No Design Legislation

Opposing interior design legislation everywhere


OPPOSE Senate Bill 2078 and House Bill 2016 – Interior Design Practice Act. Calls Needed NOW!

We have just learned that that interior design licensing bill has been put on notice for a hearing next Tuesday or Wednesday, April 21- 22 before the Senate Commerce Committee. We must act now to let the members of the Committee know that, especially in this difficult economic climate, no legislation should be considered that will impact your ability to do business in Tennessee.

AT ISSUE: A Design Practice Act which will:

** prohibit you from working in any commercial space over 5,000 sq. ft. or above 2 stories

** restrict you to working in 1 and 2 family residential spaces only – no apartments, condos, restaurants, offices, meeting facilities of any size

** limit your right to practice your profession and compete in the free and open market

ACTION: Contact the Members of the Senate Commerce Committee by phone, fax or email. Share this email with others in the design community, especially independent designers and decorators, showrooms and distributors


The proponents of the bill (as well as the sponsors) have been told by the Interior Design lobbyists that kitchen and bath designers have been “taken care of” in the bill and that it no longer affects them. This is the exact language they’ve drafted to “protect you”: The following persons shall be exempt from the provisions of the law: “Any person providing kitchen and bath design services, including those certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association as a “certified kitchen designer” or “certified bath designer”, or both, whose activities involve the planning and execution of the design of residential kitchens or baths.” As you can see, this exemption is no different than the general exemption granted to every designer — the “privilege” of being restricted to working in 1 or 2 family residences and small commercial spaces!

The most effective contact is to call a Committee member’s office and ask for an appointment to talk to them by phone. A list of the members and their phone numbers may be downloaded by clicking this LINK. Some pointers on calling your elected officials may be viewed by clicking HERE. If you haven’t already sent a letter to the Committee members, you may click this LINK to be taken to our website where you can send a message through our system. Whichever vehicle you choose, please contact these members by Monday, April 20th with your concerns and urge them to VOTE NO on Senate Bill 2078/House Bill 2016.

Important points to keep in mind when making your call or discussing the issue are:

**NO STATE has passed an interior design practice act since 1997. In February, Minnesota rejected a similar practice act which was even less restrictive than the one proposed here.

**Only 3 states out of 50 currently have an interior design practice act – Florida, Nevada and Louisiana, and they were passed only because the design community wasn’t made aware of what was happening.

**There were 4 states with practice acts. In 2007 the Supreme Court of Alabama declared that state’s interior design practice act unconstitutional, holding that its fundamental premise of protecting health, safety and welfare was flawed.
**The state of Colorado just completed a comprehensive analysis of every state which had some sort of regulation of interior designers (including Tennessee) and found absolutely no evidence that the practice of interior design resulted in any harm to the consumer. Specifically with respect to Tennessee, the department found only 3 complaints filed against interior designers in the past five years. All 3 complaints were for a failure to meet continuing education requirements – the complaints were for administrative issues and not harm to the public. This is consistent with what each of the other 11 state agencies that evaluated the issue found — there is no evidence whatsoever of harm to the public due to the failure of licensing designers.

**At least 3 state Governors (Indiana, Colorado and New York) have vetoed interior design legislation in recent years, all concluding that such laws seemed to be geared toward “restraining competition” rather than protecting health, safety or welfare.

**Senator Ketron (a member of the Committee) has also recently introduced a sunrise bill to ensure that any legislation to regulate entry into businesses and professions is demonstrably necessary and carefully tailored to legitimate health, safety, and welfare objectives, placing the burden of proof on those who seek to restrict into a profession. Passage of the interior design licensing bill would fly in the face of this new legislation and defeat the very purposes for which Senator Ketron introduced it.

Please take a moment NOW to contact the members of the Senate Commerce Committee and ask them to reject this unnecessary and anti-competitive bill. Remember calls or letters must be made by Monday, the 20th.



April 17, 2009 - Posted by | Minnesota, ncidq certification licensing, New York, NKBA, Tennessee | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. All you have to do is call yourself an interior decorator and this will all go away…..POOF! No really there isn’t anything wrong with it…it doesn’t hurt say it with me….”I am an interior decorator…slowly for effect I N T E R I O R D E C O R A T O R.” There see that wasn’t so bad now was it?

    Comment by Michael Dudek | May 4, 2009 | Reply

    • Why are you so attached to what people call themselves?

      And no, the issue will *not* all just go away if people decide to label themselves the way you would like them to.

      Comment by Hoechstetter Interiors | May 11, 2009 | Reply

  2. Damn you guys are good.
    So let me ask you this. Suppose you succeed in repealing every piece of interior design regulation ever instituted and you stop the interior design legislation effort dead in it’s tracks so that no further legislative effort is possible.



