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Course outline

International Certificate in Interior Design


Module 1

Visual Language of Interior Design

The first module is an introduction to the creative and exciting world of interior design.

You will be introduced to the elements and principles of design that are used to create harmonious and balanced interiors.

• Learn how to observe, evaluate and form opinions of different design styles by analysing interior spaces.

• Develop your ‘designer’s eye’ and understand how to apply the knowledge and create inspirational designs for home and work environments.

Module Content :

  • Getting Started
  • Welcome To IDI!
  • Modules
  • How To Use Our Course
  • What Do I Need?
  • Software And Devices
  • Materials
  • What Is Interior Design?
  • Quotes We Love
  • Philosophy Of Interior Design
  • The Visual Language Of Design
  • Understanding Design Theory
  • Elements Of Interior Design
  • Space
  • Line
  • Shape
  • Colour
  • Texture
  • Light
  • Pattern
  • Principles Of Design
  • Balance
  • Rhythm
  • Emphasis
  • Proportion And Scale
  • Harmony

Module 2

History of Style, Decoration and Architecture

This comprehensive module takes you on a fascinating journey, beginning with the origins of decorative finishes seen in cave paintings and ancient dwellings and leads you through the history of design and architecture to the present day.

Full of visual images and information, Module 2 will convey the meanings and messages behind the styles and decorative images you encounter.

• Learn to recognise architectural and decorative details influenced by ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian architecture, Neo-Classicism and more recent design styles.

• Incorporate these ideas into your designs, adding originality and creativity to your work.

• Gain an appreciation of art and design history and how it will continue to be an influence both in the present and the future.

Module Content :

  • Introduction to History of Style, Decoration and Architecture
  • What is Design History?
  • Why Learn Design History?
  • About this Design History
  • Classical
  • Ancient Greece (1000–100 BC)
  • Ancient Rome (500 BC–500 AD)
  • Byzantine (500–1500)
  • Moorish (700–1500)
  • Romanesque (800–1200)
  • Gothic (1150–1400)
  • Renaissance (1400–1600)
  • Baroque (1590–1725)
  • Rococo (1715–90)
  • Neoclassical (1714–1850)
  • Palladianism – Britain (1715–1800)
  • Georgian / Colonial – Outside Of Britain (1714–1830) 
  • Federal – USA (1780–1830)
  • Greek Revival – Britain (1790–1850), USA (1830–60)
  • Furniture Designers
  • Empire – France (1799–15)
  • Industrial Revolution (1760s–1850s)
  • Victorian (1837–1901)
  • Gothic Revival
  • Italianate
  • Queen Anne
  • Victorian Interiors and Furniture
  • Arts and Crafts Movement (1870–1910)
  • Art Nouveau (1880s–1914)
  • Art Deco
  • French Art Deco (1920–39)
  • American Art Deco (1925–39)
  • Art Deco Around the World
  • Modernism (1917–33)
  • De Stijl (1917–31)
  • Bauhaus (1919–33)
  • Le Corbusier
  • The International Style (1930s–70s)
  • Post-World War II / Mid-Century Modern (1940s–60s)
  • Pop (1960s–70s)
  • Postmodernism (1970s–90s)
  • Minimalism (1990s to Today)
  • Contemporary
  • Sustainable Architecture and Design
  • Sustainability in Design History

Module 3

Design Styles

In this module, you will learn how to make strategic and conceptual decisions for your design projects based on the desired function, style and mood of the space.

• Explore some of the most common interior decorating styles, including traditional, country, eclectic and contemporary.

• Develop your knowledge of different structures, common problems and solutions so that you can communicate clearly with clients, suppliers and tradespeople.

• Evaluate a site and assess existing structures in order to create a master plan and implement your ideas.

• Discover how to keep informed of trends and how to look for trend inspiration.

• Learn how to visually present ideas to your client by creating a mood board.

