To become a successful interior designer, you will need to have knowledge of both the construction industry and the creative arts. Depending on the project you take up, you need to interpret the client’s brief, identify potential problems, comply with any relevant regulations and monitor works on site as appropriate. Having a strong educational foundation helps.
Many UK universities and private institutes offer nationally accredited courses in interior design to international students. Interior design and related skills such as soft furnishing, interior decoration, lighting, interior landscaping and floristry are all well-recognised professional occupations in the UK. Compared to other countries, UK offers a wider choice of colleges and study levels- whether it’s a short summer course or a diploma or an undergraduate degree you want to pursue, you will most definitely find it in the UK.
Moreover, interior design which is still viewed as an alternative career option in India is a well-established discipline in the UK. It even has its own professional body- the British Interior Design Association.
You can study interior design on its own or in combination with another subject. Degree titles usually include:
- Furnishing and interior decoration
- Interior design
- Design for interiors and exteriors
- Interior and landscape design
- Spatial design
- International textiles and surface patterns
- Three-dimensional design
- Interior architecture
- Interior design and technology.
A professional level interior design course usually covers the fundamentals of design visual research (colour, light, form, texture); basic knowledge of materials; creative work by project method; technical studies related to the built environment; and professional practice. Some leading UK universities which offer interior design courses to Indian students are Glasgow School of Art, University of the Creative Arts, University of Westminster and Birmingham City University.
If you are opting to study at a private college, make sure the course is accredited by the British Accreditation Council for Independent Further and Higher Education (BAC). It is also advisable to choose a course which gives you a thorough grounding in both design and professional practice followed by practical experience within the workplace.
You can find work placements at many reputed interior design firms in the UK while you are studying. Several UK degree courses are ‘sandwich’ courses, i.e. practical work experience is offered as part of the course and taken as a block – normally for a period of one year – in between academic studies. This will enable you to spend a year working in the UK to gain valuable work experience.
Most universities or colleges ask for a portfolio of work, and some insist on candidates having done a foundation course in art and design. You can contact the college or institution directly for details about the course pre-requisites.
Once qualified, interior design can turn out to be an immensely satisfying career where you get new opportunities to enhance and transform interior space. You get to work with the latest technology to create spaces which encourage learning, living and working. You can either work with design firms and architects (in India or abroad), or become an entrepreneur by setting up your own practice.
Image courtesy: Nuttakit