Interior Design Diploma | National Design Academy

Diploma in Professional Interior Design

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If you are interested in pursuing a career in interior design or would just like to learn a bit more about skills, processes and creativity involved in the subject, then the Diploma in Interior Design is the perfect course for you.

About the course

This Diploma in Interior Design is a great introduction into interior design which provides you with a validated and accredited interior design course. The course is flexible and can be studied via part-time distance learning, allowing you to continue with existing work and family commitments, or you may attend our In Studio courses for a ‘fast-track' to the qualification - ideal if you are looking for a career change or entry into Higher Education.

The Diploma in Interior Design will give you the skills you need to design your own project or help family and friends with theirs, giving you the confidence to move on to bigger projects or higher education.

As our 'access to Higher Education' qualification, successful Level 3 Diploma students are guaranteed a route to our Foundation Degree in Interior Design course. For a career in interior design you can then progress through the Foundation Degree (FdA) in Interior Design to BA (Hons) Interior Design. Both Degree level interior design courses are validated and awarded by Staffordshire University,  both studied via online distance learning.

No qualifications are required to enrol on this diploma course, and if you already hold a Level 3 or equivalent qualification in an Art and Design based subject, you can enrol straight onto the Foundation Degree in Interior Design. If you already have an HND or Foundation Degree in Interior Design, you can enrol straight on to our BA (Hons) top-up course.

If you still have questions feel free to call us for further information on 01159 1234 12, or alternatively, why not book a place on one of our Interior Design Course Open Days to come along and talk to the Tutors, view students' work and take a tour of the Academy?

Who should do this course?

  • Have you already designed successful schemes for your home and for your family and friends?
  • Do they often encourage you to start your own business?
  • Would you like a career change but don't have the confidence, experience and qualifications?
  • Do you have creative talent but need professional training?
  • Do you enjoy interior design as a hobby and read interior design magazines?
  • Are you interested in becoming an interior designer?

...then this is the interior design course for you!

Some materials will be required if you wish to complete work by hand these include :

    • A Scale Rule with 1:10, 1:20, 1.50 and 1:100 scales
    • Scalpel and blades
    • Steel Ruler
    • Cutting Mat etc
    • Set square (this does not have to be adjustable)
    • A3 Paper
    • A3 Tracing Paper
    • Drawing Pens 0.5, 0.3 and 0.1
    • An A3 or A2 drawing board (this is optional)

For specific requirements please speak to a tutor who will be happy to advise you.


Study online

Everyone is different. If you can study for 10-12 hours per week you can complete the course in 10 months. If you have more time to spare then you can complete your Diploma more quickly. Most students complete the course in 6-12 months. Students are expected to complete the course within 12 months.  

Please Note: If you opt for Home Study you will not be required to attend the Academy at any point throughtout the course.

Study In-studio

If you prefer to study in a classroom based environment then the in - studio course could be for you, you will be required to attend the Academy in Nottingham for 2 weeks. Most students complete the course within 3 months.Students are expected to complete the course within 12 months. 

Week 1
In Studio (see dates below) 
Weeks 2, 3, 4 & 5
At home - complete a design project (approx 30hrs)
Week 6
In Studio (see dates below)

See dates below - please check the dates for the 2nd Studio week carefully as these may not be exactly 6 weeks after the 1st Studio week due to other Workshops and timetables

Week 1 Week 2
16 - 20 January 2017 27 February - 3 March 2017    
3 -7 April 2017 15 - 19 May 2017
5 - 9 June 2017 17 - 21 July 2017

Please Note:Please ensure you are able to attend the two weeks as above as these are fixed dates and are not changeable, if for any reason you are unable to attend the second week, you would then be required to switch to Online Study. 

Employability & progression

Once you have completed the Level 3 Diploma in Professional Interior Design Skills, you are guaranteed a route to Foundation Degree (FdA) in Interior Design; validated and awarded by our partner, Staffordshire University. This is delivered online by our Virtual Learning Studio (VLS) where you can access the course which contains thousands of links to interior design information, meet new friends and keep in touch through the Student Forum. You'll also receive regular updates on the latest trends and exhibitions.

