Studying residential interiors usually leads to a qualification in interior design and/ or interior decorating. This enables graduates to design interiors for new homes, or to remodel the layout of existing interiors. Interior designers require a talent for visual aesthetics and a strong understanding of how people use their homes today.

Colleges, trade schools, and universities provide residential interior classes on subjects that are usually part of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Design, or even as a component of Architectural studies. Qualifications range from certificates, associate diplomas, diplomas, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees.

Dependent upon the qualification you are interested in pursuing, the curriculum should cover the broad spectrum of aesthetics and color (color blindness will be a big handicap in this area); design principles; building processes; lighting; furnishings; and staging houses both for selling and living. Inter-personal skills, particularly client communication, as well as developing presentations are an important component of the skill-set that a residential interior designer needs to develop as well.

Typical coursework when studying residential interiors covers the following categories:

  • Architecture and interiors – Contemporary and historical styles and trends

  • Design – Color theory; textiles and fabrics; contemporary trends

  • Drafting and planning – CAD software; technical drawing; assembling plans and projects

  • Interior design components – Furnishings; lighting; wall and window treatments

  • Building construction and technology – High-level understanding of construction processes; residential building requirements (emphasis on remodeling impacts in houses); contemporary products; innovation for households

  • Business management – Running your own business; budgets and costs

Visit campuses of education institutions that seem to offer the best courses for you. Examine in-depth whether the topics and subjects tie in with your interests and passions regarding design.

Look at the amount of practical course work you will have exposure to, including industry placement programs. Your instructors and the campus should have good industry networking and personal contacts so that you can get work experience as part of your studies. This will probably be unpaid, but provides invaluable experience in deciding upon your specializations, and whether you want to work as part of someone’s team or as an independent consultant.

Part of your assessment needs to be course duration, cost, and recognition within the architectural and design industries. Accreditation of the education institutions study program should have industry endorsement. Check with industry organizations to see whether your studies are highly or poorly regarded – this can make a big difference as to how quickly you can gain employment in this area.

Studying residential interiors can lead to opportunities to pursue further studies in architecture, which becomes a natural interest and progression for many graduates.

Graduates of interior design studies, have a large range of potential occupations to consider, as interest in residential design is very high in the public consciousness. The burgeoning area of home staging when selling houses is an example where a new demand has taken off and offers opportunities. Other prospects for those studying residential interiors include:

  • Working in teams at architecture business focused on residential buildings;

  • Writing for the media on interior design subjects;

  • Consulting roles in historical restoration and remodeling, and;

  • Running your own interior design practice.

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