13 interior design courses in Singapore to kickstart your ID career

(If you’re a school or organisation with great interior design courses we’ve yet to mention, do get in touch! We’d love to add you to the list.)

 

In Singapore, homes are shrinking in size, and the need for land is increasing, necessitating the smart and functional use of space—and, consequently, the expertise of well-trained interior designers.

home

Interior design is a key contributing factor to business success and an individual’s improved quality of life. As famously said in The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home”. Indeed, a skilled interior designer must absorb the client brief, understand any space constraints and transform a cookie-cutter apartment into a sublime space. You may have seen interior designers work their magic on home improvement programs on television — be it for profit or charity, and these skills are just the tip of the iceberg of what it takes to master the art of interior design.

What are some things you will learn in an interior design course? [<— Click to expand/read more!]

Furniture Design: Materials, techniques, and manufacturing processes,  skills in sketching, rendering, and model making.

Lighting Design: Lighting is an important aspect of interior design. Covers principles of lighting design, such as colour, light distribution, and energy efficiency, how to select and place lighting fixtures to enhance the mood, functionality, and aesthetics of a space.

Building Codes and Regulations: The laws, regulations, and standards that govern interior design, including fire safety, accessibility, and environmental sustainability, building codes and zoning laws, as well as the legal and ethical responsibilities of interior designers.

Computer-Aided Design (CAD): CAD software is a powerful tool for interior designers, allowing them to create 2D and 3D models of spaces, furniture, and fixtures. Learn popular CAD software programs like AutoCAD, SketchUp, and Revit, as well as real-world design project applications.

Business and Professional Practices: Project management, budgeting, contracts, client relations, and marketing and networking strategies.

Colour Theory: Colour is a fundamental element of interior design. Learn about colour schemes, colour psychology, and colour harmony, how to use colour to create different moods and effects in a space, and how to select and combine colours effectively.

Materials and Textiles: Explore different materials and textiles, including fabrics, wall coverings, flooring, and finishes, their properties, characteristics, and applications, as well as how to select and specify materials for specific design projects.

History of Interior Design: The history of interior design from ancient times to the present day. Students will learn about different styles and periods, as well as the cultural, social, and technological factors that influenced interior design throughout history.

Sustainable Design: Principles of sustainable design, including energy efficiency, material selection, and indoor air quality.

If you have a passion for interior design as a sideline hobby or want to pursue it as a career, you can consider these Interior Design courses offered in Singapore:

Short Courses

1. Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts – Certificate in Interior Design (3D Visualisation)

  • This program provides a good foundation in 3D visualization techniques for interior design. Students will gain hands-on experience using professional software to create realistic 3D models and renderings of interior spaces. The skills learned can open doors to exciting careers in the built environment sector and complement a degree in interior design. So if you have a passion for interior design and spatial visualization, this could be a valuable first step.
  • Program Duration: Approximately 4 months long. Students will attend classes twice weekly during weekday evenings
  • Modules: The curriculum covers topics such as 3D modelling, rendering, lighting, texturing, and material studies. Students will use the industry-standard software SketchUp.
  • Course Fees: The total course fee is $1450.00, excluding materials and other miscellaneous fees. Those receiving National Silver Academy subsidies will pay $950.00. This course is Skillfuture and UTAP scheme eligible.
  • Industry Prospects: Graduates will be equipped with the technical skills needed for roles like 3D visualiser, interior designer, and architectural visualiser. Demand is expected to remain strong as the construction and real estate sectors continue to grow.

2. Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts – Certificate in Interior Design (Technical Drawing)

  • The Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts’ Certificate in Interior Design (Technical Drawing) program aims to equip students with the essential technical drawing skills needed for interior design.
  • Program Duration: Approximately 4 months long. Students will attend classes twice weekly during weekday evenings
  • Modules: The curriculum covers topics such as technical drawing and drafting techniques, construction drawings (floor plans, sections, elevations), sketching and rendering, 3D computer-aided design
  • Course Fees: The total course fee is $1450.00, excluding materials and other miscellaneous fees. Those receiving National Silver Academy subsidies will pay $950.00. This course is Skillfuture and UTAP scheme eligible.
  • Industry Prospects: Graduates will be able to assist interior designers in producing technical drawings, plans and visualizations.

