Online Course: Interior Design 101 – Certificate and CEUs

Online Course: Interior Design 101 – Certificate and CEUs

Interior design is an exciting profession that not only requires designers to be able to

Interior design is an exciting profession that not only requires designers to be able to think creatively, but also to problem-solve. Interior designers are responsible for creating an environment for a structure, which may include a single-family home, government office, corporate headquarters, and everything in between

In order to create an interior environment, designers need to think about the form and functionality of the space. The form refers to the look and feel. The functionality refers to how they space will be practically used. In order to effectively blend form and functionality, designers need to rely upon many resources, guidelines, and professionals.

Interior designers often tend to be interior decorators. After all, designers are often responsible for all aspects of a project, including the design, development, and finishing touches. However, interior decorators may not necessarily be interior designers; designers need to have more in-depth knowledge than decorators.

While many interior designers are also decorators, designers do not generally take on other professional roles, such as plumber, carpenter, electrician, or otherwise. Therefore, designers must work closely with many other industry professionals.

Interior designers also have the liberty to be self-employed or to work with a firm. Either way, there are some business skills and best practices that every interior designer should use in order to be successful.

This course is designed to teach you how to be an interior designer by focusing on interior design from a macro level. If you decide to pursue an interior design career after reading about everything that will be required of you if you choose to pursue a career in interior design, then you will spend years learning the minute details that are essential to creating a successful design.  

Note: This course focuses on all aspects of interior design. While interior decorating plays a large role in interior design, it is important to remember that the two are not the same. This course will not go into great detail about interior decorating, but, rather, will provide an overview of the kind of information interior designers will need to know.

What is Interior Design?


Interior design is the practice of creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing space. Interior designers must take a holistic view of space and image what the space could become. Designers may work with existing spaces or they may work with new construction spaces. Either way, they need to be able to manipulate every aspect of the space to meet the goals of the client. This means interior designers not only need to be adept at affecting the decoration of a space, but they may also need to influence electrical work, plumbing, carpentry, architectural features, and more.

Interior Designers Work With Professionals in Many Other Fields.


Interior designers must be conversant in a wide variety of disciplines, including architecture, decorating, and more. For that reason, successful interior designers need to spend time understanding what each of these different disciplines does, and how the disciplines work together. Also, it should be noted that interior designers are often mistaken for interior decorators. The confusion is natural and expected, as interior designers must also be able to advise clients about how their spaces could – and should – be decorated, particularly when a design begs a certain type of decoration. However, there are definite differences between interior designers and interior decorators.

How Do Interior Decorators and Interior Designers Compare?


One of the most obvious differences between interior designers and interior decorators is the breadth of knowledge that each is expected to bring to a project. Interior designers must have in-depth knowledge of a wide range of disciplines in order to create a space that not only looks appealing, but also functions properly and according to applicable laws and regulations. Many states require that interior designers have professional interior design certifications and/or licenses in order to practice.

Often interior designers will have an integral role in the decorating of a space because of their oversight and planning role. In a sense, an interior designer is often like a project manager, with his or her hands in many pots. Because of their holistic approach to a space, interior designers are often called in to consult with clients before a project begins, especially on new construction projects. 

Interior decorators, however, have very specialized roles. Decorators are charged with working within a developed space to create a particular feel. Unlike interior designers, decorators do not manipulate the foundations of a space. Instead, they must be able to see the possibilities that exist in the current space. Interior decorators may have more in-depth knowledge of design principles, styles, and trends than interior designers, as well.

In most cases, an interior designer and an interior decorator will work closely together; they may also be the same person. However, interior decorators may not work with professionals in other trades, the way an interior designer does.

Both interior decorators and interior designers must be skilled at selecting: 

However, interior designers must take their knowledge a few steps further to include:

  • Space planning

  • Kitchen and bath design

  • Plumbing layout and fixtures

  • Lighting layout and fixtures

  • Sound design

  • Flooring

  • Custom carpentry

  • Stone and tile

  • Climate control

  • Windows and doors

  • Cabinetry

  • Specialty design, such as LEED

  • Building codes

  • Americans With Disabilities Act requirements

  • And more

There are building codes and regulations for every space, but they may vary based on the type of space.

Interior Design Specialties

As with any professional discipline, the field of interior design encompasses many different specialties. Many interior designers work within all specialties, but a specialty is not required. Also, some interior designers choose to limit their projects to one particular specialty. These specialties include: 

  • Corporate

  • Retail

  • Government

  • Healthcare

  • Hospitality

  • Institutional

  • Residential

  • Sustainability

In order to design a successful space in any of these specialty groups, interior designers need to be aware of the particular government codes and regulations, which can differ from structure to structure. 

Interior designers will also want to be sure they understand how each space will be used – and by whom – so they can follow best practice design standards. For example, the upholstery that an interior designer uses for a public space may differ greatly from the upholstery an interior designer selects for a residential space.

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