Problem Solving and Critical Thinking for Designers
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More About This Title Problem Solving and Critical Thinking for Designers


The essential guide to decision making and problem solving for the interior designer

The interior design profession requires effective problem solving and critical thinking, as they impact all phases of the design project and most work activities of the interior designer. Whether you are a student or professional designer, much of what you do involves these skills. Although most of us do not even think about what we do in terms of these activities, they are a constant part of design. They are also skills that must be performed successfully outside a professional career. Improving these skills makes you a more sought-after employee and designer, effective business owner, and fulfilled individual. Problem Solving and Critical Thinking for Designers will put the reader on the correct path to a solutions-oriented practice. Using her trademark accessible and conversational approach, Christine Piotrowski guides readers through the process of how the working designer solves problems and makes decisions. Some of the topics she discusses are:

  • Design process

  • Communication

  • Asking questions

  • Problem definition and analysis

  • Decision-making process

  • Negotiation

  • Working with others

  • Ethical decision making

This book also features real-life scenarios and design problems that guide the reader toward making correct decisions in real-life situations.


Christine M. Piotrowski, FASID, IIDA, provides consulting services on business practices to interior designers. Now based in Phoenix, Arizona, she is a former professor of interior design at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. She has more than twenty-five years of commercial and residential design experience. Christine is the author of the award-winning Professional Practice for Interior Designers and Becoming an Interior Designer, as well as coauthor of Designing Commercial Interiors, all published by Wiley.




CHAPTER 1: Thinking Critically.

What Is Critical Thinking?

Who Is a Critical Thinker?

The Importance of Thinking Critically in Interior Design.

It Is Not Criticism.


For Discussion.

CHAPTER 2: Design as Process.

The Design Process—A Brief Review.

For Whom Do We Design?

Not the First Answer.

Using Time Effectively.

Design Thinking.


For Discussion.

CHAPTER 3: Problem Definition and Analysis.

Goals and Objectives.

Problem Definition.

Problem Analysis.


Design Concept Statements.


For Discussion.

CHAPTER 4: Asking Questions.

The Purpose of Asking Questions.

Listening Skills.

Asking the Right Questions.

Is There Always a Right Answer?


Avoiding Disputes.



For Discussion.

CHAPTER 5: Looking for Answers—Research Methodologies.

Types of Research.

Evidence-Based Design.

Developing a Research Project.

Assessing Information.

Assessing Information from the Internet.


For Discussion.

CHAPTER 6: Decision Making.

Making Decisions.

What Constitutes Decision Making?

Decision-Making Strategies.

Why We Make Wrong Decisions.


For Discussion.

CHAPTER 7: Ethical Decision Making.

The Importance of Ethical Decision Making.

Business versus Ethical Conflicts.

Client Expectations.


For Discussion.