Course Description

This diploma could be the first exciting step towards developing your career as an interior designer and decorator. By enrolling in this course you’ll be starting a journey of discovery where you find out exactly what you’re capable of in a design context. The more work you put into it; the more you’ll get out of it.

This course has been exclusively developed in consultation with the current interior design industry. It is fresh, new and responsive to the demands of the modern environment, including subjects on heritage buildings and incorporating environmentally sustainable materials into your design work.

Your portfolio and design skills

During your course you’ll be completing numerous projects to gradually build up your design skills and knowledge. You’ll be covering all the essentials – drawing, conceptual, research and business skills as well as building your knowledge of materials and ways of working sustainably. By the time you get to the end, you will have an extensive portfolio of work that you can proudly present to prospective employers and clients.

To help you along, as well as your Open Colleges learning materials, you will be supplied with two textbooks – Interior design visual presentation by Maureen Mitton and Interior design illustrated by Francis Ching. You also have your art kit so you can get started with your designs straight away.

Learn specialist design skills

You will learn to combine the technical, creative and conceptual skills required to plan and detail commercial, residential or heritage building interiors. This course will cover space creation, space planning and creating environments for living and working.

Design Institute of Australia, Recognised Course

The Open Colleges MSF50213 Diploma of Interior Design and Decoration has been designated as a Recognised Course by the Design Institute of Australia (DIA). The DIA is Australia's professional membership body for designers and creative professionals.

This course is offered by Open Colleges on behalf of TAFE NSW North Region.

Potential career outcomes

  • Colour Consultant
  • Commercial Furniture Consultant
  • Independent or Freelance Interior Decorating Consultant
  • Interior Design Consultant
  • Interior Designer
  • Interior Stylist
  • Soft Furnishing Consultant
Course number E1035
Qualification name MSF50213 Diploma of Interior Design and Decoration
Course duration Maximum 30 months
Delivery Method Online
Recognition Nationally Recognised Nationally Recognised Training
Assessments Portfolio, Presentations, Projects, Questions, Reports
Awarded by
  • TAFE NSW North Region (Provider number: 90010)


You will need to have completed year 10, or equivalent. Equivalency can be demonstrated by one of the following:

  • A qualification at Certificate II level or higher OR
  • 2 years of industry experience in a role that requires the use of written documentation and communication.

Creative Ability

Learners need to possess some creative and design skills. These may be demonstrated by:

  • Confirmation that the learner completed a relevant subject at high school (such as art, design, digital media, animation or communication); and/or
  • Confirmation that the learner has completed subsequent courses or qualifications in a related field, this may include the Certificate III in Design Fundamentals, Certificate IV in Design or some other course that builds basic creative and design skills; and/or
  • Confirmation that the learner has at least 12 months of experience in the interior design and decoration industry and, in doing so, has undertaken tasks that have demonstrated at least basic creative and design skills.

Minimum age

You will need to be at least 18 years old.


This course involves reading and undertaking a range of written assessments, as well as engaging in online forums and discussions. Furthermore, the delivery mode relies on the extensive use of written communication. As such, entry to the course requires the successful completion of English to Year 10 level.

If you haven't successfully completed English at Year 10 level, you can demonstrate equivalency through one of the following:

  • Successful completion of a Nationally Recognised Training qualification at Certificate II level or higher; or
  • 2 years relevant industry experience in a role that requires the use of written documentation and communication

Open Colleges recognises that not all people are able to read, write and perform calculations to the same standard. See the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Considerations section for more information on tools, resources and support services provided to by Open Colleges.