NITEC

1. Institute of Technical Education – Nitec in Interior & Exhibition Design

  • This course covers the fundamentals of interior design, such as CAD software skills, interior design drawing drafting, and how to develop interior design proposals.
  • Programme Duration: Full-time for 2 years
  • The curriculum includes modules like Space Planning and Design, Spatial Visualisation Drawing, and Interior Design Proposal. There will also be a three-month industry attachment.
  • Course Fees: S$466 per academic year for Singaporeans
  • Industry Prospects
    • According to ITE, graduates have found jobs as Interior Designers, Junior Designers and Assistant Exhibition Designers
    • Graduates meeting the GPA requirements can progress to relevant Work-Study Diplomas offered by ITE, or Y1 of a related Polytechnic course
  • Entry requirements: Candidates must have either 2 passes for their GCE O-Levels or a pass in Mathematics plus 2 passes in 2 other subjects for their GCE N-Levels. They must also attend and pass both an interview and an aptitude test. They can also proceed to pursue a Higher Nitec or related polytechnic diploma.
    • You must also be free from colour appreciation deficiency (colour blindness)
Reminder!

Interior design is a hands-on field, so it’s important to gain practical experience in addition to classroom learning. Look for programs that offer internships, co-op placements, or other opportunities to work on real-world design projects! Make sure to pick a course that suits your goals and interests too.

Diplomas

1. LASALLE College of the Arts – Diploma in Interior Design

  • This course takes a practical yet unconventional approach to Interior Design while being highly relevant to trends within the design industry. Instead of typical classrooms, take your learning to a new level in their “design ateliers”, a studio-based environment that encourages the exchange of ideas and information.
  • Programme Duration: Full time for 3 years
  • The curriculum includes modules such as Studio Practice, Fundamental Art and Design Skills, Technical Skills, and Contextual Studies. There is also an internship component.
  • Course fees are S$5,440 per annum for Singaporeans, S$7,090 for Permanent Residents and S$10,740 for International Students with Tuition Grant. LASALLE has various scholarships you can apply for.
  • Industry Prospects
    • Career opportunities include being an Interior Designer, Furniture Designer, Exhibition Designer, Stage Designer
    • Compulsory Industry Placements
    • Graduates have found placements in local and international practices
  • Entry requirements include the completion of an Admissions Test and submission of a portfolio

2. Temasek Polytechnic – Diploma in Interior Architecture and Design

  • This course will be taught through 5 core clusters—Foundation, Tectonics & Technology, Contextual Place-Making, Trends & Issues and Assembly & Materiality, and will consolidate the knowledge and skills needed for the industry.
  • Programme Duration: Full time for 3 years
  • Curriculum includes modules like Communicating Design Ideas, Digital Architectural Drafting, Marketing in Design, Design Fundamentals and Interior Design Practice
  • Total course fee per annum is S$3,086.50 for Singaporeans
  • Industry Prospects
    • Career opportunities include jobs in interior design services for corporate, exhibition, institutional and residential projects, event management, in-house design for museums and galleries, design consultancy

3. Singapore Polytechnic – Diploma in Interior Design (DID)

  • This course will allow you to transform everyday living experiences by combining design aesthetics with technical knowledge. Beyond mere interior decoration, you can develop techniques to communicate your ideas in functional interior spaces.
  • Programme duration: Full time for 3 years
  • The curriculum includes modules like Social Innovation Project, Materials and Technology, Design Theory, and Research, Advanced Interior Design Practice
    • Before specialising in Interior Design, you will go through a First Year Common Foundation Programme, You will also go through a 22-week internship
    • 100% coursework and project-based
  • Total course fee is S$3,077.07 per annum for Singaporeans
  • Industry prospects
    • Exposure to Specialisation workshops and Studio projects to assemble a Design Portfolio
    • Exposure to internationally run workshops, such as the Visiting School by Architectural Association, London
    • Opportunities to participate in global design studios, international competitions and “live” industry projects
    • Global situated programme with overseas design institutions like Pratt Institute, New York and SAIC, Chicago
    • Regional study trips to Japan, Korea, India and Thailand
    • Internship Programme
    • Course graduates have gone on to study at local and international universities
What is the difference between Architecture and Interior Design?

Architecture deals with the overall design and construction of buildings, while interior design focuses on the design of individual interior spaces within those buildings. What they learn overlaps in terms of space planning, material selection, lighting design, and sustainability.

