Interior Design Fundamentals

Study Interior Design online. Self paced foundation course. Learn to design your own home or build your skills to work in the interior design industry.

Course Code: BSS203
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn to Design Interior Spaces

  • for homes, Offices, Commercial buildings, any interiors
  • a  solid foundation for anyone working with interior décor, furniture or design


Who Should Study this?

  • Aspiring interior designers
  • Artists, designers
  • Furniture retailers
  • Property managers and estate agents
  • Painters/decorators, builders and other trades people.


Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Interior Design
    • Introductory Considerations
    • Interior Designers & Skills Required
    • History of Interior Design
    • Popular Styles
    • Trends
    • Decorating with Colour
    • Decorating with Texture
    • Wabi-sabi
    • Decorating with Pattern
    • Decorating with Artwork
    • Decoration with Features
    • Principles
    • Other Influential Design Components
  2. Choosing Components
    • Introduction
    • Paints
    • Hard Materials. metal etc - glass, masonry, polymers, stone, tiles, plasterboard
    • Floor Treatments
    • Finishes
    • Soft Materials and Accessories
    • Choosing Furnishings
    • Window Coverings
    • Design Brief
    • Preparing Colour Samples and Materials Boards
    • Preserving Nature in Interior Design
    • Indoor/Outdoor Rooms and Spaces
    • Using and Placing Indoor Plants
  3. Choosing Services
    • Introduction
    • Types of Services -electricity, gas, water, telecommunications
    • Heating and Cooling
    • Managing Heat Transfer
    • Heating Options
    • Hot Water Systems
    • Lighting
    • Ambient Lighting
    • Task Lighting
    • Accent Lighting
    • Electrical Outlets & Light Switches
    • Telephone and Internet
    • Water Supply
    • Other Services
    • Smart Building Solutions
    • Robots for Cleaning
    • Collaboration in Creative Processes
    • On site Safety
  4. Redesigning an Old Building
    • Ethics and Legalities
    • Ethics of Building Preservation
    • What is Regulated
    • Planning Consent
    • Heritage and Conservation Areas
    • Evaluating the Site
    • Creativity
    • Determining a Client Goals
    • Changes? - Restoration, Renovation or Design
    • Redecoration
    • Reorganisation/Altering Space
    • Drawing Floor Plans
  5. Designing a New Building
    • Role of a Designer
    • Colour and Aesthetics
    • Physical Features
    • Practical Features
    • Luxury Features and Quality
    • Resources
    • Structures -considering size, level, straightness, type of materials
    • Sound and sound proofing
    • Acoustic Panels
    • Properties of Different Materials - Thermal, Electrical, Environmental, Economic, etc
    • Technology in Design
    • Sensors and Robotics in New Home Design
    • Design Simulation
    • CAD Design Process
  6. Altering Spaces
    • Working with a Brief
    • Spatial Awareness
    • Photos, Sketches, Accurate Measurements
    • Levelling
    • Using Computer Software
    • Spatial Planning
    • Use of Space - storage, work, social, private
    • Design Considerations - axis lines, focal points
    • Creating Flow
    • Creating Specific Areas
    • Using Views
    • Functionality, Proportion, Scale
    • The Kitchen Triangle Design
    • Altering Existing Spaces -Extensions, Conversions
    • Recreating Original Styles
    • Workplace Interiors.
  7. Organising the Interior
    • Introduction
    • Design Decisions for Organising Space - Harmony, unity, balance, scale, proportion, rythm, contrast, details
    • Reorganisation
    • Temporary or Permenant Change
    • Creating Ambience
    • Reorganising Furnishings
    • Maximising Use of Space -Decluttering, distancing, space saving furniture, using smaller items, using walls, visual effects
    • Storage Example - Butlers pantry
    • Creating Open Plan Spaces
  8. Designing for Health & Wellbeing
    • Introduction
    • Interior Materials for Better Health - paints, natural paint
    • Managing Bacteria, Rots, other Biological Hazards
    • Adhesives, Fabrics
    • Feng Shui
    • Biophilic Design
    • Green Design
    • Ergonomics
    • The Psychology of Interior Design
  9. Budgeting
    • Budgeting Priorities, Timing, Feasibility
    • Managing a Project
    • Implementing an Operational Plan
    • Controlling a Project
    • Creating a GANTT Chart
    • Critical Path Analysis
    • Invoicing
    • Bad Debts
  10. Special Project
    • Four parts to this project
    • Choose a room to design
    • Research design considerations
    • Prepare a design
    • Report on your design

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Describe different styles of interior design and their relationship to aesthetic and functional criteria, relative to varied historical and cultural contexts.
  • Discuss options and criteria used to choose the components used in an interior design including furnishings, wall and floor treatments, colour choices and decoration.
  • Determine services to be incorporated into an interior and where to install them.
  • Determine options for interior improvements in an old interior and compare the possibilities.
  • Determine options for interior development of a new interior and compare the possibilities.
  • Explain how spatial awareness and spatial planning skills can be used to alter spaces.
  • Explain how an interior might be improved by reorganisation of the components that already exist.
  • Explain how an interior can be designed to more conducive to the wellbeing of the occupants.
  • Prepare a budget for an Interior Design
  • Create a design for two rooms.


Good interior design ensures that the space in which we live, and work is suitable for its purpose. An office should be designed so that it helps workers to focus and pay attention in a light environment. A bedroom should be designed to be relaxing, and perhaps romantic. The design should suit the needs and wants of the individual(s) who is going to use the room.

When considering the needs of the individual, we should consider what anyone using the room might need, and match that with a number of different considerations including aesthetics, function, budget and maintenance requirements.

Good design is a balancing act - considering everything, and coming up with compromises that work to get the best possible result. 


Interior design may sometimes be less about bringing in, or changing, components and more about removing or reorganising what already exists. A competent interior designer can walk into a space and immediately get a sense of what is good or bad about it in terms of the overall design and its functionality. 

For example, a room that is set up as a family relaxation room, such as a sitting room or lounge, should have a warm and inviting feel to it that supports relaxation. One might expect it to have soft furnishings, a relatively subdued colour scheme, and warm lighting that can be adjusted. Furthermore, the location of furniture and fittings should complement the sense of relaxation that is being conveyed. Having to cross the room to turn on a light, or having to walk around a table, can interrupt the sense of calm that is intended. 

It is important to arrange or rearrange a space to optimise its appeal. To do so you need to understand how to work with design principles, components and environments to achieve the best possible results within the constraints identified by clients (or yourself).


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

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If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

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Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

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We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

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We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
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There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

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You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

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