An improved first year student experience is a strategic focus for higher education in an increasingly competitive marketplace. A successful peer tutoring program creates a visible community of practice, supports the student learning experience, elevates senior students as ambassadors of the program, and reinforces an emphasis on learning through collaborative exchange. The Interior Architecture program at the Faculty of Built Environment, University of New South Wales, has supported a peer mentor program for several years, predominantly based on an anecdotal understanding of student needs. Using an action research framework, this study reviews the current peer mentor program and develops a best practice model of peer tutoring in the first year design studio setting. This review is based on current scholarship on peer learning particularly in relation to design studio, the student voice from focus groups and exemplars from design programs in higher education.