    Comment by Mike Dudek | May 11, 2009 | Reply

    • That’s the goal, Mike – to stop *all* legislation absolutely “dead in it’s [sic] tracks”.

      What then? Life will go on in our business the same as it always has. People with talent and enough of the requisite skills will be able to find clients and stay in business, and those who lack either or both won’t. That’s how a free market economy and capitalism work.

      Comment by Hoechstetter Interiors | May 11, 2009 | Reply

  3. Wendy have you checked lately? Life as you knew it has changed. Times have changed. The world is getting smaller, faster and much more complex or did you miss that train? Do you mean talent as in “a flair for color”? Do you mean talent as in being able to pull a room together with only grit, determination and a few tassels? Talent is not a legitimate measure, in any professional society’s standards. Get real! Speaking of “requisite” skills…..again by whose standards are you defining those skills as essential…your own? Sorry that decorator won’t shop.
    The way I see it you are either a professional or you are not. If you choose not to prove that your skills and talents meet the standards of the professional society then you have that right. Just do not expect us to lower our standards because you and your talented friends claim an inalienable right to the domain of the profession of interior design.
    And if you have not caught on I am opposed to interior design legislation. It is stupid. But I am a professional interior designer and as long as you and your anti-legislation friends continue to deprofessionalize interior design I will be there to call you on it.

    Comment by Michael Dudek | May 12, 2009 | Reply

  4. PS. How much did you and your IJ cronies pay George Will to write his piece in your favor a while back? Man that was a coup.

    Comment by Mike Dudek | May 12, 2009 | Reply

    • Mike, don’t you have anything better to do with your time than to libel and attack other people, especially those you don’t know anything about?

      Comment by Hoechstetter Interiors | May 13, 2009 | Reply

      • Actually Wendy no I don’t. And if you think I am “attacking” then you need to call your dermatologist. You seem to be suffering from thinskinatosis. You see Wendy the reason I spend so much time replying to those whose only goal is to impugn and denigrate the profession I have devoted 25 years of my life to is not to feel better about my self but because I need to tell my students that they are not wasting their time and tuition to earn admission to a profession that some think they are merely entitled to. Basically I am fed up with the anti-regulation effort and your collective paranoid perception that NCIDQ and ASID have created a cartel with the sole purpose of putting interior decorators out of business. That is absolutely hilarious. But Ms Hoechstetter I have to tip my hat to you and Ms. Morrow and your decorator buddies as you have managed to find a kink in the health, safety and welfare logic. And then to put a libertarian spin on the anti-legislation effort- well that is just brilliant. Completely deluded but brilliant. So while we agree that legislating interior design is not the most effective model for advancing the profession of interior design I will not look the other way when you and the anti-regulation crowd claim an inalienable right to the profession of interior design while at the same time deprofessionalizing the very same profession.

        Comment by Mike Dudek | May 13, 2009 | Reply

  5. No Wendy I don’t have anything better to do with my time. This is my job. Trying to educate future interior designers that professional status is earned and proven. It is not a birthright. And as long as you and your angry decorator friends impugn and malign the profession that I have dedicated 25 years of my life to you can rest assured I will continue to answer every misinformed and distorted statement you and your camp make.
    Sure it is easier to delete my posts than to debate the issues It is also easier to claim an inalienable right to the domain of interior design than to actually earn it.

    Comment by Michael Dudek | May 14, 2009 | Reply

  6. Mike Dudek, Professor of Interior Design at Kansas State University, you would be better served by curbing your sarcasm and derogatory comments. Is this what you mean by professionalism? I am concerned. You appear very frustrated and angry. You are in need of counseling/ or intervention because you sound like a crazy person.

    Your incessant comments are a little much on the obsessive side and you now appear like a blog stalker. I am shocked that you would want to expose yourself in this way. You come off as someone who is rambling and confused. I can only say because of your tone and sarcasm, you are not worthy of a legitimate debate on the issue of design legislation.

    I wonder how the taxpayers in Kansas will react when they learn that you, a KSU professor, is frittering away your time posting scurrilous blog comments during working hours, at the taxpayers expense.

