Frequently Asked Questions

Certificate IV in Interior Decoration (MSF40122)

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The Online delivery of our Certificate IV course is considered full-time study with the weekly workload outside of class estimated at 10-12 hours. Online students will have 2-hour live video class each week with the balance of their work completed in their own time. 

The delivery duration of the Certificate IV course is approximately 12 months total. Where possible, we do not hold classes over Victorian or New South Wales school holidays or public holidays.

This is a tricky question and will vary from person to person; but a good guideline for our Online courses would be around 10-12 hours workload per week.

Some weeks may involve a bit more homework and some a lot less, but on average this is what you should expect.

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.

In some cases, we have grouped like-minded units together to create a cluster Module. In a cluster Module, you will be completing the learning and assessment for two or more units that are complementary in their topics, like Module 8 Colour and Lighting.

The set curriculum comprises of the following subjects:


MSFID4019 – Research interior decoration and design influences (elective)
We begin our course with research interior decoration and design influences. Having a good understanding of our design history in Australia and more broadly, is crucial in being able to see and understand patterns and trends in design across the decades. 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-1940’s through to current. History forms our foundation learning in research skills as uncover significant social, economic, environmental and architectural impacts of these design eras.


CUADIG303 – Produce and prepare photo images (elective)
Social media is a huge part of our world today. Being able to take a photo for social media to share progress on a design project, show something that inspires you, or even snap 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.


CUAACD311 – Produce drawings to communicate ideas (core)
CUADES302 – Explore and apply the creative design process to 2D forms (core)

Drawings are a vital part of the design process as they are an important communication tool. Starting with 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 learn the basics in 2D drawing techniques and experiment with 2D drawings to develop and design concepts to communicate your creative ideas.


MSFGN4001 – Research and meet ethical and compliance requirements (core)

This module is an introduced to what laws and regulations you need to know as an interior decorator to create not only beautiful homes, but safe homes too. Discussion topics include ethics, sustainability and original design.


MSFID4018– Research and recommend hard materials and finishes for interiors (elective)

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.


MSFID4021– Design soft furnishing solutions for interior spaces (elective)
MSFID4017– Research and recommend furniture and accessories (elective)
MSFID5028 – Research and recommend artwork (elective)

Furniture, soft furnishings, artwork and accessories bring a project to life! Making recommendations need to be considered alongside the clients brief, budget and consideration for spatial planing. Each piece selected, must be thoroughly researched to ensure its suitability of scale, material, colour and functional requirements as well as aesthetic qualities.


CUAACD313 – Produce technical drawings (core)
CUADES303 – Explore and apply creative design process to 3D forms (elective)

Learn how to create accurate technical drawings including floor plans and elevations to communicate your designs to clients and trades alike. We also delve into 3D modelling using SketchUp, that allows you to create a visually engaging digital concept. This software is taught from the ground up, and requires no prior knowledge.


MSFID4016 – Design colour schemes for interior and exterior spaces (core)
MSFID4013– Design residential interior lighting (elective)

Colour plays a huge part in both interior and exterior spaces. We cover how to develop a well considered colour scheme from colour psychology and the emotional response to colour, to how colour changes in varied light conditions. Colour and light go hand in hand, and the importance of working with natural light and artificial light is expertly explored. Learn the types of lighting from mood, task, accent and natural, through to designing your own interior lighting plan.


MSFID4015 – Prepare a materials board for client presentation (elective)

A digital mood board is fantastic but nothing can quite compare to physically being able to touch, feel and see the material selections in person. Creating a tangible material board allows the client to visualise their material selections side by side and see the true representation of colour and texture. It’s important to understand how to present this professionally to ensure you can communicate your design to the best of your ability.


MSFID4012 – Decorate residential interiors (core)

From initial consultation through to final presentation, this is where everything we have learnt to date comes together in the full design process. Confidently work through each stage of the design process to apply your knowledge and skills to create a spectacular portfolio piece.


SIRRMER004 – Develop visual merchandising creative concepts (elective)

The creative skills of an interior decorator can be transferred into visual merchandising as a career outcome. Working commercially with brands and business to create eye-catching displays with an emphasis on increasing sales and raising brand awareness through design.


MSFID5018 – Provide interior styling service (elective)

As 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 to style and shoot amazing creative content. Brands and businesses love working with interior stylists on photoshoots to achieve unique and aesthetic imagery.

All Modules are completed one at a time. For more information on the Units of Competency visit

All accredited course fees can be found here.

We’re in the unique position of working with the Victorian and New South Wales Government training departments to provide subsidised funding to eligible students, where possible. Please click here to determine your eligibility for funding. Government-funded courses and funding availability may be subject to change each calendar year. 

If you don’t live in Victoria or New South Wales, you’re still able to access the training at a fee-for-service rate.

Yes! Our Certificate IV Interior Decoration Course is available for delivery online. 

Our latest online course is designed to keep you engaged, with exciting video content, weekly tutorials and an innovative approach to assessment that breaks down your course requirements into understandable and achievable segments! 

The course is delivered entirely online, with no requirements to attend physical classroom sessions, though there will be a weekly 2-hour video class session with your trainer and classmates. 

The course duration is approximately 12 months. 

New intakes occur throughout the year. Sign up to our mailing list to be the first to know when a new course is announced.

Our online study mode is accessible to study from anywhere in Australia! 

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.

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 a minimum level of literacy, numeracy and computer skills before being granted acceptance into any of our courses.

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.

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 whichever 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. 

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.

What we deliver at Design School Online has been developed and hand tailored with real industry knowledge and experience.

The creation of our Certificate IV includes 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!

At the moment, our Certificate IV in Interior Decoration is our only long term accredited 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 on a virtual meeting platform such as Zoom following your completion of some paperwork to determine your eligibility. This gives us the opportunity to meet and learn about each other 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 only have small class sizes, so it is possible that some prospective students may not be offered a place after one of these sessions based on demand.

When starting your course with us you will be provided with a list of learning materials needed throughout the course.

The most important things you will need to supply yourself are:

  • A laptop/computer with internet access
  • Practical items, such as copic markers, pencils, sketch pads etc., valued at approximately $125.00 (we will provide you with a full list upon starting your study with us).

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.

We will usually hold an online Information Session a month or two prior to any course starts, but should you miss one we are always happy to discuss if this is the right course for you.

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


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