4. Nanyang Polytechnic – Diploma in Experiential Product & Interior Design

  • This course will develop graduates that are independent, inquisitive and confident in articulating ideas and concepts. With a Diploma in Spatial Design, you will have the hands-on ability to problem-solve, create and execute plans in a fast-changing global world.
  • Programme duration: Full time for 3 years
  • Curriculum includes modules like Service Experience & Interior Design, 3D Modelling & Rendering, Design Semantics & Ergonomics, and 3D Spatial Modelling & Simulation — taught by former design and creative leaders from renowned design firms
  • Course fees are S$3,071.75.00 per annum for Singaporeans, S$6,301.75 for Permanent Residents and S$12,137.53 for international students
  • Industry prospects
    • Career opportunities include jobs in retail display and promotional design, furniture design, event management and design, space and interior design
    • Internship Programme

5. Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts – Diploma in Design (Interior and Exhibition)

  • This course teaches students how to conceptualise and create interior and exhibition spaces. Interested applicants will need to pass an admission test or submit a portfolio comprising 10-15 images of recent art or design work.
  • Programme duration: 3 years (module exemptions of up to 60 credits possible)
  • Intakes in July
  • Accredited by Singapore Council for Private Education (Singapore) and Edutrust Singapore
  • Curriculum includes modules such as Drawing Fundamentals, Design Theory and History, 3D Fundamentals, and Creative Thinking. The Diploma also includes an internship, a community project and an industrial attachment.
    • Interesting electives include introductory Guitar or Gamelan classes
  • Course Fee of S$4,760 per annum for Singaporeans, S$7,310 for Permanent Residents and S$10,860 for international students
  • Industry Prospects
    • Graduates can pursue the Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Design Practice, offered by NAFA in collaboration with the University of the Arts London, UK.
    • Career opportunities include 3D Modeller/Visualiser, Event Planner, Exhibition Designer, Interior Designer, Project Coordinator, Retail Designer, Space Designer and a Stylist/Visual Merchandiser

6. Raffles Education Network – Advanced Diploma in Interior Design

  • This course equips students with the creative and technical knowledge and skills needed to be professionals in the interior design industry. It includes the study of both Interior Architecture & Design content within the built environment and focuses on the human interface within given spaces.
  • Programme duration: Full time for 1 year and 6 months
  • Intakes in January, April, July and October
  • Accredited by Singapore Council for Private Education (Singapore) and Edutrust Singapore
  • Curriculum includes modules like Advanced Diploma Course Modules, such as 2D Computer Aided Drawing, Architectural Drafting, Environmental Lighting and Interior Design, Principles & Theory
  • Course fee of S$5,400 (Singaporeans and Permanent Residents), and S$16,200 for international students per two terms
  • Industry Prospects
        • Career opportunities include a CAD Designer, Design Consultant, Commercial Interior Designer, Exhibition Designer and Residential Interior Designer

8. Temasek Polytechnic – Specialist Diploma in Interior Design Practice

  • According to Temasek Polytechnic, this course is the only Specialist Diploma of its kind in Singapore that covers business and design content relevant to the industry. Created for interior design firm owners, or aspiring ones, the course comprises two Post Diploma Certificates (PDC). These are the PDC in Interior Design Project & Entrepreneurial Management and the PDC in Interior Design Business Management & Innovation.
  • To take this course, you must have a Polytechnic Diploma or an ITE Technical Diploma/Technical Engineer Diploma/Work-Learn Technical Diploma in a spatial design-related discipline. Other qualification holders will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Programme duration: Part time for 1 year, night classes held thrice weekly
  • Course curriculum includes 6 modules.
    • These are Project Management, Interior Design Entrepreneurship, Design Communication & Strategies, Service Environment, Business Management & Ethics, and Innovation & Technology.
  • Course fees range from S$300.84-3,191.52 per PDC for Singaporeans.
  • Industry prospects
    • Career opportunities include roles as designers, design managers and interior design project managers

 

