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A Beginner’s Guide to Interior Design Principles and Elements

Learn the fundamentals of interior design and discover how to put these skills into practice to transform interior spaces.

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An Interior Designer's desk on top of which are drawings of a living space, samples for colours and furniture finishes as well as different coloured paints and pens.
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Discover the foundations of becoming an interior designer

Great decor is created using specific rules and theories that every experienced interior designer has in their arsenal.

On this four-week course, you’ll discover what these principles and elements are and how to use them to give your own designs the wow factor. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to create your own unique, amazing spaces, whether in a personal or professional context.

Learn how to update any home decor with insider knowledge and basic design techniques

Many people try their hand at decorating and make expensive mistakes during the process.

On this course, you’ll gain the theoretical knowledge to spruce up even the most unappealing spaces, saving you time and money by achieving the look you want the first time round.

Explore the basic elements and principles of design and how they apply to interior decor

On this course, you’ll examine the details of line, form, colour, texture, pattern, size, space, and light. Once you can identify these elements, you’ll be able to use them in different interior spaces to meet individual briefs.

Following this, you’ll delve into more detail and explore contrast, dominance, rhythm, focal point, scale, proportion, and balance.

With your knowledge of these principles, you’ll be able to understand how different effects and looks are achieved within an interior design context.

Kickstart your interior design career with expert guidance from the British Academy of Interior Design

By learning these principles and elements of design from creative professionals with years of experience, you’ll give yourself the best start when it comes to launching your own career in interior design.

By the end of this course, you’ll have a solid understanding of the basic design theories and principles used within interior design.

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What topics will you cover?

Understanding the theory and practise of Design Elements & Principles

Recognising design elements – line, form, colour, texture, pattern, size, space, light

Recognising design principles – contrast, dominance, rhythm, focal point, scale, proportion, balance

Applying design elements and principles when designing

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify the different Design Elements
  • Explore the impact of Design Elements on design
  • Justify the application of Design Elements
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply Design Elements when designing interior spaces.
  • Identify the different Design Principles
  • Explore the impact of Design Principles on design
  • Justify the application of Design Principles
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply Design Elements and Principles when designing interior space

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone with an interest in interior design. This includes anyone considering a career in interior design wishing to gain a basic theoretical knowledge of the subject or anyone wanting design knowledge to improve their own home.

What software or tools do you need?

Aside from a laptop or tablet and internet connection you do not need any specific tools to successfully complete this course.

Who will you learn with?

Who developed the course?

British Academy of Interior Design

Established in 2004, the British Academy of Interior Design is a leading provider of accredited, industry-recognised interior design qualifications. Our students at the British Academy of Interior Design say that it’s the practical elements combined with research that give them real-world insight into how they can succeed in interior design. Whether you’re looking to upskill in an existing role or you’re hoping to pursue a new career in interior design, we have the right course for you.


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  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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