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British Institute of Interior Design

The British Institute of Interior Design is committed to encouraging and supporting creativity and competence in the field of interior design through facilitating best practice, practical professional support, development opportunities and education.

Careers - General Information

Information on courses in particular areas may also be obtained from local public libraries. The BIID recommends that colleges are contacted prior to commitment - many have regular open days. Industry recognised correspondence courses will have the verification of an accreditation authority.

Interior design training options

Traditional degree courses

A three year, full time BA in interior and special design. Students are eligible for government loans to help with costs.

Foundation degree in Interior Design

A new kind of vocational degree which takes two years' full time study to complete and includes 16 weeks' work experience. Some course providers provide the opportunity for students to transfer directly into the third year of a BA.

HND in Interior Design

A practical, vocational course studied over two or three years, including work experience.

Diploma in Interior Design and Decoration

A one year, intensive vocational course.

BTEC - National Certificate in 3D Interior Design

A one year practical course with no entry requirements. National diploma in interior design is a two year course for those with a minimum of four GCSEs.

Access to Interior Design

A one year, full time introduction to the subject, intended to be a gateway to higher education for those with few formal qualifications or mature students who have been out of education for some time.


Courses in foundation, intermediate and advanced interior design offered at adult evening classes. Each level taking one year.

Certificate in Interior Decoration

A 10 week, full time course preparing students to do domestic interior decoration.

On-the-Job Training

It is rare these days, but not impossible, to be taken on with no formal qualifications and trained by an interior design practice.


A professional level interior design course* should encompass:

  1. Fundamentals of Design (philosophy, sociology, aesthetics and a theory of design). Visual research (colour, light, form, texture). Basic knowledge of materials.
  2. Visual Communication (objective and interpretative drawing, freehand perspective drawing, use of colour media, photography and model making).
  3. People in their Environment (human ergonometric and anthropometric studies and people in space and design evaluation). History of Art and Architecture, Interiors and Furniture.
  4. Creative work by Project Method.
  5. Interpretation of the project schemes and technical studies related to the built environment (working drawings, building technology, and understanding of structure and services. Costing and estimating, detailing and specifying material, furniture and fittings).
  6. Professional Practice (verbal communication techniques, office organisation and practice, legislation affecting the designer, visiting projects underway or completed).

* The standards set by the International Federation of Interior Architects/Interior Designers (IFI) are recognised by the Association. The BIID is an Associate member of the IFI.

Definition of an Interior Designer

The Association defines interior designers as persons qualified by training and experience to plan and supervise the design and execution of interiors and their furnishings, and to organise the various arts and crafts essential to their completion. The professional interior designer provides a full consultancy service.A designer is a person, qualified by education, experience and recognised skills, who identifies, researches and creatively solves problems pertaining to the function and quality of the interior environment; and performs services relative to interior spaces including programming, design analysis, space planning, aesthetics, and inspection of work on-site, using specialised knowledge of interior construction, building systems and components, building regulations, equipment, materials and furnishings; and prepares drawings and documents relative to the design of interior space.

Definition of an Interior Decorator

An Interior Decorator can give advice on entire decorative schemes, including furnishing and furniture, but will not enter into building contracts or supervisory contracts.

Although great care has been taken in the compilation and preparation of this information to ensure accuracy, the BIID cannot in any circumstances accept responsibility for errors, omissions or advice given on this page

British Institute of Interior Design. 109 Design Centre East (formerly The Chambers), Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 0XF.

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