NCIDQ Exam Reference Materials

Most of the content of the NCIDQ Examination pertains to a common body of knowledge that is generic to the practice of interior design. A well-rounded period of professional practice is the best preparation for the exam. However, you are encouraged to supplement your education and experience by reviewing interior design resources—particularly those focusing on areas in which you may be less skilled or experienced.

The materials listed here can provide a helpful supplement to your understanding. This list does not represent the entire body of information to be used as study material, and NCIDQ does not warrant or guarantee all information contained in these references. Although the list may include more than one reference that covers a content area, one such reference may be enough—and other resources that are not on the list may adequately cover the content area.

Standard Forms and Documents

General familiarity with project forms, contractual agreements and construction documents is important throughout the practice of interior design. These forms are individually or jointly copyrighted and provided by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA).

Examples include:

  • Standard Form of Agreement between Owner and Designer
  • General Conditions to the Contract for Furniture, Furnishings and Equipment
  • Forms for change orders, addenda/um, and bonding of bids, performance and materials

Trade Journals/Magazines/Product Manuals

A number of industry publications provide current technical information.

Building Codes

The following building codes are currently in use in various parts of the United States and Canada:

  • IBC – International Building Code
  • Life Safety Code of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
  • National Building Code of Canada, 2005 edition


  • Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and ADA-ABA (Architectural Barriers Act) Guidelines
  • American National Standards Institute (ANSI), "Specifications for Making Buildings and Facilities Accessible to and Usable by Physically Handicapped People"
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Standards and Practices


NCIDQ uses a wide variety of books as references when developing multiple-choice exam questions. This list is not exhaustive, but represents books that are frequently used by our exam writers.

Binggeli, Corky. Building Systems for Interior Designers, second edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2009. | 

Ballast, David. Interior Construction & Detailing for Designers and Architects, third edition, Professional Publications, 2005. |

Ching, Francis D.K. Building Construction Illustrated, fourth edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2008. |

Ching, Francis D.K. and Winkel, Steven R. Building Codes Illustrated: A Guide to Understanding the 2006 International Building Code, second edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007. |

Coleman, Cindy, editor. Interior Design Handbook of Professional Practice. McGraw-Hill, Inc., 2001. |

De Chiara, Joseph, Panero, Julius and Zelnik, Martin. Time-Saver Standards for Interior Design and Space Planning, second edition. McGraw-Hill, Inc., 2001. |

Downey, Joel and Gilbert, Patricia K. Successful Interior Projects Through Effective Contract Documents. R.S. Means Company, Inc., 1995. |

Evan Terry Associates, P.C., editors. Pocket Guide to the ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities, third edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007. |

Farren, Carol E. Planning & Managing Interior Projects, second edition. R.S. Means Company, Inc., 1999. |

Gordon, Gary. Interior Lighting for Designers, fourth edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003. |

Harmon, Sharon Koomen and Kennon, Katherine E. The Codes Guidebook for Interiors, fourth edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2008. |

International Code Council, Inc. 2009 International Building Code, 2009. |

Karlen, Mark. Space Planning Basics, third edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2009. |

Knackstedt, Mary. The Interior Design Business Handbook: A Complete Guide to Profitability, fourth edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005. |

McGowan, Maryrose and Kruse, Kelsey. Interior Graphic Standards. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003. |
Student Edition @ |

McGowan, Maryrose. Specifying Interiors: A Guide to Construction and FF&E for Commercial Interiors Projects, second edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006. |

Mitton, Maureen. Interior Design Visual Presentation: A Guide to Graphics, Models, and Presentation Techniques, third edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2008. |

Peña, William M. and Parshall, Steven A. Problem Seeking: An Architectural Programming Primer, fourth edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2001. |

Piotrowski, Christine M. Professional Practice for Interior Designers, fourth edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007. |

Piotrowski, Christine M. and Rogers, Elizabeth A. Designing Commercial Interiors, second edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007. |

Rengel, Roberto J. Shaping Interior Space, second edition. Fairchild Publications, Inc., 2007. |

Reznikoff, S.C. Interior Graphic and Design Standards. Watson-Guptill, 1986. |

Willbanks, Amy; Oxford, Nancy; Miller, Dana and Coleman, Sharon. Textiles for Residential and Commercial Interiors, third edition. Fairchild Publications, Inc., 2010. | not available

Winchip, Susan M. Fundamentals of Lighting. Fairchild Publications, Inc., 2008. |

Winchip, Susan M. Sustainable Design for Interior Environments. Fairchild Publications, Inc., 2007. |

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