Virtual reality (VR) is an emerging technology that is being used in a wide range of fields such as medicine, gaming, psychology and sociology. The use of VR is promising in the field of education and requires investigation, but research on the use of VR in education is still limited. This enables the exploration of new territories, and design education is one of them. Design education, an important part of the curriculum of architecture students who aim to conceptualize problem-solving, is still taught using traditional methodologies with touches of digital technologies. Thus, there is limited research into the implementation of VR. This study proposes using VR in basic design education and focuses on the usability of VR, especially for problem-solving activities. It presents the literature on basic design education of digital approaches, VR technologies, usability criteria and the technology acceptance model. In order to analyse the usability of VR, we conducted an experimental study with 20 first-year interior architecture and architecture students. We found that, statistically, there is a significant difference in terms of 'the intention to use' and 'the perceived enjoyment' between the VR group and the paper-based group. Moreover, there is, statistically, a difference in effectiveness within the paper-based group and the VR-based group when one compares the success of two types of design problems in the same group. Thus, one can summarize that using VR can strongly enhance problem-solving activities in interior architecture and for architecture students and that one can consider it to be a promising and complementary tool in basic design education.