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Interior Design and Decoration - BA (Hons)

Why study this course?

This undergraduate degree course gives you the knowledge and creative skills you need for a successful career in interior design and decoration. You’ll work in design studios that combine spatial, 2D and 3D decoration and explore the relationship between furniture, textiles and interiors. You’ll also develop your abilities through material and technological workshops, and experience the industry through live briefs, visiting speakers and competitions.

In the most recent (2014-15) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.

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You’ll study the history of interior design, discover its ceremonial and ritualistic role in society through the ages and develop the hands-on skills and techniques you need to succeed in the industry.

Taught by experts in the field, you'll learn about the different decorative, sculptural and textural elements of interior design and examine the relationship between furniture, design, user, product and place. As you develop your skills through hands-on practice and research, you’ll explore your own creative responses to light, colour, acoustics, and graphic and illustrative patternation. You’ll also work with a range of material processes in studios and workshops and use creative and imaginative narratives to develop sensory, intellectual and aesthetic spaces that make an impact on the audience and user.

During the course, you’ll study structural model-making with a range of materials including wood, metal, concrete, upholstery and ceramics. In addition, you’ll gain skills through traditional and digital workshops, helping you develop a comprehensive, clear design vision of residential and/or retail environments. You’ll also have access to important archives kept at institutions such as the V&A and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), which will allow you to research methods and approaches that are so often relevant today.

Led from a sustainable stance, each project will see you discuss the suitability of the materials and processes involved and look at best practice throughout the world. You'll also work with informed and ecological agencies such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and the Building Research Establishment (BRE), as well as material libraries, to take into account the importance of using sustainable resources, recycling, upcycling and reusing in order to create a circular economy.

Allied to both the architecture and design school, this course is perfect if you’re interested in either discipline. If you’re keen to focus on decorative interior design, you’ll work closely with a team of furniture, textile and upholstery designers to develop your skills and vision. If you’re more architecturally minded, you’ll work with experts in structural environments, manipulating the qualities and looks of surfaces and materials to create impactful spatial experiences. In both cases, you’ll develop your skills and knowledge to create your own personal design style. You’ll also have the opportunity to undertake a work placement at a leading London design practice, helping you develop the practical skills and contacts you need for your career.

Assessment

A number of assessment methods will be used throughout the course. These range from formative, summative, diagnostic, peer and self-assessment methods to studio based work, workshops, and CAD and digital projects and exercises.

In addition to the University’s standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • for entry in the 2016-17 academic year: a minimum of 280 UCAS points from at least two A levels or an equivalent Level 3 qualification in relevant art and design subjects
  • for entry in the 2017-18 academic year: a minimum of grades BBC in three A levels one of which comes from a relevant subject area such in the arts, humanities or social sciences (or a minimum of 112 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification in relevant art and design subjects) plus a portfolio review
  • GCSE English and Mathematics at grade C (grade 4 from 2017) or above

We encourage applications from international/EU students with equivalent qualifications. We also accept mature students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Suitable applicants living in the UK will be invited to a portfolio interview. Applicants living outside the UK will be required to submit a portfolio of work via email. 

If you do not have traditional qualifications or cannot meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the Art and Design Extended Degree (with Foundation Year).

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Portfolios and interviews

Your portfolio should be selective but have enough work to show the range of your interests and talents. We are interested in seeing how you develop a project from beginning to end, not only finished work.

Your portfolio should have a range of 2D and 3D design and material sampling, and demonstrate a keen interest in working directly with materials within workshops, and visualising and problem-solving techniques.

If there are elements you can't bring to your portfolio interview, take photographs and include them.

We always want to see traditional drawing whether observational, life or concept generating, so please include this, even if you already have good CAD skills.

Finally, be ready to talk about your work and how you see your future as an interior designer.

If you're studying full-time, each year (level) is worth 120 credits.

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2016/17 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon

    The module offers a sequence of three intensive programmes or ‘mini-blocks’, tailored to the interests of specific groups of students. The module engages the student in thinking about their subject area, how it is defined and practiced, the richness of its resources, and how it opens up questions of context. In particular the module investigates how context might be framed, for example culturally, historically, economically, socially, theoretically or through practice. Students are encouraged to see connections and reflect on what they see in ways that build skills of communication and help articulate ideas. The module also helps the student, through learning how to identify, access and use knowledge profitably, to become knowledgeable about their subject area, its extent, its language and conventions, its history and practice.

