Course FAQ : Related to our Certificate IV in Interior Decoration (MSF40118)

When is your next course?
Check out our courses page  to see the latest information on course intakes. If there are no dates listed unfortunately we don’t have any new course admissions set in stone just yet. That doesn’t mean we won’t be holding more in the future though!

Sign up to our mailing list (head to the bottom of the page) and be the first to know when a new course is announced! 

How much does the course cost?

Our course fees can vary quite a bit depending on whether or not you are eligible for a government funded place. Please click here to determine your eligibility for funding. Government funded courses and funding availability may be subject to change in 2020.
The fees listed below include tuition for the course, as well as required materials to complete the course.*

If you are eligible for government funding:

If you are eligible for government funding and hold a valid concession card:

If you are not eligible for government funding (concession is not applicable if you are ineligible):

Please check out our current course flyer on this page ; then scroll down to the fees page (p. 12) for more detailed information about our course fees and eligibility.

* You will need to provide a laptop computer of your own

Is this course full-time?
Technically our Certificate IV course is considered full time study, but we only hold classes one day per week (or very occasionally two classes per week in the after hours format of our course).

Courses generally last for around 13 months total. We do not hold classes over Victorian school holidays or public holidays.

Can I complete the course online?

Yes! We are currently working hard to make our Certificate IV Interior Decoration Course available for delivery online. Intake for the Online Course is slated for mid 2021. Sign up to our mailing list to stay in the loop with all upcoming information on enrollements and the like. 

What is the difference between your 'day' course, and your 'after hours' course?
Whilst our day and after hours formats of the course offer the same content, learning and an identical certificate at the end, there are a few key differences.
  • The day class has slightly longer classes (5.5 hours vs 3 hours); please note that the day class is afforded a 40- 60 minute break during class time for lunch.
    In our after hours class, we will usually eat dinner during classtime as we continue to learn/work in order to maximise the most of our time.
  • The after hours class has an occasional Saturday class (roughly 3 hrs in length) that the day class do not have.
    These Saturday classes occur roughly every 4 – 5 weeks. These specific Saturday dates for the entire course are given to students at their application; so they can know which exact Saturdays to expect class.
    This means in total, the after hours class ends up having more individual classes than the day format.
  • Our after hours class uses the aforementioned Saturday classes to try and do things like photoshoots and excursions, which usually are not practical in a regular weeknight class.
    The day class has a much less rigid excursion structure, and is able to go on excursions / complete photoshoots generally whenever we deem them appropriate for our in class learning, as opposed to waiting for certain Saturdays.
  • If you ever have a choice between the two; we make it no secret that you should attempt to choose the day course if able.
    Both formats will provide you with the same learning and content, but the ability to go on more excursions and the fact that you would be devoting a whole day to your learning (and are thus not too tired after work for example) are good reasons to recommend the day class.Of course, the day class is not an option for everyone which is why we offer the after hours format to accommodate those who are trying to study around full time work or family.
Do you offer any other courses? Perhaps a diploma?
At the moment, our Certificate IV in Interior Decoration is our only long term accredited course.

If you’re looking for something with a little less commitment involved, check out our Masterclass or Workshops and see if something sparks your interest!

Wondering what the difference is between our Certificate IV and a standard Diploma?
What we deliver at Design School has been developed and hand tailored with real industry knowledge and experience.

Design School’s founder, Jenna Densten, entered the design industry after completing a longer, more intensive tertiary course. Jenna’s experience was that a lot of what had been covered in her studies were not necessarily used in the field. This inspired the creation of our Certificate IV to include everything needed to get students industry ready in a shorter timeframe. We cover all of the relevant essentials that will equip you to hit the ground running with all the expert knowledge you’ll need!

What job outcomes could I expect from this qualification?
There are quite a few varied job avenues once you have completed a Certificate IV in Interior Decoration. Here are just a few:

  • Interior Decorator
    Many of our students learn to create their own voice, branding and style and take on their own clients and projects once completing the course.
  • Stylist / Property Stylist
    Whilst you don’t need this or technically any qualification to get into styling, our course features a large amount of learning appropriate for a stylist. Our students have a lot of opportunities over the course to complete hands on styling, and to begin a beautiful portfolio of photos.
  • Homewares Specialist
    You may find a calling for a very specific set of needs: Perhaps after learning about lighting you wish to become a specialist, or can’t get enough of benchtops and want to move into that industry. This could also be a great avenue for the more ‘people’ kind of person, dealing with suppliers and clients alike.

Or perhaps you aren’t sure where you would like this course to lead you; that’s perfectly fine. We all learn throughout the course where our strengths lie, and you may find a love for something you never knew existed! Some of our past students have used our course as a jumping off point into Visual Merchandising, starting their own design business or as a stepping stone to further study in a more specialised field of design.

I want to study Interior Design... is this the same?
An interior decorator and an interior designer share a very similar skillset, although there are a few key differences.