Minimum specifications for the computer are:

  • Microsoft Office 2007 or equivalent
  • Broadband internet connection
  • 4GB of RAM – 8GB is recommended
  • 10.5GB available hard disc space for installation; additional free space is required during installation.
  • 1280 x 800 display (1280 x 1024 recommended) with 16 – bit colour and 512 MB of V RAM

Mac OS:

  • Mac OS X v 10.6.8 or v 10.7
  • Multicore Intel® processor with 64-bit support


  • Microsoft Windows 7
  • Intel Pentium® 4 or AM D Athlon® 64 processor
  • Open GL 2.0 – Capable system
  • Java Runtime Environment 1.6
  • QuickTime 7.6.6 software required for HTML 5 media playback and multimedia features
  • Adobe Flash Player 10 software required to export SWF files


You will need access to a digital video recording device and/or a digital camera and associated software to save and upload video and image files to OpenSpace. Many mobile phones and smart phones include this technology.

Students will also need access to the following

  • Access to an A3 printer or photocopier
  • Access to a high resolution colour printer
  • Access to a high resolution, large format scanner
  • Textile, tile, flooring and paint samples
  • Mounting boards
  • Drawing pens size .25, .35 and .5 and ink or felt-tip pens,
  • Eraser
  • Materials, tools and equipment to make scale models for example: stanley knife, metal ruler, A2 cutting mat, craft glue, pins, and removable tape.


Learners will need to have proficient computing skills to undertake this course. This includes the ability to:

  • Use the computer, mouse and keyboard with proficiency in skills required to integrate software packages, save files and search the Internet
  • Proficient computer, mouse and keyboard skills to operate design software (AutoCAD and Adobe CS ) for creating designs
  • Attach and use peripheral devices such as a scanner, digital camera, media storage (e.g., flash drive for design storage)
  • Scan hand drawn conceptual images
  • Save a compressed file (.zip)
  • Save a PDF File


Students will also be required to register for AutoCAD software, which is available free for students enrolled in an approved education institution.

Language, Literacy and Numeracy

Our free online assessment tool can help give you an idea of the language, literacy and numeracy skills needed to study a VET course. This tool can also help you determine your learning level and help you plan your future studies. You can access the Language, Literacy and Numeracy tool here.

Open Colleges may make changes to the course from time to time to reflect changes introduced to the relevant Training Package or other regulatory requirements. Please download the course guide for current information about the course and its status.

Note: Courses offered by Open Colleges on behalf of TAFE NSW North Region may include Units of Competency that are graded by TAFE NSW.

Student Accommodation

  • Source information on 2-dimensional design
  • Explore the creative design process for 2-dimensional forms
  • Communicate concepts or ideas through application of design processes to 2-dimensional forms
  • Prepare for technical drawing work
  • Create technical drawings

Antique bazaar

  • Plan research
  • Conduct research and document findings
  • Maintain currency with architectural styles and movements
  • Source information on 3-dimensional design
  • Explore the creative design process for 3-dimensional forms
  • Communicate concepts or ideas through application of design processes to 3-dimensional forms

The Interior Design Studio

  • Evaluate and explore needs and opportunities
  • Develop a range of creative approaches
  • Refine concepts
  • Develop concepts to an operational level
  • Plan drawing work
  • Experiment to represent ideas
  • Create drawings

Decorate a residential complex

  • Confirm services with client
  • Determine client style requirements
  • Develop style design
  • Create visual impact by styling a space
  • Source information on colour and colour theory
  • Experiment with colour
  • Communicate concepts and ideas through use of colour
  • Analyse the project brief
  • Conduct research for the design
  • Confirm the design brief
  • Generate decoration concepts
  • Translate concepts into 3D decoration ideas
  • Revise and refine solution
  • Present decoration solution to client
  • Reflect on decoration process
  • Assess colour requirements for the project
  • Research colour schemes for interior decoration
  • Explore colour schemes
  • Present colour scheme
  • Assess colour requirements for the project
  • Research colour schemes for interior decoration
  • Explore colour schemes
  • Present colour scheme

Your resource library

  • Assess client product need
  • Source and assess suitability of products
  • Specify products
  • Interpret decoration requirements from project brief
  • Research furniture
  • Research accessories
  • Make recommendations to client
  • Assess soft furnishing requirements for the project
  • Research materials for soft furnishings
  • Research and recommend decorative treatments for windows and openings
  • Research and recommend soft floor coverings
  • Document and present decorative recommendations

