Interior Design Courses

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Interior design is the art of managing the various elements in a room or building such as colour, lighting, layout, and so on to effect the best use of a particular space. While interior design is all about optimizing and harmonizing all kinds of interior environments, for most people the practice is most readily associated with home improvement. Creating a beautiful and comfortable living space is neither easy nor is it cheap. Enlisting the services of a good interior designer will undoubtedly help to transform your home; however, with so many people now mired in financial difficulty, more and more people are choosing to take the more affordable DIY option. A part-time course in Interior Design will help you avoid any of the potential pitfalls and further financial woe of getting it wrong by teaching you the most efficient and cost-effective ways of turning your living space into the perfect home.

What does interior design involve

The range of areas covered on an interior design programme will depend heavily on the type of course you choose to do. Some courses are largely introductory and will run for a relatively short period of time (ten weeks or so) whereas a part-time BA in Interior Architecture, for instance, could run for up to four years. There are a number of options for homeowners looking for guidance in redesigning or renovating their place of residence. Practical interior design classes are aimed at those looking to create a stylish and personally designed home on a shoestring budget. The focus on such courses is on developing the skills and confidence required to create a home that expresses the participant s own sense of style. Learners will be given training in spatial planning and proportion, lighting, colour usage and decoration. They will also be shown how to create items using the most cost-effective materials. More extensive courses such as a Certificate in Interior Design are designed for those with no prior design experience (though a decent level of interest is required) and will look at additional aspects such as design history, drafting, and building materials. They will also offer advice on portfolio preparation for students who may wish to continue their studies on more advanced programmes. These come in the form of diplomas, advanced diplomas and degrees all of which aim to assist in a student s professional skill development. Diploma and Advanced Diplomas in Interior Design can be taken either online or in a class-based environment. Students will learn about creating harmony, rhythm and radiation in a space. Courses at this level will dedicate much more time to the minutiae of interior decoration such as the psychology of colour, using both artificial and natural lighting, wall coverings, applied finishes and plenty more besides. Such elements are studied in yet greater detail at degree level. A BA in Interior Design will develop a student s work practice to industry standard. He or she will learn how to produce advanced computer-aided visualisations using the latest software packages. Learners can also expect such courses to reflect the modern tendency towards sustainable design, conversion, refurbishment and retrofitting. Graduates will not only receive training in how to design for domestic dwelling places, but will also learn how to produce sophisticated designs for commercial properties such as restaurants, galleries and retail units. Students will also augment their extensive technical training with the soft skills they will need in dealing with future clients, such as presentation techniques.

Why do it

While many may take a part-time course in Interior Design as a step towards securing employment in the area, for most people such programmes offer them a way of re-imagining and re-invigorating their living spaces. Not only does self-directed design help reduce costs, but it also allows homeowners to personalise their place of residence and make it compatible with their own needs and personal tastes.

What comes next

For those who do wish to become interior design professionals, the most appropriate course of action would be to advance their studies as far as possible. Upon graduating from a degree course most graduates will have already become very capable interior designers. Many go on to secure employment within design and architectural firms; others may choose to continue their education in design (to masters degree level), while a large number also opt to start their own design businesses. Graduates can also work in related areas such as display design, design management, textiles and set-design, or as CAD specialists.

At a glance

The role of an interior designer is to manage the many elements of an indoor space so that it becomes visually and practically ideal for its intended user. Short-term Interior Design courses typically last around 10 weeks. Interior Design Certificates can take between 6 and 9 months. Diploma-level Interior Design programmes can last for up to 2 years; degree-level courses are typically of 3 to 4 years duration.

Frank Bolger

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