Having worked in the paint industry and specializing in colour, I have a passion for design and spent most of my career promoting beautiful interiors, so when I left the paint industry, it felt natural to progress into the field I had a passion for.
I spent ages researching the many online interior design diplomas and finally chose KLC School of Design in London for its reputation as well as the help they offered students both during the course and entering the industry afterwards.
What Skills You Need Before You Start
While it helps to be creative and have a good eye for interiors, you don’t need any interior design experience to do the course. Basic computer literacy skills like World, Excel and PowerPoint are necessary in my view.
What You Learn
The KLC Open Learning course, prepares you for professional practice as an interior designer and gives you the skills needed to manage an interior design project from start to finish.
This includes the following:-
- Professional skills: Steps in the design process, research, sourcing materials, sustainability.
- Creative skills including the development of new concepts. Freehand sketching and perspective drawing.
- Technical skills. A working knowledge of building construction, window treatments, lighting, ergonomics and space planning.
- Practical skills that will enable you to create a business, fees, terms and conditions, safety considerations, administrative documentation.
How Long it Takes
The course is made up of 4 sections with great video tutorials and notes for each. After each section you submit projects based on what you have learnt.
KLC gives you 3 years to complete the course and to help you there is a flexible online timetable with a calculator. You insert the number of hours you can study each week and it calculates how long each section will take. (Hint: Plan on doubling the time when you do this)
I started the course on April 3rd 2018 and finished in October 2019, working on average 10 hours a week.
Setting myself a goal of finishing by October 2019 meant I spent 40 to 50 hours a week during the last few months. You might have noticed the lack of blog posts during this time!
What Equipment You Need
KLC give you a comprehensive equipment list as well as a recommended book list but most importantly you will need:
- A journal/sketchbook for ideas, drawings and planning each project. This will be your new best friend and I recommend getting a ring bound A4 one.
- A good colour printer
- If you go the CAD pathway like I did, A computer with enough speed and space to operate Vectorworks and SketchUp.
- A scale ruler
- Rendering Pens and colouring pencils
- A cutting mat, metal ruler and scalpel.
The course recommends Vectorworks as the CAD program of choice. Vectorworks enables you to do technical drawings/plans. As an interior design student you can sign up for a student license which gives you a years access.
I applied for the student version and had just completed the 71 video tutorials when my Vectorworks was unavailable. It took me quite a few months and many emails to get my license back again but once I did it was smooth sailing after that. You can also apply for an extension which is great.
Throughout the course you need samples. Living in South Africa I found these really hard to get so I made two trips to the UK, visiting the London Design Fair with my concept boards in hand and I couldn’t have done the course had I not done this.
KLC recommend getting your work professionally photographed and this is a good tip. But let’s be honest, it’s really expensive, so I took my own photos which inevitably meant a skew edge here or there, sadly this does affect your marks.
My Top Tips
- Don’t go out and buy all the equipment at once, buy it as you need it.
- Do get the the student SketchUp version earlier and don’t leave it to the last section, this gives you more time to practice.
- Take advantage of the short courses KLC offer (there is a discount offered to students), living in South Africa I couldn’t and while the notes and tutorials are excellent I think these would have been a big help.
- Definitely visit London Design Fair especially Decorex, 100 Percent Design, Chelsea Design Quarter and the V&A.
- If you get the chance, do visit as many heritage buildings as you can
- Plan to spend at least 10 hours a week on average to keep up the momentum and complete the course.
- Make use of the friendly and helpful open learning centre who are there to help you along the way.
I loved the course, it was a huge amount of work but I enjoyed every second and I can’t wait to join the interior design industry. I do feel some industry experience is needed and I have contacted the KLC Careers service for help with that. I will keep you posted.