Alternatively, you can become a freelance Interior Design Consultant or work in a related industry such as kitchen design, soft furnishings or design retailer.

Course content

Show course modules

This unit defines interior design and explains how interior design has changed throughout time. Most designs have their origins in history and the unit looks at selected historical periods and considers the impact of that period on present day designs. This is particularly useful for those working on older properties who would like to retain some of the features or decorate in a particular historical style.

Within this unit the work of leading designers who are working within interior design will be explored. You will find out what inspires designers, where their concepts and ideas come from and how those ideas are developed by the designer into interior schemes. You will also look at how interior design may be loosely grouped into styles; a particular interest in a certain style of design such as International, Country, or Contemporary, may inspire an entire career. You will be introduced to the practicalities of running an interior design project and the responsibilities of being an interior designer. There are many interesting facets to an interior designers work which you will investigate during the unit including; the scale of projects you may undertake, tradesmen whose work you will co-ordinate and commission, the factors involved in selecting good products and managing the stages of design projects from initial contact through to project scheduling.

Colour is an essential element of interior design. It is impossible to imagine a world without colour; it defines the way we see space, it gives shape to objects, it changes the appearance of walls or ceilings and it is present in absolutely every aspect of an interior. This unit investigates colour in all its forms; from the colour wheel and colour spectrum to the use of colour in interior design. The unit develops your understanding of colour which, in turn, provides you with essential knowledge about using colour in interior design.

 Drawing, whether by hand or computer, is the way that information about an interior design scheme is communicated from the first proposal stage to the final technical drawing presented to a contractor. Plans and elevations are essential to that process and there are generally agreed principles for producing design drawings. These are called ‘drawing convention’ and are the recognised principles upon which a technical drawing should be based. This unit guides you through the process of producing a set of drawings including plans and elevations, symbols, title block and other information which may be required during the course of an interior design commission.

Space planning is another essential interior design skill which contributes to the design of good functional and practical interior design. It is during the space planning stage of a project that the movement of people through an interior is taken into consideration. Space planning skills are especially important when commercial interiors such as retail or offices are involved but are just as valuable when planning a domestic kitchen or open-plan living area and absolutely essential when designing for smaller residential spaces such as apartments. Good space planning skills will make the movement through an interior safer, more efficient and more enjoyable.

The impact that wall and floor coverings have on an interior cannot be underestimated; the combination of these elements set the scene of the entire interior design scheme. Both light and sound is reflected or absorbed by these elements and furniture sits within them and is framed by them. This unit looks in detail at the choices, use and sources of wall and floor coverings, providing inspiration for a broad range of design approaches from traditional to thoroughly contemporary..

In this unit you will be able to recognise the suitability of fabrics for specific locations and functions and understand the legal requirements and commercial importance relating to fire retardant fabrics. You will understand how soft furnishings can change perceptions of height, width and light within a room and be able to select suitable fittings based on the style of headings, length and weight of fabric. Designers also need to know how to measure and estimate fabric requirements as they may be responsible for ordering fabric for a curtain maker.

Furniture is an essential component of a designed interior and can establish the mood of a scheme more than any other element. From the earliest antiques to the most contemporary prototypes, this unit looks at the development, designers, manufacturers, auction houses and suppliers of furniture from all over the world. From classical to contemporary, furniture has the power to make or break a design. You will also look at those designers, manufacturers and suppliers whose work influences the way we live today.

Lighting is one of the most complex and important, design elements to understand. Creating an effective lighting scheme is as important a design decision as choice of colour, furniture and spatial layout; this unit will show you how to use light effectively within your designs.
A large part of lighting design involves developing an understanding of the balance between light and shadow which is essential for creating interesting interiors. When used appropriately, lighting enhances an interior in a way that no other medium can match. The unit shows you how a lighting scheme should be developed alongside and be integral to an interior design scheme.

Within this final unit, an understanding of the importance of structuring a business will begin to be developed. Whether working within the creative industries or starting your own interior design studio, the importance of understanding good business practice cannot be overstated.
It is possible to be a very creative and inspirational designer but this, on its own, does not mean that an interior design business will be successful. There are a great many skills associated with running an interior design business and this unit will guide you through the stages of establishing good business practice.

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