Diploma of Interior Design Course Outline

Module 1 Visual Language of Interior Design

Unit/s covered in this module:

MSFID5022 - Explore and Apply Creative Design Methodology to Interior Space
CUADES303 - Explore and Apply the Creative Design Process to 3D Forms


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.

• Work through ‘The Design Process’, learning how to design a space expressed in a client brief.

Getting Started

Welcome To IDI!



Overall Units

Units Covered

Course Contributors

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

The Design Process

Elements Of Interior Design








Principles Of Design




Proportion And Scale


Module 2 History of Style, Decoration and Architecture

Unit/s covered in this module:

CUADES305 - Source and Apply Information on the History and Theory of Design
MSFFDM4021 - Research Furniture Styles and Movements


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.

You will:

• 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.

• Look at the different style of furniture throughout the eras.

• Learn how to create ‘Research Information Folders’, to store the myriad of product available.

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)

Neoclassical Architecture in Australia (1788–1860s)

Industrial Revolution (1760s–1850s)

Victorian (1837–1901)

Gothic Revival


Queen Anne

Victorian Interiors and Furniture

Victorian Architecture in Australia (1840–1901)

Arts and Crafts Movement (1870–1910)

Art Nouveau (1880s–1914)

Federation Architecture in Australia (1890–1915)

California Bungalow in Australia (1918–40)

Art Deco

French Art Deco (1920–39)

American Art Deco (1925–39)

Australian Art Deco (1930s–40s)

Art Deco Around the World

Modernism (1917–33)

De Stijl (1917–31)

Bauhaus (1919–33)

Le Corbusier

Modernism / Functionalism in Australia (1930s–40s)

The International Style (1930s–70s)

The International Style in Australia (1948–70s)

Post-World War II / Mid-Century Modern (1940s–60s)

Mid-Twentieth Century / Post-World War II in Australia (1940s–70s)

Pop (1960s–70s)

Postmodernism (1970s–90s)

Postmodernism in Australia (1980s–90s)

Minimalism (1990s to Today)


Sustainable Architecture and Design

Sustainability in Design History

Module 3 Design Styles

Unit/s covered in this module:

MSFID4019 - Research Interior Decoration and Design Influences
CUADES411 - Generate Design Solutions
CUADES302 - Explore and Apply the Creative Design Process to 2D Forms


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.

You will:

• Explore some of the most common interior decorating styles, including traditional, country, eclectic and contemporary.

• Develop your knowledge of different structures, common problems and their 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.

• Build your confidence by establishing a framework for completing a project in a professional manner that will ensure a consistent and high-quality result.

• Explore the 2D elements and principles of ‘Visual Art of Communication’. Learn both listening and communication skills to articulate how you will meet the client’s brief.

• Learn how to visually present ideas to your client by creating mood boards.

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

Unit/s covered in this module:

MSFID4012 - Decorate Residential Interiors
CUADES512 - Establish, Negotiate and Refine a Design Brief
MSFID5020 - Design Residential Interiors


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.

You will:

• 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.

• Learn SketchUp for Interior Designers. SketchUp is a modelling program that can be used to create 2D floor plans and 3D models.

Space Planning And Proportion

Furniture Layouts

The Next Step In Space Planning

Styling An Existing Room

Living Room




Coffee Table

Tv/Media Unit

Seating Arrangements

Dining Room

Seating Arrangements




Home Office


Kitchen Design

Bathroom Design

Types Of Bathrooms



Residential Building Design

Rules And Regulations

National Construction Code (Ncc)

Building Code Of Australia (Bca)

Australian Standards

Energy Efficiency


Parts Of A Residential Building

Wall Components

Roof And Ceiling Styles

Ceiling Height


Floor Plans

Orthographic View Types

What Is A Floor Plan?

Parts Of The Floor Plan


Hand Drafting

Drafting Tools




Line Types


Dimensioning Rules


Spatial Planning

Module 5 Lighting

Unit/s covered in this module:

MSFID4013 - Design Residential Interior 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.

