How Lead Designer Emily Hiott Approaches Student Housing Interior Design

Getting the most out of your student housing design means finding an interior design professional that’s capable of providing the personalized service you need. No two student ho using properties are exactly the same: From design and functionality to amenities and layout, each student housing property should speak to the individual needs and preferences of the unique student residents they serve.

Meet Emily Hiott, Our Student Housing Interior Design Expert

One of our leading interior designers is Emily Hiott, our in-house student housing expert. Earning her B.S. in Interior Design from Appalachian State, Emily has nearly a decade of experience working solely in the student housing design space and is also a NCIDQ Certified Designer.

Her keen eye for detail and deep understanding of the student housing market allows her to develop stunning designs that don’t just look beautiful, but that also drive better leasing success.

What Do Students Want from College Living?

With nearly 10 years’ experience in the space, Emily knows a thing or two about what students want from their housing and — more importantly — why they want it. The following are just some of the most important student housing interior design trends she’s seen emerge over the years:

  • High-Speed Internet: So much of today’s college experience lives online, even if students live on-campus. For this reason, fast, reliable Wi-Fi is an absolute must-have for any student housing property hoping to have a glimmer of success with the number of leases they secure.
  • Communal Spaces: Large, communal living spaces are a great way to foster student bonding. Especially on the heels of such a socially isolating year following the 2020 pandemic, offering more opportunities for meaningful socialization is a top priority for student housing design.
  • Indoor/Outdoor Experiences: While we’re on the subject of being cooped up for a year, today’s students are also seeking more opportunities to reconnect with nature. Incorporating blended indoor-outdoor spaces in your student housing design is a great way to achieve this, such as an accordion door leading from your indoor fitness center to an outdoor yoga studio. Students need a space that feels as much like home as possible while also providing them with the tools necessary for academic success.
  • Upgraded Finishes: Today’s residents have a more refined palette, expect to enjoy a higher quality of living, and are looking to be “wow-ed” by their complex’s amenities. From quartz countertops and stainless-steel appliances to walk-in closets and recessed lighting, residents are looking for a luxe living experience unlike the college housing properties of yesteryear.


Why are These Student Housing Design Elements Essential?

If you’re thinking to yourself, “Wow, these students sound needy,” that’s not an unfair assessment: The incoming generation of college freshman were born into a society that prioritizes comfort and convenience above all else. Even students who weren’t privileged enough to grow up with such amenities in their own households may wish to have them on their journey to better opportunity through the college experience. Especially in today’s era of social media status signaling, strong interior design cannot afford to be overlooked in the student housing landscape. Everyone wants an Instagram-worthy apartment, and SouthPark is here to provide those experiences to your residents first hand.

Emily’s Approach to Student Housing Design

Developing stand-out student housing designs for her clients is what Emily does best. Here’s how she approaches each new student housing design request:

  • Studying the Market: As we mentioned before, no two student housing properties are the same. For instance, Texas’ strong agricultural influence will factor in heavily to how the space is ultimately designed. By contrast, these more western design influences may not be appreciated in a New York City setting. By studying the competition and local culture of each property location, Emily is able to design a personalized style that resonates with the prospective residents.
  • Finding the Void: While assessing the local competition, Emily makes it a priority to identify amenities or stylistic cues that are clearly missing from your current student housing design. Whether it’s insufficient study accommodations, an absent pool in a hot climate, or not taking advantage of available green space, identifying these missing elements can help you prioritize what features you need most in your design.
  • Speaking to Style: At the end of the day, your student housing property should be as much a reflection of your community’s overall vibe as it is an attraction to future residents. Emily takes the time to pinpoint the personal style preferences of each client to find unique products and features that speak to their individual aesthetic.
  • Making a Statement: From a regal puppy portrait to miniature men (and women) climbing the walls, finding something bold or unexpected that makes a statement in your space is a great way to stand out from the crowd. Drawing equally from your personal preferences and the local culture, Emily is highly adept at capitalizing on quirky elements that draw the right kind of attention.

If you’re looking for high-quality interior design from a student housing expert, then you need Emily Hiott as your interior design project manager. An expert at creating impactful designs that students actually want to live in, Emily is committed to offering clients a beautiful end result that’s on-time and on-budget. Schedule a student housing design consultation with Emily or another member of the SouthPark Interiors team today!