Studying Interior Design

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I used to study technical design. This also included CAD drawing, architectural design in brief, spatial planning etc. Now I had a great opportunity to learn a little more and update my skills. Or rather, to add something. After an intensive search I finally found Professional Design Institute. It looked exactly as I had been looking for it. 18 months of study, 12 modules, test after each module. The test had to be passed before I could continue with the next module. A good challenge. Many thanks also to my parents, who supported my studies a little bit. Also this is not one of the most expensive ones, but things are as they are.

I used to study technical design. This also included CAD drawing, architectural design in brief, spatial planning etc. Now I had a great opportunity to learn a little more and update my skills. Or rather, to add something. After an intensive search I finally found Professional Design Institute. It looked exactly as I had been looking for it. 18 months of study, 12 modules, test after each module. The test had to be passed before I could continue with the next module. A good challenge. Many thanks also to my parents, who supported my studies a little bit. Also this is not one of the most expensive ones, but things are as they are.

Under here you can see some selected pictures and basic information about studying. Pictures are informative and not in scale nor presentation quality.
The design software I used was Chief Architect Premier 2021.
Graphic designs were created using Affinity Designer.

The Content

As I already mentioned the course comprised twelve intensive modules with a lot of information. After each module there was an assignment. The assignment ranged from few to many questions. I enjoyed the challenge of assignment. Sometimes it took several dozen hours to complete the assignment. First of all it was necessary to find relevant sources of information. Compare and collect different information and to check that the information was correct and up-to-date. To prepare and organize the information. Sorting some details, and finally creating a readable and understandable answer.

My greatest fear was that I might somehow misunderstand the idea of the question. Some questions were many-sided, and easy to understand in different ways. But that is why good tutors stand for it. Few times I had the feeling if I was completely out of map with my answers, or if it would be perfect then. The answer is good but am I answering to right question. Thanks to good tutor as well as creative and logical thinking, I was pretty successful with my answers. But I must also say thanks to my age as I am no longer a young rookie. Some life experience and years in business-life have given me some advantages in solving problems and finding answers – and understanding what I really want to say.

But let’s talk about the content of the course, and modules.
Briefly the modules with the main content were as follows:

1. Interior Design In Context
What precisely is Interior Design and what will your role be as a professional interior designer? An overview of Interior Design, investigating its core importance and ways in which it can improve people’s lives, not just on an aesthetic level but a practical one as well.

2. The History of Interior Design
From cave dwellings and the first simple manmade structures to today’s high tech architecture. Centuries of architecture and interior design. Different periods, their heritage to present day design. Through the different civilizations. How buildings affect man’s well-being and lifestyle and how technology has been used to progress our lives into the modern world. Throughout history, interior design was influenced by many factors, like religious beliefs, socio-political conditions, and local environmental factors. Understanding the history helps to understand the present. This module was more than fascinating. Some of my key topics in the exam were the Roman architecture, Rinascimento (Renaissance), and the Art Nouveau.

Hotel Tassel Victor Horta, Brussels. Art Nouveau
Roman interior design. Casa di Marco Lucretio Frontone.

3. The Fundamentals of Interior Design
This includes design principles and guidelines that influence the human perception of high-quality Interior Design. What makes a design aesthetically pleasing? What influences the human mind to regard something as beautiful? The functionality of interior design. Different styles. Proportion, scale and balance to texture, shape and color.

4. Color In Interior Design
Understanding the basics of color. Color Harmony, color psychology, color in interior design history. The meaning of colors in different cultures. The influence of color on the human psyche. Elements of color, color spectrum, how to use the color to create a certain mood in space. A manipulate way to use color, stimulating way to use color.

Color wheel
Colors in brief by Floriance
Presented color mood board for living room

5. Space Planning
Space planning is an essential part of interior design. It contributes to the creation of functional and practical interiors. Understanding human anthropometry, the flow in the planned space, and furniture design and putting them into practise. Design principles, types of measurements. Codes and regulations. Scale drawings and symbols in drawings. Different types of plans. These included the transformation of design ideas into a functional plan that clearly expresses the design intention. Detailed analysis of the space, various space-saving configurations. First sketches and how ideas can be presented to the client.

The main traffic flow
Criteria matrix idea
First visualization ideas

6. Furniture, Fixture and Equipment (FF&E)
Furniture classification, history and timeline. The idea and purpose of classification. Furniture design – we also needed to design and make technical drawing of a bespoke dining table. Not only drawing a fancy table but design it functional according to criteria from real life and regulations. The table also needed to be a part of interior of planned project. And, as usually in interior design. It is not enough to say this is good and fits here. You need to know why, need to explain and describe the function, material choice, environmental aspect, maintenance, and so on.

Preliminary layout
Piece of the bespoke table design draft

Here we also came into play with the idea of accessories. The part of the interior design is also the interior decoration. You have to understand how important is to understand your own core idea, and how to present it to your client. It is never enough to say that this could be good, and the color matches another. These are important but the more and deeper information is required. What is the idea and function of some a particular colored vase, for exapmple. Why should one invest X euros more than to choose a cheap imported copy items?.

I also learned about the importance as well as the technical aspect of presenting FF&E layout, schedule (the detailed list of the selected products). And in the context of spatial planning it is always important to understand how they fit into the selected space. How they should be used.

