Spatial and Interior Design major - Bachelor of Design Te Tohu Paetahi mō te Hoahoa

Spatial and interior designers create places for people to live, work, play and imagine. Study the Spatial and Interior Design major to prepare for a career designing interiors, furniture, exhibitions, outdoor spaces, retail environments or art installations.

As a spatial and interior design student, you unlock the potential of places by designing spatial and interior environments that support, influence, and transform how we live now and into the future. You’ll learn from an expert team who has been teaching spatial and interior designers for nearly forty years.

In our studios, you’ll work on design briefs across the field of spatial and interior design. We encourage you to find your own voice and respond imaginatively to your place in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. You test and evolve your ideas through drawings, models, digital simulations and hands-on prototypes, and work with community and industry partners.

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This is part of the Bachelor of Design Te Tohu Paetahi mō te Hoahoa.

Spatial and interior design is the design of human environments from the inside out. This major covers the theory and practical skills to prepare you for a career in this exciting field.

This is a highly interdisciplinary degree and there's cross-over with disciplines like visual art, textiles, industrial design and others. Our secret is to start with human experience - how spaces feel and function, and what they mean to people. You'll think about details like surface, colour, pattern, connection, and consider how materials and light can be used creatively to give spaces a particular character, and how things change over time.

Year 1

You’ll be introduced to essential spatial and interior design concepts and processes, and will focus on intimate spaces, exploring how we experience and perceive the things close to us. You’ll analyse familiar spaces from new perspectives, explore materials, develop your drawing and digital modelling skills, and work with materials, light, surfaces and time to create atmosphere.

In Semester 1, you study the following core courses:

In Semester 2, you study:

You’ll also start your courses from your second major, your minor(s) or elective courses.

Year 2

The focus this year is on shared spaces; places where we meet and interact with others. You’ll analyse real sites and make things in our workshops. You’ll apply your developing creative skills and design processes to new, more complex scenarios, and learn about producing instructional documentation.

Courses you study this year

You’ll also continue to take courses from your second major, your minor(s) or elective courses.

Year 3

This year, you'll consider public spaces and situations like streets, galleries, and public events. You'll take more control over the design process, building a brief in response to your own analysis of a given situation. You'll explore more advanced uses of digital tools, and reflect on your practice.

The year ends in a public exhibition to place your work in the public eye.

You study the following courses:

You’ll also continue to take courses from your second major, your minor(s) or elective courses.

Build your degree

Use our online tool to build your own degree and see what your three years of study could look like.

Build your degreeBuild your degree

  • Spatial designer/interior designer
  • Event and experience designer
  • Designing for stage and film
  • Furniture design
  • Retail design

Our graduates work in significant roles in major New Zealand interior design offices, lead their own firms, and work with community organisations like councils, museums, and schools.

They design residences and office interiors, healthcare spaces, gardens, kitchens, jewellery, and yacht interiors. They have contributed to the design of social housing, high-end apartments, retail and hospitality venues, and blockbuster film sets. They have exhibited at the Venice Biennale, and interned with Sundance Film Festival and MoMA in New York.


Find out more about industry trends, job descriptions and what employers may be looking for.

Spatial Design Careers

Student work

Check out a selection of award-winning student work from Spatial and Interior Design major students.

design sketch
Jamie Stoney, ‘Trace’
design sketch
Isobel Edmunds, ‘An Open Door’
design sketch
Jeremiah Rogo, ‘Vanua’
design sketch
Alessandra Mayo, ‘Gutter art’
design sketch
Sabrina Young, ‘Tanpopo’
Key features
  • Hands-on, studio-based learning
  • A blend of practical, imaginative and critical thinking
  • Learn to visualise space using models, drawings, digital simulation and physical prototypes
  • Unlock the potential of existing buildings and places through innovative design
  • Option to include subjects from across AUT in your degree
See yourself as
  • Fascinated with spaces, interiors, atmosphere and experiences
  • Driven by ideas and imagination
  • Someone who loves exploring and experimenting
  • A thinker, maker or planner

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.