  • A decorator generally redesigns spaces / homes that already exist (choosing colour schemes, furniture, accessories, benchtops, paints, coming up with costings and schedules etc.)
  • A designer also does the same, but learns more about architectural and structural constraints of a space (for example, they could work with an architect to design a brand new building and interior at once).
  • An Interior Decorator requires a Certificate IV (such as the course we offer), whilst an Interior Designer requires a Diploma (or higher), which entails further study. Decorators should not call themselves an “interior designer” without further qualifications.
  • Our course can be used as a stepping stone to complete an Interior Design course should you wish to do so afterwards.
What subjects would I be studying?
At Design School we cover a range of subjects all tailored to give you the fullest knowledge of Interior Decoration and equip students with a practical ‘tool kit’ to get them industry ready. The set curriculim comprises of the following subjects:

1. MSFID4019 Research interior decoration and design influences
We begin our course with research interior decoration and design influences. To have a good understanding of our design history is crucial in being able to see and understand how one decade transitions to the next and linking design to what was happening in socially, economically and environmentally during that time. This will enable you to predict future trends and to be able to work with various design styles with a good understanding of characteristics of each decade from the pre 40’s through to current.

2. CUADIG303 Produce and prepare photo images
Social media is a huge part of our world today and being able to take a photo for social media to share progress on a design project, something that inspires you or even a flat lay or corner you’ve styled at home is extremely important for your personal branding and networking. 
We are not expected to become professional photographers but simply have an understanding of the basics in composition, lighting, framing and editing photos.

3. CUAACD301 Produce drawings to communicate ideas
BSBDES302 Explore and apply the creative design process to 2D forms
Drawings Are huge part of the design process and are a big communication tool. They start from rough sketches in developing an idea through to concept presentation drawings for clients and finally technical drawings to communicate your design to your trades. 
Here we experiment with 2D drawings to develop and design concepts to communicate your ideas.

4. MSFGN4001 Research and meet ethical and compliance requirements
An interior decorator needs to know how to create not only beautiful homes, but safe homes too. This unit follows the process of what laws and regulations you need to know during concept stages, deciding what pieces or materials to recommend, through to the final product.

5. MSFID4018 Research and recommend hard materials and finishes for interiors
Hard materials and finishes are the bones of a good design. They provide the perfect backdrop for furniture and accessories and need to be considered from not only their aesthetic standpoint but also for their practicality.

We research hard materials and finishes to ensure we understand the materials limits, capabilities and appropriate uses. We strongly encourage thorough research be applied before a recommendation to ensure the product meets the clients brief.

6. MSFID4021 Design soft furnishing solutions for interiors spaces
MSFID4017 Research and recommend furniture and accessories
Furniture and accessories can make or break a design project and needs to be considered alongside the clients brief, budget and consideration for spacial planing.

Each piece selected needs to be thoroughly researched to ensure its adequacy from the scale, material, colour and functional requirements.

7. CUAACD303 Produce technical drawings
BSBDES303 Explore and apply creative design process to 3D forms
We learn how to create technical drawings, such as floor plans and elevations and how to correctly place and use measurements in these drawings. We also delve into 3D modelling software, that allows you to create a full room or home concept in full on your computer.

This software is taught from the ground up, and requires no prior knowledge. 

8. MSFID4016 Design colour schemes for interior and exterior space
MSFID4013 Design residential interior lighting
Colour plays a huge part in both interior and exterior spaces. We cover colour psychology and the emotional response to colour, how colour changes in varied light conditions and how to develop a well considered colour scheme. 

Without light there is no colour, therefor it’s important to consider lighting alongside your colour selections to ensure you understand the effects of your colour and lighting selections combined.
Lighting is often overlooked and has the ability to drastically change the feel of a space. We cover the types of lighting from mood, task, accent and natural through to the globe types and location of lights on a lighting plan.

9. MSFID4015 Prepare a materials board for client presentation
A digital mood board is fantastic but nothing can quite compare to physically being able to touch, feel and see the material selections. 

Creating a tangible material board allows the client to visualise their material selections side by side and see the true representation of colour.
It’s important to understand how to present this professionally to ensure you can communicate your design to the best of your ability.

10. MSFID4012 Decorate residential interiors
‘Decorate Residential Interiors’ is where everything we have learnt to date comes together in the full design process. From initial consultation through to final presentation. We guide you through how to work through each stage of the design process and apply your knowledge and skills. You will he left with a fantastic portfolio piece at the end of this unit.

11. MSFID5018 Provide interior styling service
SIRRMER004 Develop visual merchandising creative concepts
‘Visual Merchandising’ and ‘Interior Styling’ have come a long way since social media has taken over. More and more brands are looking for content, and this is where stylists are able to shine.

