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A Guide for Interior Design

A. Bhatia, B.E.

Course Outline

Most of us know what we like but just have no idea how to pull it all together to create a warm and inviting room when interior decorating. While learning the "rules" of interior design is important, you must always keep in mind that your interiors should reflect your lifestyle and tastes. In this course, the interior design theory, psychology, vocabulary, human factors are reviewed.

This 4-hr course material is based entirely on the US Army Corps of Engineers document DG 1110-3-122, "Design Guide for Interiors".

The course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course, the user will:

Intended Audience

This course is aimed at students, architects, designers, real estate developers, facility managers, building designers, and will suit anyone with an interest in interior design, either as a hobby or someone who may want to take this a professional career.

Course Introduction

Interior design is a field that blends creative expression with practical application. This interior design course addresses full spectrum of design related issues before the interior designer, with discussion of design theory, building technology, material resources, application and criteria for selection of materials and products. It also addresses many issues at a high level such as the psychological impact of design on people, information about interior design for different types of spaces (home, office etc...).

The course comprises 7 detailed lessons with numerous color illustrations. The intent is to provide a common basis to communication and understanding of critical subject matter for architectural and interior designer, so that facilities may be made harmonious in function and appearance.

Course Content

In this course, you are required to study the US Army Corps of Engineers document DG 1110-3-122, "Design Guide for Interiors":

DG 1110-3-122, "Design Guide for Interiors"

Please click on the above underlined hypertext to view, download or print the document for your study. Because of the large file size, we recommend that you first save the file to your computer by right clicking the mouse and choosing "Save Target As ...", and then open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you still experience any difficulty in downloading or opening this file, you may need to close some applications or reboot your computer to free up some memory.

Course Summary

An interior decorating project will be much more successful if you pay attention to a few key elements of design.

1) Proportion and Scale- Scale refers to the size of something as it refers to the size of everything else, including people and the space itself. Proportion refers to the relationship of parts or objects to one another based on size - for example the size of a window is in proportion to the size of the room. Good scale is achieved when all of the parts are proportionately correct relative to each other, as well as to the whole.

2) Balance refers to the arrangement of objects that create an even feel in a room. For example to maintain balance large heavy pieces of furniture should be placed around the room and not grouped together on one side of the room. Balanced objects can be either asymmetrical or symmetrical.

3) Contrast can be used to create interest in a room. The decor in your room should maintain the same style but vary in the elements of color, pattern, size etc.

4) Rhythm - While it is important to use contrast in a room to keep it from being boring, it is just as important to use repetition to create rhythm. The room will feel pulled together, if a color, pattern or motif is repeated throughout.

5) Harmony - A harmonious room will be achieved when the rules of scale, balance, contrast and rhythm are followed. In addition, a harmonious room will have furnishings and other elements that relate to one another within an interior decorating scheme.

Once you know the basics of interior design you can create rooms that really work. Remember, when decorating you should enjoy the journey and not see it as a task to be accomplished. When starting an interior decorating project remember to keep it fun!


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.