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Interior Design Study Guide (Online Course)

Updated on July 29, 2017

One of the areas where technology has made life so wonderful is in the area of online study where you can learn many professions through long distance education.

Studying online to become an interior designer is no exception as it is being offered as a distance learning course, a study that can now be achieved, being tutored in the comfort of your home.

It’s no news that online study programs are a great help if you have scheduling conflicts . . . maybe you have a half or full-time job; family obligations or you don't have the means to attend a university as an on-campus student especially for courses like interior design where you’ll tend to spend more on course materials and software.

But an online study has made nonsense of those conflicts. Isn’t it time to embrace this opportunity?

Aspiring to study for a diploma or a degree in interior design education? Online study opportunities are vast and very affordable as there are so many distance learning classes available, a good number offered by some of the most reputable schools and colleges of arts while others are offered by smaller design colleges that offer interior design studies as a stand-alone program.

Many of these schools and colleges that offer online programs have accreditation from institutions of repute, and will properly prepare students for a career in this highly competitive field.

What You Need to Know

So what do you need to know as someone aspiring to become an interior designer? The following are questions you’ll probably require answers to:

  1. Where to study online
  2. Which program to pursue – Diploma, HND, or BA
  3. Requirements for enrollment
  4. What job opportunities within the interior design industry
  5. Financial obligations

The answers to these questions will hopefully serve as guide that’ll help speed up your decision to study to become a part of this high-flying profession.

1. Where Can You Study Interior Design Online

A decade ago I’ll probably tell you there were just a handful of colleges offering interior design as an online course and I’ll probably just mention Canada, United States, a couple of countries in Europe, and South Africa on the entire African continent.

However, today, things are somewhat different and you will find more interior designing schools and colleges scattered all over the globe with a huge number of them offering design courses on the web.

2. Which Program Should You Pursue?

A formal training is essential to be a professional interior designer in a highly competitive but essential market in the building industry, but certainly, you have a choice of what to pursue educationally, and how far to go.

A formal training is essential to be a professional interior designer in a highly competitive but essential market in the building industry, but certainly, you have a choice of what to pursue educationally, and how far to go.

You can opt for, to begin with, the Diploma course – it’s always best to start at this stage where you are taught the fundamentals, like drawing, decorating, and simple perspectives. Topics covered include:

  • Form and space
  • Colour and texture
  • Technical expertise
  • Environmental and global awareness
  • Expressions of creative sensibilities

Then there is the HND Interior Design course. If you’ve had a foundation course in interior design and decoration and wish to go a step further to become much more professional in the industry, you can enroll for an HND course where you will also learn marketing and business skills related to the industry after completing of which you should be able to:

  • Control and design all the factors of internal spacing and layout
  • Remodel, renovate and reconstruct interiors
  • Offer simple project management services related to interiors

For a more advanced study, you may wish to obtain a BA Interior Design degree.

In this online program, you’ll learn the elements and principles of design with its practical application. You'll also learn about problem-solving in space planning, how to explore creative designs, the business aspects of interior design, and the use of CAD (computer aided designs) technology.

You will also be taught about the relationship between people and spaces . . . how interiors, if designed properly and inventively can influence human interaction, emotional responses, and improve the quality of human lives.

3. Requirements for Enrollment

Many believe that to become an interior designer, you must be creative and that is true to some extent, but many have become professionals in the field just by studying to become one.

However, there is no doubt that being creative is an added plus.

If you aspire to go for the diploma course, you don’t require much more than your academic marks and your creative abilities. Your creative ability must be demonstrated with a portfolio submission of your artistic and creative works.

However, to study and obtain Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design degree, you need to fulfill the following conditions:

  • The general requirements stated under Colleges of Arts and Sciences.
  • A total of 75 hours of art courses.
  • A foundation of fine arts courses
  • Required courses in art history
  • Credit hours selected from ceramics, advanced drawing, advanced design, printmaking, painting, photography, sculpture or visual communications.
  • Required fine arts courses in the interior design concentration.
  • Transfer students studying interior design must take a minimum of 12 credit hours of 100-level fine arts courses at University with 9 hours being in their area of specialization.

4. Job Opportunities

Formal training is required in this competitive job market but in many cases, an associate's degree in interior design can be adequate to get your foot through the door of the industry.

Even though it’s a competitive profession if you qualify as an interior designer you can either opt to work for an establishment, a small firm, or even for yourself. It all depends on your aspirations.

