Course Outline for Explore a Career in Interior Design

Week 1

Lesson 1- The Vast World of Interior Design

This first lesson will open your eyes to all the career possibilities available to you in the world of interior design, and particularly in the realm we'll be focusing on: residential design. You'll explore the wide range of opportunities and challenges you'll encounter as you design these spaces, whether you're creating a comfortable family room or outfitting a sleek urban penthouse. Then you'll take a look at the other side of design, the commercial sphere, where interior designers create everything from exclusive boutique hotels to Madison Avenue retail storefronts. This lesson also explains the differences between interior design and interior decoration so that you can choose the discipline that suits you best. By the end of this lesson, you'll be familiar with many types of careers you probably never knew existed. With this introduction, you'll be on your way to becoming part of the design community.


Lesson 2- Tools of the Trade

In Lesson 2, I'll introduce you to the specialized drawing tools interior designers use to help them create and present their designs. Then we'll explore some fundamental concepts—the elements of design—that will serve as the building blocks of all the compositions you create. Finally, we'll review the principles of design—guidelines for combining these elements into beautiful compositions. If you already feel confident in your abilities to design, this lesson will give you a checklist to make sure your designs work visually. And if you're a bit nervous or insecure about creating your designs, these skills will provide a safety net to assure that your designs are harmonious and beautiful.

Week 2

Lesson 3- You Gotta Have Style

This lesson takes you on a journey throughout the past and present, and prepares you for your future designs as we explore a plethora of design styles. We begin in the Renaissance in Italy and move throughout Europe, from England to Germany, and learn about the progression of interior spaces into the modern age. We then discover the latest trends of today and see which styles are the most popular in cutting-edge homes. And finally, we go around the world and look at how our global world and unique cultures can help us create unique styles we can incorporate into homes today.

Lesson 4- Colors of the World  

In Lesson 4, we'll be covering one of my favorite topics of interior design—color! We'll start off by briefly exploring the science behind color and why we see the way we do. Then I'll show you a tool to help you start building harmonious color palettes. Next, we'll take a look at some of the surprising things that can happen when you put the wrong colors together. By knowing about these unexpected optical illusions, you'll be able to prevent mistakes in your own designs. And finally, you'll learn about the various cultural associations people have with color and discover how you can influence the mood of others through the colors you select for your designs.

Week 3

Lesson 5- Plans, Elevations, and Details—Oh My!

As an interior designer, you can let your imagination run wild—but how can you make sure that the ideas in your head materialize in the space you're designing? That's where architectural drawings come in. They communicate the designer's vision to the clients, the contractors, the architect, and others. In this lesson, you'll get an overview of the kinds of drawings interior designers use throughout the design process. You'll learn to identify and read various types of technical drawings, including floor plans, elevations, sections, and details.  Then you'll explore drawings in three-dimensions as we discuss axonometric, one-point, and two-point perspective presentation drawings.

Lesson 6- Plan That Space!

Sharpen those pencils because this lesson is going to get down to the nitty-gritty of design. We're talking feet and inches as we look at the guidelines and standard measurements that are the industry-wide rules of thumb when planning spaces. Before you can think three-dimensionally, you've got to start with a simple piece of paper and an architect's scale and make sure that you can get all the necessities to fit within a space—where they're comfortable without being tight and spacious without feeling empty.

Week 4

Lesson 7- Living in a Material World

So, your space is all laid out. But your clients won't be living in a graph paper world! In this lesson, we'll be exploring the various types of materials available you can use to achieve beautiful interiors. We'll be looking into a wide range of finishes, which include natural materials (including stone and wood), synthetic materials (tile, laminate, and resilient flooring to name a few), and carpet. By the end of this lesson, you'll have the knowledge to start transforming your pencil-and-paper notions into a full-color, textural space!

Lesson 8- The Fabrics of Our Lives

As an interior designer, you'll spend a lot of time dealing with textiles. Fabrics, after all, cover our interior world—from bedding to window treatments to upholstery. In this lesson, you'll get an introduction to the various types of fibers available, as well as their various strengths and weaknesses, so you can make best selections for each application.  After mastering the various types of textile goods, you'll take a closer look at where you'll be using these fabrics, starting with the various styles of bedding and pillows.  You'll finish up the lesson with windows—or, more precisely, window treatments—and get some pointers on how to successfully design draperies that will beautifully frame the transition between your stunning interior design and nature's beauty of the outdoors.

Week 5

Lesson 9- Lights, Camera, Action!

Light is one of the most important but also one of the trickiest elements to get right in an interior space.  This lesson will explain the psychology behind good lighting design and help you create the right effect in your space while making it visually interesting without becoming overwhelming or flat and dull.  You'll also become familiar with the various types of light fixtures available to use in your designs and learn how to select from the many types of artificial light sources available on the market today.

Lesson 10- Design for All

With the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, barriers were literally removed, allowing a previously excluded population access to spaces meant for everyone.  In this lesson, you'll explore how to incorporate some of the requirements of this act into the home, creating spaces that allow retirees to age gracefully in their homes.  And for users with more specific disabilities, you'll learn how to adapt their spaces to allow them to maintain their independence through your design choices.

Week 6

Lesson 11- It's Not Easy Being Green

Increasingly, people in the world are becoming aware that we have limited resources at our disposal.  Many in the interior design industry are pioneering new ways of designing that look at the life cycle of a product and consider the environmental implications.  In this lesson, you'll learn about green design, which is the art of creating beautiful spaces that are efficient in their use of energy and natural resources.  You'll learn about various types of green certification so you aren't mislead by false claims and explore specific things you'll want to consider when dealing with certain types of products.

Lesson 12- Taking Care of Business

In this lesson, the course culminates with practical advice on how to set up and run your own interior design business.  You'll get some suggestions on how to set up your studio by determining the legal business structure, advice on how to look the part, and practical recommendations for outfitting your space. Then, you'll move on to the fine art of getting and serving clients, including suggestions on marketing yourself and setting your pricing structure so you can make money doing what you love.  Finally, I'll offer some advice as you navigate the construction process with your contractors, clients, and vendors.

course reviews

What do others think?

‘This course sparked an even stronger desire in me to learn beyond what I learned here, which is the highest compliment I can extend. Sarah's lessons were so informative and never boring. She also gives you strong support and positive encouragement along the way in the discussion area. I recommend this course highly to anyone interested in interior decorating and design, either just for their own personal use or as a career. And I envy you lucky people who will be having Sarah as their instructor in the future! I'll miss her and this course!’

Show more reviews

Ready to get started?

Enrol Now