    The three mini-blocks have equally weighted single assessments. The assessments include a range of different modes of written assignments, for example, Patchwork, Case Study, or Essay.

    Read full details.
  • Successful design outcomes are reliant on sound design principles. These design principles inform and create opportunities for you to apply your creativity to the conception, development and eventual realisation of effective design solutions.

    Design is intent on bringing about change, impacting on human experience. This module will introduce you to a range of contemporary and traditional discipline-related design approaches and processes, some of which will be tested in design exercises and some of which may be realised in studios and projects carried across other modules. You will be introduced to systems and methods of research, observation and analysis, ranging from human behaviour and experience, cultural context, site, building and materials. The module will develop an understanding of spatial awareness linked to design and the organisation of space, interventions and added elements.

    Design concepts will be tested through the application of exercises, workshop and studio methods through a range of drawing techniques, modelling and making. Materials, processes and technologies introduced, developing creative outcomes relevant to the possibilities and constraints of the context, the needs of the client and users, and industry conventions and regulations.

    You will be encouraged to develop a critically informed and personal approach to the process of design. Studios and projects will encourage you to understand your practice in the context of a rapidly changing contemporary culture with ever-developing needs and problems. Engaging with materials, media and, processes, you can become an agent of change through design practice.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning

    By progressing from the scale of the building to that of interior components and materials, this module provides an introduction to technologies, materials and the communication and making practices of designers working with the Interior.

    It specifically establishes an understanding of key building technology by introducing typical building construction for historic and contemporary buildings. The principles of building services and environmental design in the design of interior spaces will also be introduced. Materials, their properties, selection and application will be considered and tested.

    Additionally, students will develop communication techniques appropriate to the diversity of information designers’ use and audiences targeted. These will include the use of different orthogonal drawing conventions, diagrams and sketches, and a range of modelmaking types and making processes.

    The module will use different methods to establish this knowledge; site visits and surveys, case studies, making and drawing workshops, as well as lectures, seminars and the utilisation of a wide variety of published sources.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    This module introduces you to the ‘spatial journey’, a critical term used throughout the subject field of Interior Design.

    This module encourages students to explore and manipulate the spatial qualities of interiors by applying design principles relating to, for example, the rhythm, pattern and differentiation of architectural features in their contexts.

    It considers human responses to commercial and community spaces/environments and the specific impact of these spaces on people. You will observe the physical and emotional values of space and learn how to relate space to its purpose. You will survey and document examples of real spatial environments, using industry standard recording and publishing techniques and tools.

    Students will develop and present proposals relating to a spatial journey, exploring ways to manipulate spatial choices and realising ideas visually through drawings, models and digital visualisation techniques. You will be introduced to sector-specific traditional and digital design modelling techniques, and the visualisation and presentation skills necessary for the practising designer. The module will be delivered through the design studio, normally includes a range of exercises and will facilitate the realisation of concepts/ projects generated in other modules.

    Read full details.

Year 2 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning

    The module offers a sequence of three intensive programmes or ‘mini-blocks’ tailored to the interests of specific groups of students. It provides a range of studies that address the character and conditions of cultural production including how they operate in practice. The module helps to prepare the student for their final-year dissertation and their future role as professionals and practitioners. The student encounters different perspectives on their subject area and undertakes different forms of coursework aimed at helping inform their choice of dissertation topic and approach.

    The module begins to situate the student within the process of constructing knowledge. This process may be approached from the point of view of the producer or consumer, the critic or the professional, the academic or the practitioner, in that there are a number of players involved. The module recognises that the student is also an active player in the process: what they bring to the construction of knowledge counts; and how effectively they construct it depends on how well they understand and interact with the field. To this end the module encourages the skills of reading and literacy as required – historical, analytical, textual, visual or technical – to help support rigorous and enterprising thought.

    The three blocks have equally weighted single assessments.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Friday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Friday morning

    Materiality (form, colour, surface and texture) affects meaning and value in all design. This module requires your critical attention to subtle and implicit design details, expressed through materials and construction, considering how material-selection and manipulation inscribes quality and value onto the artefact and/or interior.

    You will explore both physical and virtual material representation, drawing on concepts and ideas originally generated within the studio. Outcomes will be developed through material and/ or constructional experimentation including full-scale interventions or working prototypes. You will realise relevant design solutions for studio briefs, in response to specific end-users and/or sites.

