As a vocal alumni of the Interior Design Institute, one of the best online interior design certification programs, I get a lot of emails from prospective students. Even though I have a full series of Interior Design Institute reviews, there are still a few questions that I didn’t consider.
So I thought I’d throw together an FAQ here with all of the burning questions you may be considering if you’re considering enrolling in IDI.
This should be a helpful guide to help you make the best-informed decision possible.
Q: I am leaning towards the IDI course, but do they have a legit learning platform (user access, instructional videos, place to upload homework, chatting area with instructors etc.) or simply sends out PDFs to learn from?
A: Yes, IDI has pretty much everything you asked about, except for instructional videos. That’s one thing that I would’ve liked a lot more.
They send PDFs for each module, but there is a platform that you go on to upload your homework and chat with instructors if you have any questions. Instructors are pretty responsive, so that’s great. And they give decent feedback when you hand in an assignment.
Some of the advanced modules do have videos. But those ones are an extra cost. I will say that I was still able to learn really well with just the PDFs they send. It’s pretty solid learning material.
What did you do with your certification after the program?
A: I did a bit of freelance design work, and I definitely felt well-prepared by my Interior Design Institute experience. But I ended up discovering that client work wasn’t exactly what lit me up inside.
So I think I went a bit of a different route than most people did after the course. I found that I really enjoyed putting my newfound knowledge to use by investing more into this blog! Although I started Homey Homies about a year before I even enrolled in IDI, once I graduated, this blog really took off.
I was so excited to have a strong educational foundation to actually talk about design on here. I wasn’t quite talking out of my ass before that, but it was all based on opinion and personal experience. After my IDI experience, I’m now able to talk confidently about design and share truly helpful advice.
So like I said, probably a different path than many other graduates, but only due to personal preference and not because the Interior Design Institute didn’t prepare me to do client work. That stuff just didn’t fill me up as much as blogging did.
Q: Is the Interior Design Institute good for total beginners?
A: Yes this is absolutely a great course for beginners! As long as you have some interest in design, you’ll be just fine.
To get a really solid knowledge base, I would definitely recommend doing some additional research on anything you’re not totally confident about while going through the course. I did this for certain design styles, concepts, etc. and it was super helpful. If I would have depended on the course modules alone, I may have gotten slightly less out of it. But this isn’t any different than traditional schooling where you’ll need to do some outside research occasionally.
Also taking advantage of the community makes the course super accessible for people of any level of experience. Any time I was unsure about something, I’d throw a question in the Facebook group and have tons of helpful responses within a day.
If you were to try to get hired at an actual interior design firm, I think you would be at a disadvantage with just this course. But if that is your plan, this would be a great introductory course prior to more formal education to test if you have an eye and a real interest for it.
Q: What supplies do I need for the program on top of my computer?
A: There aren’t a ton of other supplies you’ll need besides your computer!
An iPad was SUPER helpful to me. I loved being able to download all the modules to Goodnotes and write right on them. But if you don’t have one, downloading the modules to your computer or printing them out will be totally fine. I wouldn’t go out and buy an iPad just for this.
Besides this, they give you a list of supplies you’ll need at the beginning. A lot of it is stuff you probably already have laying around, and the rest is pretty low cost. All in all, I probably spent like $30 or less.
Here’s what you need:
- Scale ruler
- Standard ruler
- Lead or mechanical pencil
- Black pen
- Blank A3 paper
- Graph paper
- Artist’s color wheel
Q: Which design software do you use? Is SketchUp worth the headache?
A: There’s no design software required for the course. For module 4, I did it all pen and paper initially.
There is an advanced module on SketchUp that I opted to take, though. And it was totally worth it!
It one of my favorite takeaways from the course honestly. And you can get student pricing on SketchUp, so it’s a lot more affordable than it regularly would be. There’s also a free version that’s a little slow, but worth trying out to see if you like the software.
As far as the learning curve, it is a bit difficult to get the hang of, but not terrible. It’s worth it in my opinion, though. I find myself using it all the time still.
An alternative, easier design tool would be Floorplanner. But like I said, none of these are required for the course.
Q: What software did you use on the iPad to take notes?
A: I’ve used Goodnotes for notetaking on my iPad for years, so that’s definitely what I would recommend. But some people like Notability better.
Those are kinda the top two, so maybe look into both of those to see which fits your needs best.
When I was enrolled, the native Freeform app wasn’t on the iPad yet, so I didn’t have that option. But I think that would work well for note-taking as well.
Bonus question from current students: Help! I’m struggling with module 4
Module 4 is a beast of a section where you have to totally gut and remodel a whole house, so I get lots of questions about tips for getting through it. Here’s the advice I typically give them:
My biggest pointer is to work on it only when you’re feeling inspired, and to stop when you feel like you’re hitting a wall. It took me a good couple of sessions to knock it out so that I could be in the zone the whole time.
What really helped me to visualize the space was actually doing the bubble charts that they had us do. This helps to break it down into chunks, by starting with just deciding which room is going to generally be where, without getting into the logistics and dimensions, etc. yet. I just kept playing around with this as I pictured myself walking through and living in the house in the mock client’s shoes. Then once I knew generally which rooms I wanted/where they would make sense in terms of the experience of walking through the house, then you focus on figuring out exactly what dimensions and stuff are best.
And then look for lots of inspiration on Pinterest, friends homes that you love, etc. That’s super helpful in helping you come up with some good layout ideas.
So basically, just take it step by step and be patient with yourself. This is the hardest module by far, but it’s also my favorite because it gives you some real experience in designing an actual home, not just decorating it. So have fun with it!
If you have any more questions, feel free to send ’em my way at email@example.com! But first check out my comprehensive review of the Interior Design Institute.
If you’re ready to sign up now, you can use my sign up link to get $200 off your enrollment fees!
Good luck with the program! 🙂
Note: This post may contain affiliate links, so I may make a small commission if you make a purchase. But this does not increase the cost to you at all – it comes out of the seller’s pockets.