    Comment by Laurie Burke | May 14, 2009 | Reply

  7. Laurie,
    Well done! You are so right! Not only do I appear very frustrated and angry..I am! And possibly a little crazy because I have convinced myself I can possibly expose the anti-regulation effort for the sham that it is, silly me. I am impressed however that you have done your research and discovered that I am a college professor trying to teach interior design. What is your excuse? I admittedly have spent much more time on your anti-regulation blogs than I should but, just between you me and the internet, I am trying to rationalize this whole debacle so that I can inform and prepare my students to defend their chosen profession. However, to be clear, my postings on these blogs have nothing to do with my academic effort and everything to do with my concern for my profession. IT IS PERSONAL!
    Unfortunately for you it is my job. You see if I can somehow convince the professional interior design society that legislating interior design, as a way to validate the profession, is wrong (you may need to read that twice) then I will actually be saving the taxpayers of Kansas money. That’s right! We agree on one point, and I have yet to find an anti-regulation proponent that actually gets this. Regulating interior design based on our responsibility to protect the health safety and welfare of the public is wrong. You probably interpret this position as some sort of professional psychosis or personality disorder…I know I know. But then why am I so angry? As long as you and the anti-regulation effort continue to impugn and denigrate the profession of interior design by claiming that NCIDQ/CIDA & by default IDEC, are in collusion with ASID to “cartelize” the profession I will make every effort to call you on your delusion. Actually I would love to have an intervention Ms. Burke would you please take lead on that charge? Or maybe you can have one of your IDPC/IJ cronies intervene on your behalf. I can be torn away from my anti-regulation blog stalking at 785-477-3236 or feel free to email me directly at

    Comment by Michael Dudek | May 18, 2009 | Reply

    • Mike, if the characterization of the profession is your sole beef, then why don’t you spend your energies actually educating the public, instead of ranting the way you do on other people’s blogs? It’s not other designers or decorators who are responsible for the problem; it’s the entire profession’s complete failure to educate the public as to what we do in a way that creates the demand that we’d all prefer to see!

      We live in a free enterprise economy, too, where it is perfectly legal to call ourselves pretty much anything we want under the First Amendment. See my new posts yesterday and today – both Texas and Oklahoma have just recently reaffirmed this fundamental right.

      In the absence of any documentable evidence that we create any kind of public health hazard, there is no reason to legislate what we do – and really, no reason beyond personal pride to even care what other people call us. Yes, I prefer to be called a “designer” instead of a “decorator”, since that much more clearly defines (as far as industry jargon goes, not Webster) what I do and what I am trained in, but in the end, I’ve come to realize that it’s just a label that means nothing inherently, and means even less to clients and prospective clients. I don’t care what people call me as long as they hire me and pay my bills.

      Frankly, clients really don’t care, either. I come from the client side myself, so I know. They want a creative solution to their problems that comes in on time and on budget, and they want to have a good time getting there, not have it be a royal pain the you-know-where. They want the path eased and obstacles removed, and they really don’t care who does what, or when or how, and virtually none of them have a clue what they ought to be looking for in hiring a designer. In the end, even the most enlightened client views their designer in much the same way they view their plumber – a trade member upon whom they call when they have a need and forget about once the problem is solved. There’s often more social cachet involved, at least on the residential side, but even there, much of the time, we’re hired guns, end of story.

      And bottom line, there’s no way to either legislate or to demand legitimacy as a profession, never mind differentiate one aspect from another. Only one’s own professional conduct and demonstrated competency and creativity coupled with effective mass education of the public can create that. Unfortunately, both ASID and IIDA have completely missed the boat on this, and have done spectacularly little to educate our own prospective clients about what we do, how we are trained, and why it is to their advantage to hire a professional designer over their friend or neighbor who has a “flair” for decorating.

      As to NCIDQ, etc., that test has been shown to be statistically invalid, and to actually not properly test for what it claims to test. Why should it be the standard upon which an entire profession is based? And upon which tens of thousands of people’s livelihoods hang?

      And educationally, there are thousands of highly successful and well-regarded designers out there who have little to no formal professional training. A lot of inherent talent and drive to learn will easily carry people to learning everything we need to know. Besides, we all know that we learn little of what we need in actual practice in school. Most of it comes from experience in the trenches – and from ongoing continuing education, for which we must all be individually responsible regardless of background. The CE requirements that ASID has put into place are a joke, easily satisfied by people taking basic classes in color and furniture history on trips to Europe, and thus add nothing of value. People who really care about keeping up on things seek out more substantive offerings and read constantly, but the existing and proposed credentialling processes do nothing to take these shortcomings into account at all, so of what use are they?

      Comment by Hoechstetter Interiors | May 18, 2009 | Reply

  8. Wendy
    You are right my “beef”, and my pork, is with the IDPC’s and IJ’s characterization of my profession. So ask any registered architects if they think the 1st amendment grants anybody the right to the term architect. Ask professional engineers (not the train drivers although they have a professional society the NAREMA) if they would want any Joe blow calling themselves a P.E., and there are numerous healthcare workers each with their own professional identity and inherent professional society…I could go on. Your argument does not hold water just ask the AIH ( To say that the NCIDQ is statistically invalid is another IDPC/IJ fabrication to bolster your collective effort to de-professionalize an already established and socially accepted profession. Again you present a sieve instead of fact.

