful interior design student. Emily Koelle, a junior at Auburn University, is pursuing her dream to become an interior designer.

A recent transfer student, Koelle is working diligently to find her niche in Auburn. Although her designer journey began more than 900 miles away at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, Koelle plans to graduate as an Auburn tiger.

“There are a lot of reasons why I transferred from the Pratt Institute to Auburn,” said Koelle. “The biggest reason was probably because at Pratt everything was on a much more conceptual design basis and it wasn’t very practical.”

With deep southern roots and determination, Koelle took a leap of faith when deciding to attend the private art college in New York. The cultural differences between her home state of Alabama and the streets of Brooklyn were exciting at first, but eventually led to her decision to transfer. 

Koelle was already familiar with Auburn’s interior design program, but spent two years at Pratt before making the move back to Alabama.

“It’s a great school, but I wanted to be in a more positive environment and be somewhere where I am learning design from the kind of people I would want to work for,” said Koelle. 

However, there was more to Koelle’s decision to transfer than cultural or geographical differences. Koelle was also familiar with the national recognition of Auburn University’s interor design program.

DesignIntelligence magazine ranked Auburn University’s undergraduate interior design program as the best in the nation for the annual survey, “America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools 2012.” Auburn was also ranked number one in the nation along with Savannah College of Art and Design based on interior design programs accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

Koelle would love to start her own company after she graduates where she would be able to take her own pieces and present a modern style of antique furniture.

“One of my favorite things that I’ve been working on is up-cycling old furniture and selling it after I’ve put my old twist on it,” said Koelle.

Koelle loves taking other designers' work and creating a unique collaboration by adding in her own ideas. In the mean time, all of this recycling and up-cycling is also positive because it is environmentally friendly. Strong emphasis on sustainability and green architecture are a few of Koelle’s favorite aspects of Auburn’s interior design program. 

“My advice to anybody interested in majoring in interior design is to first realize that any studio major, especially at a school that is ranked number one for it, it is a ton of work,” said Koelle. “It is fun, but there is a difference in making it your hobby and making it your passion.” 

More information about Auburn University’s interior design program can be found on their website

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Tags: Auburn, Brooklyn, best in the nation, interior design, student, studio, transfer, transfer student

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