You will:

• 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.

• 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.

• Understand energy efficiency and electricity supply to a home.


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

Energy Efficiency

Electricity Supply To The Home

Communicating With Your Builder

Lighting And Electrical Plans

Power Outlets

Symbols Used To Create A Reflected Ceiling Plan

Lighting Symbols

Module 6 Colour

Unit/s covered in this module:

MSFID4016 - Design Colour Schemes for Interior and Exterior Spaces
MSFID5027 - Research and Recommend Colour Applications and Finishes


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.

You will:

• 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.

• Find out how to work with wallpaper, specialty paint finishes and trend forecasting.


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


Accented Achromatic


Accented Analogous



Split Complementary

Double Split Complementary




Creating Successful Colour Schemes


Related Colours

Contrasting Colours

Colour And Perception

Planning A Colour Scheme

How To Specify Colour Accurately

Sampling The Colours

Exterior Colour

Types Of Paint


Specialty Paint Finishes


How Much Paint Do I Need?

Interior Paint Colour Viewers And Visualisers

Trend Forecasting

Module 7 Interior Finishes

Unit/s covered in this module:

MSFID4018 - Research and Recommend Hard Materials and Finishes for Interiors


You will learn how to apply the concepts of three-dimensional design to the reality of a finished space.

You will:

• 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.

• Discover new emerging hard material and finishes.

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

Unit/s covered in this module:

MSFID4021 - Design Soft Furnishing Solutions for Interior Spaces


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.

• Explore fabrics and how to select and apply them to different design styles.

• 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


Lining Fabrics

Measuring For Curtains

Specifying Fabrics

Fabric Abbreviations

Module 9 Furniture, Art and Accessories

Unit/s covered in this module:

MSFID5028 - Research and Recommend Artwork
MSFID4015 - Prepare Materials and Finishes Boards for Client Presentation
MSFID4017 - Research and Recommend Furniture 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.

You will:

• 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.

• Learn about Indigenous art and the legal obligations surrounding it.

• You will be instructed on how to correctly frame, position and mount artwork.


History, Period & Contemporary Pieces

Upholstered Furniture

The Technical Side Of Upholstered Furniture

Applying The Elements & Principles Of Design

Specifying A New Piece





Indigenous Art


Area Rugs

Unique Rug Styles

Schedule Of Specifications

Module 10 Working With Clients

Unit/s covered in this module:

MSFID5021 - Evaluate Site Structure and Services for Interior Design Briefs
MSFID4022 - Prepare Quotation and Contract Documentation for Design Projects
MSFID5025 - Develop Residential Interior Design Project Documentation
MSFID5018 - Provide Interior Styling Service


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.

You will:

• 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.

• Learn how to conduct a site evaluation.

The Home Is Where The Heart Is

Reasons For Using An Interior Designer

Building Relationships With Clients

Fee Structures

Talking About Money


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

Unit/s covered in this module:

MSFID4014 - Produce Digital Models and Documentation for Interior Design Projects
CUAANM313 - Create 3D Digital Models
CUADIG304 - Create Visual Design Components


In this module, you will be taught how to document your ideas and designs for clients, contractors and your own reference.

You will:

• 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


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

Unit/s covered in this module:

CUADES413 - Develop and Extend Design Skills and Practice
CUAPPR513 - Present a Body of Own Creative Work


If you are considering making design your career, this may be the decisive chapter that is the stepping stone to your future success.

You will:

• 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.

• Put what you have learnt throughout the course into practise by designing an office space for your new business.

Getting Started

Setting Up An Office

Home Office

Hiring Office Space

Designing Your Office

Space Planning (Spatial Planning)

Drawing Your Plan

Consider Branding


Technological Requirements



Setting Up Your Business

Business Plan

Business Branding

Business Name And Logo


Trade Discounts

Business Expenses And Tax

Business Expenses


Finding Clients

Word Of Mouth

Social Media


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


Download our free prospectus