Module Content :

  • Speaking The Language Fluently
  • Trends
  • Colour Trends
  • Types Of Interior Design Styles
  • African
  • American
  • Arts And Crafts
  • Art Nouveau
  • Art Deco
  • Bohemian
  • Coastal
  • Contemporary
  • Country
  • Eclectic
  • French Provincial
  • Gothic
  • Hamptons
  • Hollywood Glam
  • Industrial
  • Japandi
  • Japanese
  • Maximalism
  • Mediterranean
  • Mid-Century Modern
  • Minimalism
  • Modern Australian
  • Modern Farmhouse
  • Moroccan
  • Retro
  • Rustic 
  • Scandinavian
  • Shabby Chic
  • Traditional
  • Tropical
  • Urban Chic
  • Victorian
  • Wabi-Sabi
  • Considering The Site
  • Building An Aesthetic Plan
  • How To Visually Present Ideas To Your Client
  • Mood Boards

Module 4

Space Planning

Now you will discover how to apply the design elements to your spatial planning and design concepts, considering different furniture layouts to suit the intended function of the space.

• Learn how to draw a floor plan, rearrange an existing space and plan a new layout for a renovation project.

• Study the different architectural elements that will be included in your floor plan, such as doors, windows, fireplaces and lighting fixtures.

• Become familiar with the functionality of different rooms and understand the role that furniture plays in the design process.

• Extend this project in subsequent assignments and develop a lighting plan, colour scheme and finishes.

• Build your first professional portfolio as you complete these exercises.

Module Content :

  • Space Planning And Proportion
  • Furniture Layouts
  • The Next Step In Space Planning
  • Styling An Existing Room
  • Living Room
  • Kitchen Design
  • Bathroom Design
  • Residential Building Design
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Orientation
  • Parts Of A Residential Building
  • Floor Plans
  • What Is A Floor Plan?
  • Parts Of The Floor Plan
  • Scale
  • Symbols
  • Abbreviations
  • Spatial Planning

Module 5


This module will enable you to discover the sources and properties of light, types of lighting and how the orientation of a space affects natural lighting.

• Learn how light affects the selection of colours on different surfaces, finishes and fabrics.

• Understand how to communicate your ideas clearly to electricians, builders and suppliers by specifying the correct products suitable for the intended purpose.

• Learn the various types of light bulbs available to interior designers and how to select the right one for a client’s room.

• Turn your creative vision into reality by using natural and artificial lighting to create a stunning effect in your interior design projects.

• Incorporate these ideas into your plan as you continue with the renovation project that started in Module 4.

Module Content :

  • Lighting
  • Light And How We See
  • Colour Properties Of Light
  • Colour Temperature
  • Colour Rendering
  • Natural Light
  • Evaluating Natural Light Levels
  • Artificial Light 
  • Sources Of Artificial Light
  • Site Analysis
  • Mounting Options
  • Types Of Light Fittings
  • Light Levels
  • How Light Is Measured
  • Designing With Light
  • Types Of Artificial Light
  • Lighting Design
  • Lighting The Home
  • The Front Door
  • Entrance And Hallway
  • Living Rooms
  • Kitchen
  • Dining Room
  • Bedrooms
  • Bathrooms
  • Stairs
  • Exterior Light Fittings
  • Electrical, Lighting And Home Technology
  • The Smart House
  • Communicating With Your Builder
  • Lighting And Electrical Plans
  • Power Outlets
  • Symbols Used To Create A Reflected Ceiling Plan
  • Lighting Symbols

Module 6


This module will introduce you to the power and psychology of colour and how it can be used as a pivotal design tool in your projects.

• Learn about the properties of colour and understand how it can change the mood of a space, alter perceptions and create the intended style. Discover the effect of natural and artificial light on colour and surface textures.

• Use the colour wheel as inspiration and guidance to develop harmonious schemes and gain the confidence to use it effectively. Discover that there are no bad colours, only bad combinations.

• Experience the power of using colour in all aspects of your design projects to trigger different responses, such as vibrant and uplifting or muted and restful.

• Familiarise yourself with paint systems, products and specifications.

• Put together multiple colour schemes to accompany the renovation project from Module 4.