The best thing about interior design is that there are many ‘branches and twigs’ that sprout out from a huge fat ‘tree trunk’ – from consultancy to furniture design; home renovation to kitchen designs

Job opportunities include working for:

  • Interior design firms
  • Architectural firms
  • Hospitality design firms
  • Design departments of corporations and institutions
  • Carpet manufacturing industries
  • Commercial furniture dealerships and retailers
  • Real estate firms
  • Contract design firms
  • Home design magazine publications
  • Kitchen and bathroom manufacturers
  • Product, accessory, and furniture retailers
  • Stage set design firms

Here are some entry-level jobs you will also qualify for:

  • Interior Designer Assistant
  • Junior Designer
  • Business Development Coordinator
  • Interior Decorator
  • Color Consultant

5. How to Source for Funds to Study Interior Design

You might consider applying for financial aid to study interior design online but it can be a bit complicated. You need to start the process of applying at least three months before you plan to

You need to start the process of applying at least three months before you plan to enrol. Nothing wrong if you start researching, applying, or sourcing for this even if you haven't decided on which school you'll enroll in.


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If you can apply for one, scholarships and grants are the best types of financial aid because you don't have to repay.

Outside funding is another option worth considering . . . you’ll find some charities or benevolent individuals, charitable businesses, and community organizations that offer scholarships to study. And who knows, you may be lucky to get priority funding.

And of course, there is self-finance. If you are blessed enough to have funds at your disposal, that means you are good to go ahead to pursue your interior design education dreams conveniently.

Studying Online Requires Discipline

All in all, the good thing about studying your design course (or any other for that matter) online is that it can be slowed down or accelerated to suit your needs thus offering the flexibility that fits your busy lifestyle.

All class projects including attendance will be done through telephone, email, the internet, online forums, and courier services.

Though it takes discipline and motivation to stick with it, studying online can be exciting and if you are planning to study a course of the art like interior design, you’ll have an absolute ball.

© 2009 viryabo

Your Views Are Welcome

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    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 3 years ago

      In my case, i had Literature, Fine Art, a science subject and History. But that was decades ago.

    • profile image

      lala 3 years ago

      What subjects do you need to apply for interior design

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 4 years ago

      Hello Georgia, and thanks for stopping by. I'll try to answer your questions as briefly as is possible.

      Interior design is a wonderful profession and you are lucky and smart to be pursuing the course.

      Start off salary - this will always depend on the aspect of interior design you choose to work in. for instance, if you work in an architect's (of repute) office, you may have a high income due to the volume of work you'll have to do. You will enjoy it nonetheless.

      If you work in a defined niche, say in the lighting design industry, because it's a niche profession, you will have various clients from many industries - filming, tv studio lighting, private clients projects, commercial projects such as hotel lighting design, restaurants, disco clubs, stage lighting set up, etc...

      You may simply prefer to do - consultation services, project management as in managing an interior design project, 3D design services using powerful AutoCad software, etc..

      Any which way, the pay is always good, but its hard work, but fun hard work nonetheless.

      Promotion - this depends on if you are employed and not working for yourself. It will also depend on the organisation you work for.

      Business hours - if you work for yourself your business hours is of course flexible. If you are employed, it will depend on the company's working hours, probably 9-5 as is the norm. but as an interior designer, if you have great passion for the profession, you will find yourself working into the late hours, and no doubt enjoying it.

      That's the nature of this profession. the pay is very good, you get to meet new people all the time, even celebs, before you know it!

      And the greatest part of all is that you become friends with a good number of your clients. From there on, the sky is the limit.

      You are on a good path. I wish you all the best of luck.


    • profile image

      Georgia 4 years ago

      Hi I am an interior design student in cape town and would please like to know more about what the actual industry is like, if you can please let me know things like how much start off salary is, how much do you get later and how long it takes to get a promotion, business hours, everything! Thanks please email me

    • webrevolve profile image

      webrevolve 5 years ago from Liverpool

      great article viryabo, I've always been interested in anything to do with art and design, after studying Art as well as Product Design in high school. With the experience of using CAD I think I'de find it really enjoyable if I were to get involved in a learning course.

      Thanks for the course breakdown! :)

    • profile image

      chiara 5 years ago

      I'm really like the residential design, but I don't know if there are a master is still early to decide but I would love...thanks a lot :) bye...

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 5 years ago

      Hello chiara. There are many aspects of interior design you can pick to specialise in. For example, you can specialise in:

      Residential interiors

      Commercial interiors (hotels, clubs, restaurants etc.)

      Interior lighting design

      Interior design consultation services

      Stage set design

      3D rendering and animation (for interiors projects)

      Kitchen design and installation

      There are many others, but when you begin your interior design course, you will have the opportunity to discover what you may really like to specialise in.

      Best of luck.

    • profile image

      chiara 5 years ago

      hi, i'm an italian student and i think your article it's very good. Do you know what course is the best of interior design, because i'm very interested on study in the USA. thanks, bye!!

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 6 years ago

      Thank you for such nice comments Teresa, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      Take care and GodBless

    • eventsyoudesign profile image

      eventsyoudesign 6 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

      Great article. You really know how to present information and make it easy to read and understand. I think the Interior Design field is interesting. I studied Food Systems Management in college, but I have always been a creative person. I am glad I found your site and cannot wait to read more. Thanks! Teresa