The interior design profession is heavily impacted by the public perception of our industry. We can better develop a more accurate perception of our profession by maintaining an activate presence and utilizing our skills and knowledge as interior designers for community service. These opportunities allow us to engage members of our local community and provide a creative outlet to promote the interior design industry in a positive way.

This winter of 2016-2017, the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Advocacy Committee and IIDA Student Council joined forces for their second annual BRIDGE community outreach project, a pro-bono design initiative to connect communities in need with the talent and vision of our industry for lasting impact.

Check out the incredible before and after photos here

To share the value that interior design brings to the world around us, the IIDA team of volunteer designers devoted this year’s effort to Mary’s Place, a Seattle-based organization dedicated to empowering homeless women, children, and families to reclaim their lives.

The BRIDGE team decided to create a healing space as their objective, utilizing evidence-based and human- centered design as a way to illustrate the impact of design. The team found a room in need of transformation, a respite room at the Mary’s Place women’s day shelter. This particular room is a private space meant only for women who have been traumatized. Women must obtain permission to enter the room and they leave by 2:30 each day. We wanted to transform it into a space that feels safe and tranquil using color, light, and sensory-based design elements. The concept for the room became “The Nest” and “Perch”. It’s meant to be a place for them to rejuvenate and gather strength.

The non-structural design includes a new space plan, plus new lighting, acoustic ceiling, paint, flooring, furnishings, storage solutions, art and decor. This project is the first in a prototype design application for future IIDA projects of a similar nature; providing a toolkit and guide for creating small sanctuaries in other places of need throughout Seattle and beyond.

The final implementation of this project, which started in November of 2016, took place on May 5th – 7th. The staff and women of Mary’s Place were delighted with the results. 


IIDA NPC is continuing to look for committee members interested in community outreach to provide service work that is directly related to what we do as design professionals. Currently the committee is focused in Seattle, but would love to grow and develop opportunities on the East side of Washington and Idaho over the next year. If you are interested in participating, please contact the VP of Advocacy, for further information.