Module Content :

  • Colour
  • How Design Elements Interrelate
  • Guidelines For Using Colour
  • Colour And Light
  • Colour Psychology And Symbolism
  • The Emotional Effect Of Colours
  • Colour Symbolism
  • Colour Mixing Systems
  • The Human Eye
  • Additive Colour Mixing
  • Subtractive Colour Mixing
  • The Colour Wheel
  • Primary Colours
  • Secondary Colours
  • Tertiary Colours
  • Properties Of Colour
  • Hue
  • Value
  • Tint
  • Shade 
  • Tone
  • Chroma
  • Colour Temperature
  • Colour Undertone
  • Colour Harmony Groups
  • Creating Successful Colour Schemes 
  • Colour And Perception
  • Simultaneous Contrast
  • Colour Interactions
  • Planning A Colour Scheme
  • Flooring
  • Communicating About Colour
  • How To Specify Colour Accurately
  • Sampling The Colours
  • Exterior Colour
  • Types Of Paint
  • Wallpaper
  • Specialty Paint Finishes
  • Painters
  • Colours On Computers
  • Interior Paint Colour Viewers And Visualisers
  • Trend Forecasting
  • Staying Inspired

Module 7

Interior Finishes

You will learn how to apply the concepts of three-dimensional design to the reality of a finished space.

• Discover the importance of ensuring quality finishes on the floor, walls and ceiling to create a striking and functional backdrop for furnishings and window treatments.

• Gain the product knowledge required to select and specify cost-effective finishes suitable for the intended end use to create a professional and enduring interior space.

• Find out how to plan and project manage the sequence of floor, wall and ceiling finishes required at different stages of a project.

• Create finish schedules for each room from the renovation project that began in Module 4.

Module Content :

  • Wall Finishes
  • Walls
  • Coatings
  • Veneers
  • Cladding
  • Mirrors
  • Wainscoting
  • Flooring Materials
  • Hard Flooring Surfaces
  • Natural Stone Products
  • Manmade Products
  • Soft Flooring Surfaces
  • Carpet Construction
  • Ceilings
  • Decorative Details
  • Plaster Details
  • Windows And Glass
  • Door Hardware
  • Kitchen, Bathroom And Laundry Finishes
  • Benchtops
  • Natural Stone Options
  • Solid Surfaces
  • Composite Stone
  • Wood Products
  • Splashbacks And Walls
  • Cabinets
  • Acoustics
  • Upholstered Panels
  • Environmentally Sustainable Design 
  • Choosing Sustainable Materials
  • Enhance Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Minimising Waste
  • Specifications 
  • Tips For Creating A Successful Design
  • Specifications For A Design Project
  • Lighting Schedule

Module 8

Decorative Textiles and Fabrics

This informative module introduces you to the history, beauty and luxury of decorative textiles and fabrics.

You will be shown how to appreciate the importance of including items with luxurious and aesthetic appeal as essential components in your design, regardless of the available budget.

• Discover the endless possibilities for using fabrics with style and flair to create eye-catching interior spaces. Gain the confidence needed to apply the elements of design and transform spaces by using textiles, fabrics and other decorative accessories.

• Learn about the technical properties of fabrics and their suitability for different end uses. Understand the functional and aesthetic properties required for bed linen, rugs and decorative textiles.

• Create fabric selections for each room from the renovation project that began in Module 4.

Module Content :

  • A Brief History Of Textiles
  • Textile Science
  • Fabrics
  • Decorative Textiles
  • Patterns And Prints
  • A Guide To Mixing Patterns
  • Choosing Fabrics For Interior Design
  • Fabric Compositions
  • Upholstery-Weight Fabrics
  • Curtain-Weight Fabrics
  • Eco-Friendly And Organic Fabrics
  • Window Furnishings
  • Specifying Fabrics
  • Fabric Abbreviations

Module 9

Furniture, Art and Accessories

The pinnacle of great design is working with beautiful objects, furniture and art. With reference to Module 2 and the history of interior design, you will learn how furniture styles have been developed over the years for specific uses and applications.

• Apply your knowledge of design elements to the reality of placing beautiful objects into perfectly planned and well thought out spaces.

• Experience the sense of achievement when your space planning and elevations come to life.

• Showcase your creative potential with coordinated, harmonious interiors.