    Through in-depth practice-led research, you will consider the social, functional and environmental impacts of material choices and the performance of these upon designed-spaces or objects.

    You will learn to work to a high level of professional presentation. You will develop a logical and creative approach to design problem solving, appropriate to the needs of users and clients.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Friday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Friday morning

    As humans, we live in a continuous and ongoing relationship with the made world, where the former and the latter each informs the other. This module aims to show how understanding of the human body (its scale, proportions and movement) and awareness of sociological and physiological human behaviour are key aspects of successful design. This module will examine how humans live and work together and how the body is a site for debate, performance and politics through contemporary and historical civilizations.

    Close observation of the interaction between the body and its immediate environment will be at the core of this area of study. It will show how analysis of the human being, at a range of scales, is vital to relevant, safe and ethical, innovative design that responds to physical and sensory needs. Environmental observation and reflection will be documented through a range of media, analysed to support the generation of concepts and design ideas.

    Informed selection and application of material processes are an intrinsic part of the design and production of both objects and the made environment. Workshop activities will explore and test ideas, resolving design issues through modelling in traditional and digital materials and technologies. Material experimentation and knowledge will enhance both the concept and its communication.

    You will normally select from a range of studio projects, working with contemporary ideas and practising designers, mentored by professional practices as appropriate to the project.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    This module develops and applies the knowledge and skills established in DN4008, and in preparation for AR6004, Integrated Design Practice, at Level 6. The module will develop student’s understanding of approaches to the production of interior spaces through the strategic and detailed understanding of design processes.

    The module focuses in more detail on how different aspects of material, construction, services and environmental design interact within the context of larger and/or more complex interiors and buildings. The module will provide a progressively more detailed knowledge of the interior from structure, interior organisation to details of fixings, fittings and surfaces.

    The module introduces methods, terms and techniques that can be used to evaluate and describe the range of different relationships that appear under the heading of technology. In particular, the module investigates interiors that may involve multiple clients, for example, retail, hotels or public buildings. It examines how and why standards are developed as well as the remit for research and experiment.

    The development and production of a range of drawn (manual and CAD) and written information is used to establish an understanding of professional standards in design communication and the individual’s scope to represent ideas and decisions precisely.

    Read full details.

Year 3 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday morning

    The module is framed in terms of a dissertation. The student undertakes an enquiry into a topic of his or her own choice and, based on this enquiry, develops an extended critical study. The module involves individual supervision designed to support the student’s ambitions and confidence in becoming an independent learner, building on techniques and knowledge developed in previous years, and providing scope for initiative and development. The dissertation demonstrates the student’s ability to thoroughly research a topic, use appropriate methods of investigation, and work methodically and productively.

    The subject matter of the dissertation can be theoretical, technical, or historical, should be closely related to the student’s main field of study and be complimentary to their practice. It may be envisaged as one of several different types: for example, visual, technical or other non-written material may form the subject of the enquiry and comprise an integral part of the whole; the dissertation may be professionally oriented and include field-work; or it might be academic and theoretical in its source material and methodology. Its form and approach can reflect a broad range of discipline-specific approaches based on discussion and agreement with the supervisor and/or course leader.

    Students may develop their topic independently or, as an option, within a specific dissertation Interest or Subject Group. Interest or Subject Groups will provide a short taught programme. They are offered on an annual basis and may incorporate:

    • research based specialisms
    • areas of scholarly interest in history and theory
    • industry related practice
    • workshop, digital or media based technical studies

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Friday morning

    The module provides a link between the completion of their undergraduate studies and interior design practice. It establishes a student’s ability to integrate the key areas of their interior design knowledge within the context of their major design project and through this, their readiness for professional practice.
    The coursework records and responds to the process of design development and, using a range of specialist contributions, introduces a range of issues, interests and perspectives. The process is recorded, evaluated, presented and reviewed in relation to the comprehensive design project.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Friday afternoon

    This Major Project module enables Interior Design and Decoration students to prepare for independent practice in the workplace or to progress onto higher studies. It is the opportunity to synthesise your specialist knowledge and skills and effectively communicate these. In this module, you will carry out the project conceived and developed in the parallel Project Design and Development module (DN6001), fully realising it in appropriate physical form by the end of the module.

    You will exercise and display your abilities in selecting, analysing and applying knowledge, skills and understanding to a negotiated and fully researched project in order to properly understand your strengths, interests and position in your field, and the potential for your future professional development.