FF&E Layout Plan

It is important to prepare a detailed schedule of specifications. Easier to understand the whole entity of materials, colors, prices. I also created two variations of price lists, or can be called also as a shopping list. It is good to have two or more variations to show to the client. And, again good explanations why you have selected those certain products, manufacturers, materials, colors. How and where to get them, maintenance, keeping up and cleaning, environmental aspect, sustainability and responsible design aspects. This detailed information, especially dimensions, is a good tool for other partners in project. Such as builders, electricians, carpenters.
I also learned how important for good interior designer is to keep the project in control and up-to-date all the time. Being a link between client and other participants of the project.

FF&E Ikea Example of the schedule of furniture

7. Materials and Finishes
The interior designer must have in-depth knowledge of materials and finishes, their purpose and properties. He must understand which materials can be used together. Why the use of certain materials is not recommended in certain places. The installation methods of different materials, and maintenance. It is necessary to understand the construction of the space, what is hidden behind the wall finish or how the construction of the floor was made. As they said in course “An interior designer not only has to be having an artistic sensibility, but also must have the technical knowledge to execute a design successfully”.
I got to know different flooring materials; hard finishes, soft finishes, resilient finishes, function of the finished floor.
Wall construction and different wall finishes. Ceiling materials and finishes.Material standards, schedule of specifications, material samples.

Example of the Schedule of Finishes
Kitchen Selection Board

It’s important to keep the information consistent and the numbering must be the same in all documents and plans. In addition, they must be legible and understandable for everyone involved in the project – and not least for the client!

Floor finishes plan
Wall finishes plan

8. Interior Lighting
This module was familiar to me because I have been working with lighting for many years. Nevertheless it is always easy to think that I know everything and then fail dramatically. It is still better to be careful anyway, and try to gain new information and new approaches. Interior lighting has its health aspect. The physics of light and its effect on human perception. But it also creates ambience and mood. Light can also easily be used to change the purpose of the room. It is easy to change the color scheme and highlight some accent parts of the room. With light it is possible to create focal points and to direct attention to desired place or direction.
But light and lighting is also technical. Color rendering index, color temperature, light control, a combination of the artificial and natural light. Energy consumption, and innovative possibilities of modern lighting technology. Principles and concepts.

The schedule of lighting

For example, the plan of the reflected ceiling can be described as having a mirror in the middle of the room horizontally reflecting what is above it. Or if you lie on the floor and look up.

Reflected ceiling plan with symbols and descriptions

9. Textiles and Soft Furnishing
To be honest I thought there were many things as dull as curtains. But I could not be more wrong. Finally, I found it an interesting world. I learned how it is possible to change the view and the mood of the room even with curtains. How it is possible to control the direction and colour of light. I also learned to understand how to estimate and calculate how much of fabrics is needed. The difference in fabrics. Materials and environmental aspects. How soft furnishings can change the feeling of the room or set special accents. A lot of information about materials. As an interesting detail, I have a nice grey carpet on the floor of the home office. It looks like AND it FEELS like a soft fabric, but in reality, it is made of plastic. The new technology is a faking amazing. (yes, written like that, not fuc…). 100% polypropylene is the material of this carpet.
But it was interesting to learn the differences between Venetian blinds and Roman blinds, for example. So far I have used different, more practical names for these.
Besides the material information there is also the aesthetic function and decorative elements. Harmony and balance are key elements alsowith regard to soft furnishings. And the soft furnishings are not just curtains or carpets. It’s also the upholstery, cushions, felts. Often the soft furnishing is also seen as interior decoration. Of course it can be a part of it. New curtains and throw pillows can dramatically change the room.

Curtains and Drapes
Rendered material information for living room

10. Visual Communication
This was probably the most demanding module. Especially the assignment of the exam. Technical drafting, 2d and 3d layouts, floor plans, elevations, sections, drawing symbols. Also needed to re-design the ground floor’s powder room with all details. The information had to be precise and clear. These information and drawings could also be used by construction workers, electricians and plumbers. It must be said that specific designs, such as electrical installations must be carried out by specialists. These interior design drawings are pricise but the specialist will always modify them according to local regulations. Moreover, they usually know more about their products, practises and tricks.
-> A good interior designer also makes sure that the client will get the planned products, not just cheap alternatives that look similar.

The Fixture And Furnishing Plan – Final version

The powder room was originally too small for busy morning activities. I wanted to make it a bit bigger, and design one corner at an angle to avoid the illusion of a smaller entrance area.

The Moodboard – Powder Room
Powder Room Details
Powder Room rendering and material info

Finally I needed to make a presentation to client. Collect all information, drawings, schedule specifications, price calculations – practically all needed documentation.

Electrical Power Plan
Section Elevation Example
Presentation …
Glass House Render Model
Rendered view from the entrance to living room

I was teached about scale and annotation of plans and drawing symbols and how to create floor plans, elevations and sections. how to develop mood boards and sample boards to work up your design concept and present to your client.

11 and 12. The Role of Interior Designer. Business and Profession
These two last modules included very practical things about the role of interior design and interior designer. How to deal with the bureaucracy of starting a business. Marketing channels and creating customer bases. How to get the most out of your own skills and gain business.
Costs and pricing, client relations. Sourcing suppliers, procurement.
What are trends, interior design in past, present, and future.

In general, this was quite a journey. Thanks to extraordinary times I had the chance to get through this faster than 18 months. I made it in seven months. No, it was not easy like that. I spent 584 hours on it. I made up my time wherever and whenever possible. Morning, evening, night, day. Weekends and workdays.
It was extremely interesting, more than I expected. And I can warmly recommend Professional Design Institute.
Many thanks to the family for understanding my intensive use of time.

Eventually, what was my final grade? I must say it was pretty good. Each module assignment had a maximum score of 100, and my average score after all 12 modules was 99/100.

Modules & Points
Image of The Certificate

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