• Create the complete decor scheme for each room from the renovation project in Module 4.

Module Content :

  • Furniture
  • History, Period & Contemporary Pieces
  • Upholstered Furniture
  • The Technical Side Of Upholstered Furniture
  • Applying The Elements & Principles Of Design
  • Specifying A New Piece
  • Furniture Safety
  • Art
  • Sculpture
  • Screens
  • Photography
  • Accessories
  • Area Rugs
  • Unique Rug Styles

Module 10

Working With Clients

This module teaches you the work practices of professional designers. You will be shown the vital procedures and thought processes that bring a design to completion in the real world.

• Learn how to support your creative knowledge with the practical application that ensures success from the start of a project through to completion.

• Ensure that your proposals and management skills will bring work in on schedule and budget for any design project, whether for yourself or for a client.

• Gain the confidence needed to work professionally in the design industry.

Module Content :

  • The Home Is Where The Heart Is
  • Reasons For Using An Interior Designer
  • Building Relationships With Clients
  • How To Approach A Design Project
  • Analysis Phase
  • Your First Meeting
  • Questions To Ask
  • Setting Project Priority
  • Site Evaluation
  • Talking About Money
  • Concept Phase
  • Your Second Meeting
  • Visual Design Tools
  • Priorities For The Second Meeting
  • Final Design
  • Implementation Phase
  • Source And Specification
  • Schedule Of Work
  • Order Of Tasks
  • Project Cost
  • Your Fee Structure
  • Paperwork For The Interior Designer
  • Quotations
  • Agreements
  • Programs To Help With Your Paperwork
  • Safety On A Construction Site

Module 11

Visual Communication

In this module, you will be taught how to document your ideas and designs for clients, contractors and your own reference.

• Learn how to easily create a three-dimensional drawing from floor plans to help visualise the space and make more informed design choices.

• Find out how these drawings can help you win business and then manage the design process.

• Support your documentation with a clear set of drawings to ensure your ideas are interpreted correctly.

• Experience the pleasure of seeing your design concepts spring to life as projects are completed.

• Get creative and prepare a materials board with real samples for a kitchen fit out.

Module Content :

  • Communicating Accurately
  • Things To Consider
  • The Design Brief
  • Drawing: Its Relationship To Your Work
  • Imagining Colour
  • Developing A Concept
  • Drawing Equipment
  • Orthographic Drawings
  • Interior Elevations
  • Drawing Kitchen Elevations
  • Sections
  • Additional Drawings
  • Axonometric Drawings
  • Rendering
  • Sketching
  • Perspective Drawings
  • One-point Perspective
  • Two-point Perspective
  • How To Draw A One-point Perspective
  • How To Visually Present Ideas To Your Client

Module 12

Setting Up an Interior Design Business

If you are considering making design your career, this may be the decisive chapter that is the stepping stone to your future success.

• See yourself in the context of the design industry.

• Take professional advice from outstanding business consultants who work with creative, respected and successful interior designers.

• Benefit from this valuable information regarding business development, business practice and market positioning.

• Learn how to put together a professional portfolio and receive an insight on setting up your own website and social media networks.

Module Content :

  • Getting Started
  • Setting Up An Office
  • Home Office
  • Hiring Office Space
  • Designing Your Office
  • Space Planning
  • Drawing Your Plan
  • Consider Branding
  • Lighting
  • Technological Requirements 
  • Ergonomic Check List For Your Office
  • Desk Height
  • Sit & Stand Desk Options
  • Desktop Layout
  • Setting Up Your Business
  • Business Plan 
  • Business Branding
  • Business Name And Logo
  • Website
  • Business Expenses
  • Finding Clients
  • Word Of Mouth
  • Social Media
  • Website
  • Trade Discounts
  • Email Marketing
  • Direct Mail
  • Press Advertising
  • The Headline
  • Getting The Tone Right
  • Public Relations
  • Interior Design Career Paths 
  • What You Need When Applying For Work
  • Skills
  • Resumes
  • Cover Letter
  • Portfolio
  • How To Make A Portfolio
  • Finding Work In The Field