    Amazingly we agree that there is no need for legislating interior design and if that was YOUR only cause we would have no “beef” and I would not waste my time phlogging your blogs.

    But as long as your doctrine includes impugning the validity of education/experience and examination as the first step of a model of standards to prove one’s status within the profession, just like the thousands of other professional societies out there (much to the IJ’s chagrin I am sure) I will continue to call you on it. If you are willing to abdicate your professional status, as you lead me to believe, to the point you do not care what you are called that is fine. Don’t call yourself an interior designer and don’t worry about my effort to advance my profession. We both have other things to do. What intrigues me about the IDPC and the IJ’s effort is that you demand professional status yet you simultaneously denigrate the very system for professional validation that you seek….You want it both ways and we (I use the term loosely given ASID’s and IIDA’s failure to relate to the public…another point we agree on) are not about to let you have it.
    This is a very complicated is not merely an issue of semantics. A lot of angst, particularly on the decorator’s side of the issue, would be unnecessary if you would just follow the ethical high ground and call yourselves interior decorators.


    If you desire to become a member of the interior design profession as we have established and broadly vetted it and you wish to uphold and advance the standards of OUR profession then you should have no qualms proving it. Could the process be improved and more diversified…certainly but to holistically castigate it because it does not accommodate those with innate talent, a flair for color and self promotion or just plain longevity is absurd.

    I wish you well with your endeavors to combat legislation as a means to advance the profession. Leave it at that.

    Comment by Michael Dudek | May 18, 2009 | Reply

  9. Proof that Interior Design affects the health safety and welfare of the public:

    Friday, May 8, 2009 | Modified: Monday, May 11, 2009
    Battle shapes up over ‘Who’s a designer?’
    Interior designers, other groups at odds over possible licensing changes

    apart of the article states proof…

    The 1980 MGM Grand hotel fire in Las Vegas that killed 87 people began as an electrical problem, but fatalities were caused by inhalation of toxic smoke and fumes generated by rapidly burning wallpaper, glue and plastic materials and fed by improper ventilation systems.
    “A very large portion of the lawsuits were related to interior materials that didn’t perform as they were supposed to, which was within the purview of an interior designer,” Setser says.
    That tragedy led to stringent fire codes in Las Vegas, and subsequently, Nevada became one of the first states to grant interior designers a practice license.

    Comment by Elyse | February 7, 2010 | Reply

    • 1) There is no evidence whatsoever that any interior designers were even involved in that project. everything was specified by the architects.

      2) No one can prevent products from not performing as they are designed to perform, if indeed product failure is the source of a problem. This has nothing to do with who specified the products, and everything to do with a) the products themselves, and b) the code requirements regarding what can be used.

      3) Everything will burn and release toxic fumes at some point. There is no such thing as a completely inflammable interior, and no such thing as materials that won’t release toxic gasses as they burn, melt, etc.

      4) Many of the deaths were caused by doors that opened inwards, instead of outwards, thereby trapping people. Again, these were specified by architects, not interior designers – and part of that problem was that the codes of the day didn’t require outward opening doors. It would not have mattered who had specified them, as no one knew any better.

      5) As a result of this fire, and several others, building codes have been significantly strengthened, to include performance and fire resistance capability of products, and *everyone* who specifies materials for a building of any sort is responsible to meet those codes. If they don’t, the fire inspector won’t approve them. This is true whether the specifier is an architect or an interior designer.

      6) Particularly on large commercial projects, there is always an architect in charge of the process, and in any project, there are always building inspectors to whom everyone on the design team must answer. There are therefore multiple checks and balances that help ensure code compliance that will keep the public as safe as possible. There’s no way that it all falls on the shoulders of the interior designer.

      7) Given that architects have been known to screw up like this, why put all the blame on interior designers? Architects are all licensed – and that still doesn’t prevent problems that affect the health and safety of the public. Doctors are licensed, and that still doesn’t prevent malpractice. The same with attorneys. Why should we assume that licensure of interior designers would be any different? In fact, studies have shown that in jurisdictions that do have such licensure requirements, the number of complaints against designers has actually increased, not decreased. Licensure and the processes leading to it do not, in and of themselves, necessarily provide any more protection for anyone.

      8) The vast majority of people, in their homes and even in their offices and other businesses, never use an interior designer, and far and away the vast majority of them survive just fine.

      What protects the public is the codes and these multiple redundant levels of checks and balances, which include code requirements for many products, at least in the commercial setting.

      Comment by Hoechstetter Interiors | April 10, 2010 | Reply

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