Run your own business

  • Define the design challenge
  • Undertake research to inform the design solution
  • Communicate and collaborate with others
  • Generate ideas and responses to the design challenge
  • Select a design solution
  • Identify principles of WHS
  • Assess WHS implications for interior decoration and design
  • Assess safety implications for customers
  • Assess risk
  • Apply risk control measures to decoration and design solutions

This unit of competency covers the skills and knowledge required to effectively find out current resource use and carry out improvements, in own work area, including those that reduce the negative environmental impacts of work practices.

This unit of competency applies to operators/team members who are required to follow procedures to work in an environmentally sustainable manner. This maximises the environmental performance of the process and the organisation, ensures regulatory compliance, and aims to minimise environmental risks and impacts.

This unit of competency applies to all sectors of the manufacturing industry and members of its value chain. It may also be applied to all sections of an organisation, including office and warehouse. This unit will need to be contextualised for the industry sector, organisation and section.

This unit of competency applies to an individual working alone or as part of a team/work group and working in liaison with other shift team members and the control room operator, as appropriate.

No licensing, legislative or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

  • Develop operational strategies and procedures
  • Implement operational strategies and procedures
  • Monitor business performance
  • Maintain networks
  • Review business operations

Interior design technology

  • Establish structural components and materials used in residential buildings
  • Interpret plans and specifications
  • Specify the materials and methods involved in the refurbishment of wet areas​
  • Develop and maintain relevant and current reference material
  • Identify hard material and finishing requirements for project
  • Identify types and features of hard materials and finishes
  • Research hard materials and finishes
  • Recommend hard materials and finishes
  • Identify presentation requirements from project brief
  • Prepare materials board
  • Prepare for client presentation

CAD drawings

  • Determine project requirements
  • Use CAD applications to produce 2-D model and documentation
  • Edit drawing components
  • Render surfaces
  • Plot and print for final presentations
  • Save and back up files
  • Ensure client requirements are met.
  • Produce one-point perspective visuals from a given plan and elevation.
  • Produce two-point perspective visuals from a given plan and elevation.
  • Produce multi point perspective from given industry briefs.
  • Create 3-D views of the model.

The design brief

  • Establish design requirements
  • Develop and refine design brief
  • Negotiate terms and conditions
  • Prepare for site evaluation
  • Assess structural aspects of interior space
  • Assess materials used in interior space
  • Assess services
  • Conduct additional research to support site evaluation
  • Analyse the project brief
  • Conduct project research
  • Generate decorative themes and concepts
  • Select and specify internal finishes, furniture, furnishings, lighting and object d'art
  • Present a fully resolved scheme and evaluate client response

Restoration project

  • Plan and prepare for drawing requirements.
  • Organise information for drawing preparation.
  • Draw or develop orthographic description.
  • Draw or develop sectional detailed drawings.
  • Develop detailed drawings of feature work.
  • Complete work.
  • Analyse the project brief
  • Conduct research on decoration requirements
  • Generate decoration solution
  • Prepare client presentation
  • Interpret lighting requirements from project brief
  • Assess natural light sources
  • Assess artificial light sources
  • Select light fittings
  • Draw and present lighting layouts for an interior space

The portfolio

  • Evaluate and select presentation options
  • Plan presentation of work
  • Create presentation
  • View and update presentation



What are my payment options?

Pay in full

If you pay your course fees up-front in full, you’ll benefit from a discount. When you pay in full, we don’t have to spend extra money on administration for tasks such as payment plan processing. Instead, we get to pass this saving onto you in the form of a discount.

ZipMoney Payment Plan

If you need a little more flexibility in your finances, and want to pay off your course fees over a longer period of time, you can switch to a zipMoney payment plan. Essentially, zipMoney pays your course fees for you, and you pay this loan back over 24, 36 or 48 months. As long as you are eligible, you can switch to a zipMoney plan at any time.

