I guess I’ve always been into Interior design and have often thought about becoming an Interior Designer. I remember my Mum giving me full reign of my bedroom when I was a teenager and I went with a hideous yellow and blue Moon, Sun and Star theme with a border running through the middle. I thought I was the owner of the coolest bedroom in Cornwall and was always inviting my friends around so I could bask in my own glory
Some people like to read or play sport for fun, I like to create Mood Boards 🙂
Fast forward 20 years (gulp, how did that happen?) where I spent 8 years in the RAF living in shared accommodation, rentals in London and numerous Army married quarters (where my hatred of magnolia walls grew year on year. There are other paint colours out there Ministry of Defence!), my husband and I finally bought our first house to live in. And the rest, as they say, is history!
Whilst we were waiting to move into our house, I spent months obsessively swooning over pictures on Pinterest and buying weekly interior magazines to get lots of inspiration. It was never going to be anything more than a hobby whilst we renovated but, 2 years after the renovation, I found myself plunged knee deep into the interior world and myself obsessed. I am a stay at home mum but knew I had to do something once both the kids were at school, so I started looking at becoming an Interior Designer and researching all the available courses out there.
Why not before?
I always feel myself quite lucky that I absolutely loved school and in particular, Design Graphics, Art and Maths. In fact, if I can go back to any single classroom experience, I always remember being taught how to draw a room in 3D by hand and for our coursework we had to design our own shop, logo and business stationary which I absolutely loved doing.
If I knew then what I know now, I would definitely have gone to University to study Architecture but with the lengthy time it takes to become a fully-fledged architect, I feel that ship has sailed along with my youthful skin and boundless amounts of energy! The best thing about being an Interior Designer is that you can set up your own Design business online and off you go…
I have heard so many people say that you do not need a qualification to become an interior designer. I think if you have the confidence to do it, then why not? You either have “the eye for design” or not. But I think my biggest problem is confidence and whether I would have what it takes to help other people and businesses with their own interiors. I’m a people pleaser and I know I would probably take it to heart if people did not like my designs, so I knew I had to do a course to help me build on my experiences and confidence if I wanted to become a fully fledged interior designer.
Interior design isn’t just about painting a wall and matching soft furnishings, there is a lot of technical factors going on behind the scenes and I felt that if I wanted to be taken seriously, I had to learn the basics like CAD and Scale drawing. The industry is also becoming more saturated and popular (I’m sure Instagram has a lot to do with that!), so to get ahead, I felt it was imperative to get a qualification under my belt.
What I did find at the beginning is that there isn’t a lot of information out there about what courses to do, where to start or what would be beneficial in the long run. I spent several months researching all the different courses and colleges and tried to narrow it down to what I wanted out of it. I knew I didn’t want to go to University full time and needed something online and flexible. Below is a list of courses I found and researched –
The main 6 Interior Design Course providers that I researched
KLC prides itself in being one of the leaders in delivering Interior design courses. You can study anything from the full BA Interior Design full time or online to Short Courses like CAD Software Skills and Drawing and rendering. I was extremely tempted to go with KLC but what put me off was that it was heavily structured, not very flexible and very expensive.
Another interior design institution, Inchbald has been teaching students since 1960. The courses are taught either in a classroom or online, but as with KLC, they tend to be structured, not very flexible and University level expensive.
I had a quick look at this one but I found the website quite vague and I wasn’t sure what they were offering. It says an Interior Design Course but doesn’t give you a break down of all the different courses they provide. You can download the prospectus and although it looks professional and glossy, I still didn’t really know what I would get out of this course. With so many courses on offer online, I immediately dismissed this one.
I really liked the look of this course. You have the option to study a Diploma or top up degree, the website was extremely informative and at £1,590 one of the cheapest I came across. It did appear that you only have 9 – 12 months to complete the diploma, so even though it was online and flexible, there are time restraints. It also looked like the course didn’t go into much depth.
You can only study The Professional Interior Design Course with the British College which takes 12 – 24 weeks. There were lots of testimonials and the website was laid out informatively but there was no information on the cost. You had to enter your email to get any information on the course content and pricing which was a huge turn off for me. Also, I wanted an accredited qualification.
I was immediately drawn to BAID, its website is extremely eye-catching and informative and they have a really good selection of courses available. These included certificates and diplomas which can lead you onto a 3rd year of an Interior Design Degree. They also have the option to work in a classroom or from home with potential work placements available around the country. The courses are extremely flexible and also very reasonable, starting from £395.
There are many short courses available if you do not want to commit to a lengthy qualification such as How to Design a Room in 10 Easy Steps with Udemy if you only want to be able to decorate a room in your house to a classroom taught Colour Rendering with KLC. But, as with all courses, make sure they are by an accredited course provider which you can check on the Governments Ofqual Register. You can also find a wealth of information about becoming an Interior Designer at www.biid.org.uk
In the end I settled with a HND with the British Academy of Interior Design. The main reasons were, I could study online in my own time (up to 48 months to complete the course), the cost, the potential for a month’s work placement and the possibility to continue my diploma to degree level.
I’ve signed on the dotted line, have my own profile and student area (I can even apply for a student card!) and I’ve bought the materials ready to go. Now, this is the hard part! As it’s an online course, I have to be really disciplined into doing the assignments and after 6 months since I first enrolled, I am only just about to finish my first assignment, so becoming an interior designer feels like a long way off.
I mainly study from home and with all the distractions around me, I’m starting to look at heading to a café or the library for a couple of hours to get away from the chocolate biscuits and the temptation to create more posts for Instagram.
I will be writing all about my course on my blog as I always get lots of questions about it and hoping to start interviewing professional Interior Designers who do it for real in the new year.
If you have any questions about Interior Design courses or how I’ve found it so far, let me know in the comments!