    You will show that you understand the complex and changing nature of problems in the professional disciplines of Interior Design and Decoration and can devise and apply realistic strategies for constructing, applying and managing a process designed to provide solutions.

    A professional standard of realisation, contextualisation and presentation will be expected, providing the elements for a portfolio of practice with which you may enter the field of employment or self-employment or further studies.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Friday afternoon

    Together with their Major Project Realisation module, this module is intended to prepare Interiors students for independent practice, entry into the professional workplace, or for higher study.

    Through synthesis of knowledge of processes and principles, using an appropriate range of intellectual, creative and practical skills, you will design and develop a self-directed project. This will naturally require in-depth research, a well-constructed design process, and the exercise of practical and thinking skills, resulting in a significant body of creative work for public exhibition.

    A negotiated and approved proposal will confirm your individual project. Using creative exploration and experimentation, you will develop research, concept development, material investigation, modelling or prototyping and visualisation. The final outcome will be produced in the specific Major Project Realisation modules; DN6017, DN6018 or DN6019.

    This module will ensure that you critique and reflect upon your own work and your position in your creative sector. The module emphasizes self-direction and personal focus whilst acknowledging external and professional expectations and constraints.

    Read full details.

If you're studying full-time, each year (level) is worth 120 credits.

Throughout the course, you’ll study a range of modules designed to develop your creative skills and knowledge of all aspects of interior design and decoration.

In Year 1, you’ll gain a solid foundation in the fundamental principles underpinning interior design and study core modules including visual research and communication and design principles.

In Year 2, you’ll study core modules including creative industry practice, and will also choose from optional modules including human scale.

In the final year, you’ll gain practical experience through a design and development project, and expand your knowledge of specialist areas through optional modules including integrated design practice.

Year 1 modules include:

  • Interior Materials and Technology
  • Design Principles for Interiors
  • Critical and Contextual Studies
  • Manipulation of Space/Workshop Practice

Year 2 modules include:

  • Interior Technologies and Practice
  • Design Details
  • Critical and Contextual Studies 2
  • Human Scale

Year 3 modules include:

  • Major Project Realisation: Interior Design and Decoration
  • Project Design and Development for Interiors
  • Critical and Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation
  • Integrated Design Practice

"The course has excellent contacts in regards to internships, exhibitions and competitions to take part in, giving us the opportunity to get experience in the real world."

"An engaging course and projects that are highly competitive. Great links to people in the industry up-to-date information about the architecture and design world, and great projects led by real clients."

"Flexible, independent and intellectually stimulating."

"...tutors always help with any difficulties you might have... you have the opportunity to meet wonderful people, a friendly environment and much more..."

"Teachers are very helpful and always there for you, you feel very welcome and there's a very friendly atmosphere."

"The course was excellent."

National Student Survey

As an interior decoration specialist, you’ll have the skills and expertise to work in all sectors of the interiors industry, from private clients to high-end residential, hotel and retail work. Following graduation, many of our students have gone on to work for some of the best interior design, furniture and architecture practices in London.

To boost your practical skills, experience and contacts, you’ll also have the opportunity to undertake a work placement at a leading London design practice. In 2016 students were placed at 50 design companies including Foster + Partners, Gensler and turnerbates.

Between 2016 and 2020 we're investing £125 million in the London Metropolitan University campus, moving all of our activity to our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching location of some courses will change over time.

Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2017. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.

All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

Unistats is the official site that allows you to search for and compare data and information on university and college courses from across the UK. The widget(s) below draw data from the corresponding course on the Unistats website. If a course is taught both full-time and part-time, one widget for each mode of study will be displayed here.

How to apply

UK/EU students wishing to begin this course studying full-time in September 2016 should apply by calling the Clearing hotline on .

Applicants from outside the EU should refer to our guidance for international students during Clearing.

Part-time applicants should apply direct to the University online.

If you're a UK/EU applicant applying for full-time study you must apply via UCAS unless otherwise specified.

UK/EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University.

Non-EU applicants for full-time study may choose to apply via UCAS or apply direct to the University. Non-EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University, but please note that if you require a Tier 4 visa you are not able to study on a part-time basis.

All applicants applying to begin a course starting in January must apply direct to the University.

When to apply

The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) accepts applications for full-time courses starting in September from one year before the start of the course. Our UCAS institution code is L68.

If you will be applying direct to the University you are advised to apply as early as possible as we will only be able to consider your application if there are places available on the course.

Fees and key information

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