Payment Plan

Pay for you course in weekly or fortnightly instalments. By paying in instalments, you can schedule your payments around your regular outgoings and get ahead without breaking the bank. Open Colleges payment plans are interest-free.

Find out more

Aileen Sanjoto

Aileen Sanjoto has been working in the retail and commercial interior design sector for the past 10 years. 
As a practicing Interior Designer and lecturer, she believes that design is a versatile subject that can be taught across many platforms to engage and stimulate creative minds.

As a educator, Aileen strives to deliver the highest level of training, learning and support to all students, by providing both conceptual and theoretical knowledge of design, as well as current information on the latest design news and development.

Chris Veness

For over a decade, Chris has been training industry professionals and interior design students at both University and TAFE levels, as well as working in the design industry and running his own design and 3D practice. His wealth of teaching experience covers all aspects of Design, CAD, BIM and 3D software. In 2011, he was awarded "Teacher of the Year" at the Canberra Institute of Technology and in 2014 received the highest student satisfaction rating at the University of Canberra. As a practising building designer and interior designer, Chris delivers the very highest quality standards to his clientele. He is a leader and pioneer of 3D visualisations and artist impressions. Chris is the Program Manager for the Building & Construction/Interior Design & Decoration courses.

Julia Simmons

Julia Simmons has over 15 years of experience providing strategic design consultancy services across Europe, the United States, and the Asia-Pacific Region. Her particular focus is ensuring design meets the requirements of its users. She holds a Bachelor of Interior Architecture (Hons) from the University of New South Wales.

Kathryn Trentini

As an independent interior designer Kathryn’s studio covers interior design, colour concepts, decoration, product sourcing and styling. Passionate about using contemporary, independent and emerging designers, she loves to create spaces that are classic and aesthetically beautiful yet are relaxed and easy to live in.

For Kathryn, working as an interior designer is very much a collaborative process. Moving into other design areas including theatre production, set design and shop-front window design gives her a creative outlet to explore beyond the traditional interior. Kathryn is a Member of the Design Institute of Australia and Justice of the Peace (NSW).

Melissa Kenny

Melissa has been an interior designer for over 20 years. She studied at Enmore Design College while working full-time in her first design studio. Melissa contributed to many retail, hospitality, and residential design projects before going overseas and working in a well-established London design studio, making a base to travel through Europe. In 2001, Melissa started her own design company called holmes@home. She loves designing and sharing her skills and knowledge with students that wish to make design their passion and career. 

Zaid Kilani

Zaid started working in the Interior Design field for an elite custom furniture company, focusing on 3D modelling in furniture and interior design for both commercial and residential projects. He followed his passion for interior design and 3D modelling and now has years of experience, having worked on a variety of different interior design and furniture design projects. This experience enabled him to expand his knowledge of a variety of CAD, 3D modelling and rendering software. His passion for design drove him to start his own interior design studio. He loves to share his knowledge and spread his passion of design with students.


This course is endorsed by:

Learners are supplied with a student art pack which includes:

Study Period 1

  • Textbook: Interior design illustrated
  • Textbook: Interior design visual presentation
  • Scale ruler
  • Jasart sketch pad 110gms cartridge paper 100pp A3
  • A3 visual diary
  • A3 Black Diary
  • Reeves tracing paper pad65gsm 25 sheets: A3
  • A3 white foam core
  • Kent set square #10
  • Graphite Sketch Set
  • 4x Uni Pens
  • Renoir glue tape removable


Study Period 2

  • Brush Bundle Pack
  • 12 Well Paint Pallet
  • JASART pencils 12 pack
  • Jasart Foamboard 5mm A3 - Black on Black
  • Colour wheel
  • 3x Mpexy markers
  • Gouache Colour CMYK
Open Colleges offers this qualification in association with TAFE NSW North Region (Provider number: 90010). The testamur will be issued by TAFE NSW North Region.

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