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Degrees

1. Raffles Education Network – Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Interior Design (Top Up)

  • This course explores the human scale and relationship in ever-changing spatial environments. In addition to international case studies, exposure to the Asian culture will integrate students’ identities into their choice of design solutions.
  • Partnered with Coventry University, UK
  • Honours included
  • Programme duration: Full time for 1 year
  • Intakes in January, April, July and October
  • Accredited by Singapore Council for Private Education (Singapore) and Edutrust Singapore
  • Curriculum includes modules like Design Enquiry, Advanced Interior Design Practice through Development, Advanced Interior Design Practice to Manufacture Commercial Interior
  • Course fee of S$34,560. Course fee rebates available for Raffles Advanced Diploma graduates
  • Industry prospects
    • Career opportunities include a CAD Designer, Design Consultant, Commercial Interior Designer, Exhibition Designer and Residential Interior Designer
  • Opportunities to learn from a wide source of projects in Asia, participate in competitions and work in multi-disciplinary teams
  • Entry requires the completion of Raffles Singapore Advanced Diploma or equivalent

2. LASALLE College of the Arts – Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Interior Design

  • This course will help you learn the creation of environments within and around existing spaces and structures. This is a curriculum that is closely interwoven with various design disciplines such as architecture and architectural design, and discovering new typologies of space.
  • Honours programme
  • Programme duration: Full time for 3 years
    • Course commences in August
  • Curriculum includes modules like Design Studio, Professional Studies, Cultural and Contextual Studies, Negotiated Design Project, Creative Industries and Opportunities, Dissertation and Graduating Design Project. There is an opportunity to go for an overseas exchange programme
    • You will be required to source for an internship
  • Course fees of S$9,780 for Singaporeans per annum (subsidised fees)
  • Industry prospects
    • Career opportunities include being an Interior Designer, Design Consultant, Design Educator, Furniture Designer, Stage Designer
    • Continuous engagement in local and international design competitions, live projects and exhibitions
    • Entry requires the submission of a portfolio containing at least 10 pieces of original work.

3. National University of Singapore – Bachelor of Arts in Architecture (Honours)

  • While not focused entirely on interior design, NUS’s Architecture Degree will give you the option to explore other related fields, such as urban and industrial design. Upon 3rd year, you can get to specialize in one of four different tracks: Design, Design Technology and Sustainability, Urban Planning, or Landscape Architecture.
  • Programme duration: Full time for 4 years
    • Course commences August
  • Curriculum includes modules such as Climate Responsive Architecture and Theory in Urban Design and Planning. It covers 18 foundational themes.
  • Course fee of S$8,900 for Singaporeans per annum
  • Industry prospects
    • Apart from working in the fields related to their specializations (industrial design, architectural journalism), graduates can also explore further studies, which would give them a chance to work in architectural research or for architectural related careers in government agencies, for example.
  • Prospective students need to sit for an Architecture Admission Test (AAT).
    Why pick up Interior Design?

    Many of the skills developed through studying interior design are transferable to other fields. These include, for example, the ability to manage a project, create a budget, and work with a team, as well as creativity, problem-solving and communication.

Room for improvement

Whether you are pursuing interior design for personal passion or as a career, it would be useful to stay abreast of industry progressions and gain practical experience through industrial attachments or internships. Also, technology is rapidly transforming the industry. The rise of 3D rendering, VR/AR, and Building Information Modeling (BIM) software allows designers to better visualize, plan and implement designs. You will need to learn these new technologies to remain competitive.

Improvements in the industry continue to be made. The Society of Interior Designers Singapore (SIDS) has launched the Singapore Interior Design Accreditation Scheme for interior designers, involving criteria like a designer’s portfolio and academic qualifications. It has also launched an interior design incubation centre located at Grantral Mall@MacPherson in 2022.

Beyond pursuing qualifications in Interior Design, it may also be useful to be affiliated with associations such as Interior Design Confederation Singapore (IDCS) and DesignSingapore Council—which happen to be working together on the SIDS accreditation scheme.

If you find the creative challenge of interior design appealing, consider pursuing a diploma or degree to equip yourself with the know-how and understanding needed for success in the industry!

Note: The information above is accurate as of 12 Feb 2024.

 

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Team,
    I am looking for a short term and economical course in ID which can help me to start new career in the same field.
    Can some one please provide me more information about Interior Design Institute. as that’s the only institute which has a short term online course in ID but not sure about the job prospects after the completion of course.
    Thanks !

  2. Dear Sir,
    We are a Design and Built Renovator for commercial offices and has vacancy for fresh graduate in Interior Design studies.
    Kindly assistance to provide information of students in this field?
    Thank you.
    With regards,
    Philip Tay

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