We go through a real life client brief and the design process in creating a styling or visual merchandising concept with a focus on the brand outcome. This may include an emphasis on increasing sales, and needs be looked at more commercially than an interior residential client.

12. BSBDES403 Develop and extend design skills and practice
Developing and extending design skills and practice allows you to reflect on your journey and where you see yourself in the future.  You will create a website, resume and set goals for your short, medium and long term in preparation for your transition from study to working in the industry. 

All subjects are completed one at a time, and in the order listed above.

How much study am I expected to complete outside of class?
This is a tricky question and will vary from person to person; but a good guideline would be to expect to complete 3 to 5 hours of study outside of class time each week.
Some weeks may involve a bit more homework and some a lot less, but on average this is what you should expect.
Do I need prior experience?
No. Our course is created for those who wish to begin learning from the ground up. Even if you do have some experience in the design industry or with renovations, there is still always a lot to learn.

However, prospective students do need to meet our minimum level of literacy, numeracy and computer skills before being granted acceptance into any of our courses.

Do I need to apply for a place in the course?
Yes, we do have an application process for each course. Applications are not open all year round; they only open the month or two in advance of each course start date. Visit our courses page to see if any current applications are open.



Our application process involves meeting with you either in person at Design School or on a virtual meeting platform. We will chat for around an hour giving us the opportunity to meet and learn about each other, complete some paperwork and to determine some simple literacy, numeracy and computer skill levels. You do not need to prepare or bring a folio of past experiences or work with you.
This application process is not only to make sure that you are the right fit for Design School, but also that we are the right fit for you.
We have a maximum of 25 students in any one class, so it is possible that some prospective students may not be offered a place after one of these sessions.

I can't draw! Can I still apply for the course?
Yes, we teach you basic hand drawing skills early on in the course. The only way to get better is through practice, so we make sure to do our fair share of drawing when we can.
What supplies do I need for the course?
We supply our students with all art materials, textbooks and other necessities throughout the course.
The only thing you need to supply yourself is a laptop computer.
What kind of laptop / skills / software do I need for the course?
Laptop Specifications:
You will need your own laptop computer for the course. Unfortunately, a tablet is not appropriate for some of the skills we teach in this course.
You do not need to purchase a new laptop for this course or have any specific operating systems etc, just a basic laptop in good working condition. Most laptops purchased within the last five years or so will be suitable for the course. Our course is friendly to both Mac and Windows users; we always advise to use which ever you are most comfortable with.

Computer Skills:
A minimum level of computer skills are required and tested prior to entry into our course. You don’t need to be a computer genius, but you do need to know some basic functions and skills. Including but not limited to:

  • using your internet browser
  • downloading files & images from the internet, then locating said files once downloaded
  • copying / pasting / renaming / saving / files
  • ability to use the basics of presentation software (such as: powerpoint, keynote or canva) 

Software / Programs:
Throughout the course we will use varied pieces of software, and we are flexible to allow you to use programs that you are comfortable with.

We will use presentation software (such as Powerpoint, Keynote or Canva), word processing software (such as Microsoft Word or Pages) and also 3D modelling software (which we teach you how to install and use from scratch as part of the course).

~ you will need either the microsoft office suite (word, powerpoint, excel) OR
~ the apple equivalent for mac users (pages, keynote, numbers)

If you already have any of this software on your laptop, you need nothing more. If you don’t have any of these programs, we are able to provide students with free programs during the course to meet these needs.

Additional Advice:

  • If using a newer mac laptop without USB ports, we recommend owning a USB adapter such as the one seen here. Not required.
  • For the 3D modelling software we teach, it is beneficial to own a mouse with a click wheel. Not required
  • Sometimes we have students bring in their ‘work laptop’ to our course. This is absolutely fine, but you would need to make sure that you have appropriate authorisation (i.e. passwords) to install new programs and use the laptop in various locations.
Do you offer students work experience?
Whilst we don’t have work experience built into a specific section of our curriculum, we are often able to provide extra curricular industry opportunities to our students when available.
These opportunities may come up rather sporadically, and could cover a wide range from work experience with a property styling company, to assisting on a styling shoot, or even helping out at a trade fair.

Please note that any opportunities available are used to reward students for their work and commitment and are not a guarantee throughout the course.

Will you hold any courses outside of Melbourne?

At this point in time, most of our courses are held  in Melbourne, Victoria. Please sign up to our subscription list for news updates on any other locations. Our current  Melbourne campus is located at 13 Ferguson St, Abbotsford, Victoria 3071.

When is your next open day?
We will usually hold an open day a month or two prior to any course starts, but should you miss one please contact us and we can potentially arrange an alternative visit.

Check out our courses page for any up to date information about upcoming open days, or sign up to our mailing list at the bottom of the page to be notifed when the next one is scheduled. 

If your question isn’t answered above, please feel free to contact us.

Check out the following pages for more information regarding Workshops or Industry Collaborations