Diploma of Interior Design Course Outline

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.

Getting Started

Welcome To IDI!


How To Use Our Course

What Do I Need?

Software And Devices


What Is Interior Design?

Quotes We Love

Philosophy Of Interior Design

The Visual Language Of Design

Understanding Design Theory

Elements Of Interior Design








Principles Of Design




Proportion And Scale


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.

Introduction to History of Style, Decoration and Architecture

What is Design History?

Why Learn Design History?

About this Design History


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


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)


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.

The Design Process

Concept Development

Applying The Concept To The Design


Colour Trends

Types Of Interior Design Styles


American Southwestern

Art Deco

Art Nouveau

Arts And Crafts

Belgian Minimalism


British Colonial


Californian Cool



French Provincial








Mid-Century Modern


Modern Australian

Modern Farmhouse

Modern Victorian




Shabby Chic




Urban Chic


Considering The Site

Building An Aesthetic Plan

Visual Communication

Elements Of 2D Visual Communication

Design Principles For 2D Visual Communication


Analysing A Sample Board Layout

How To Visually Present Ideas To Your Client

Concept Boards

Mood Boards

Sample Boards

Material Boards

Software And Tips For Creating 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.

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


Parts Of A Residential Building

Floor Plans

What Is A Floor Plan?

Parts Of The Floor Plan




Spatial Planning

Module 5 Lighting

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.


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


Dining Room




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 Colour

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.


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







Colour Temperature

Colour Undertone

Colour Harmony Groups

Creating Successful Colour Schemes 

Colour And Perception

Simultaneous Contrast

Colour Interactions

Planning A Colour Scheme


Communicating About Colour

How To Specify Colour Accurately

Sampling The Colours

Exterior Colour

Types Of Paint


Specialty Paint Finishes


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.

Wall Finishes







Flooring Materials

Hard Flooring Surfaces

Natural Stone Products

Manmade Products

Soft Flooring Surfaces

Carpet Construction


Decorative Details

Plaster Details

Windows And Glass

Door Hardware

Kitchen, Bathroom And Laundry Finishes


Natural Stone Options

Solid Surfaces

Composite Stone

Wood Products

Splashbacks And Walls



Upholstered Panels

Environmentally Sustainable Design 

Choosing Sustainable Materials

Enhance Indoor Environmental Quality

Minimising Waste


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.

A Brief History Of Textiles

Textile Science


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.


History, Period & Contemporary Pieces

Upholstered Furniture

The Technical Side Of Upholstered Furniture

Applying The Elements & Principles Of Design

Specifying A New Piece

Furniture Safety






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.

The Home Is Where The Heart Is

Reasons For Using An Interior Designer

Building Relationships With Clients

Fee Structures

Talking About Money

Furniture Directory

Pricing Guideline


File Organisation



Useful Programs

The Design Process

How To Approach A Design Project

Phase 1 - Discover

Phase 2 - Plan

Phase 3 - Implement

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.

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


Additional Drawings

Axonometric Drawings



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.

Getting Started

Setting Up An Office

Home Office

Hiring Office Space

Designing Your Office

Space Planning

Drawing Your Plan

Consider Branding


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


Business Expenses

Finding Clients

Word Of Mouth

Social Media


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



Cover Letter


How To Make A Portfolio

Finding Work In The Field


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