How to Improve your Interior Design Skills

In recent years interior design has become a very popular subject, with a large number of television shows, print magazines, and websites devoted to various design issues. Even if they have a natural flair for design, there are several things individuals will need to understand if they are truly looking to improve their interior design skills.

Credit: Mirage Floors


When creating any design, colour plays a vital role. In fact it is often the first thing that people notice, and an interior designer needs to understand how colour works. In the world of interior design, colour theory is at the heart of the most important decisions. Colour theory deals with how colour is used, the effect it has on the surrounding environment, and how it can create a mood or make a statement.

Colour can be harmonious, complementary, or contrasting. Some colours are seen as warm or hot, while others are perceived as being cool or cold. Some can excite while others can relax. Colour affects people in different ways; what may soothe one person may actually excite someone else. We often associate colours with different things; for example, when they see red many individuals will think of danger or love. Green can evoke ideas of nature, and in some circles purple is seen as a spiritual colour.

The Colour Wheel

The colour wheel is the basic tool that designers use to help them form a colour scheme. The most common version is one with 12 colours; these include primary, secondary, and tertiary colours.

The primary colours are red, blue, and yellow; these are the colours that cannot be made by mixing other colours. Mixing the primary colours together in various combinations gives us secondary colours, including green, purple, and orange. Combining a primary and a secondary colour will produce the tertiary colours.

Interior designer tools

Along with the colour wheel interior designers use a number of other tools. Mood boards are used to bring together ideas and to see how the design will look on a smaller scale. Mood boards will often include images, swatches of material, and paint samples. Some designers prefer to use computer software for this while others will opt for collecting the materials together and actually building a board.

Another important tool is the layout plan. This will help the designer to decide where things such as furniture will be placed and allows them to get an excellent idea of the overall dimensions of a room, and also how much useable space there actually is.

Taking that extra step

Reading home and garden magazines can help an individual to identify and keep up with current trends and fashions, as can watching the multitude of television programmes that deal with design topics.  Another way to discover what is ‘in’ – or ‘so last year’ – is to visit design trade shows.  In addition to being able to see designs to scale, many designers also attend these shows and are open to talking about their designs, and in some cases even deliver formal lectures.

While there are plenty of articles online and shows on television that can provide ideas on interior design, individuals who have really caught the design bug may want to go a step further. Taking a course or two in interior design not only helps an individual make the most of their own living space, but could also lead to a professional qualification. Options include taking a traditional college or evening course, online workshops, or distance learning.

Collaborative post

Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram


  1. Emporium Wood Entry Doors
    August 15, 2012 / 9:01 pm

    For aspiring interior designers, a color wheel chart and swatches is a must because they need to effectively mix and match colors in the walls, interiors and even fabrics for their sofas and alike.

  2. Jhon Carter
    April 19, 2013 / 2:16 pm

    Thank goodness this Informative article is interesting and clear. Others I’ve read made me feel like I needed a degree to decipher them. Thank you for writing this article about Improveing Interior Design Skills.

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