Certified Residential Interior Designer

Elevate your design aspirations and transform spaces with our Certified Residential Interior Designer course. Ideal for aspiring and experienced designers, this interior design class empowers you to expand your knowledge, advance your career prospects, and enhance your industry standing. If you love interior decorating, and want to make those dreams a reality, take the first step towards a fulfilling and thriving residential interior design career.

This comprehensive interior design...

6 Months / 120 Course Hrs
Open Enrollment
Offered in partnership with your preferred school

George Mason University

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Learning method

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Course code: GES515

What you will learn

  • Learn about various design styles and movements throughout history
  • Understand basic elements involved in residential interior design projects
  • Understand steps required to work as a residential interior designer and start your own design business
  • Develop skills in creating a design concept and floor plan for residential interior design projects

How you will benefit

  • Create a portfolio throughout the course you can use to gain employment
  • Complete the Residential Interior Designer Education exam
  • Qualify for a free one-year DSA membership

How the course is taught

  • Self-paced, online course
  • 6 Months to complete
  • Open enrollment, begin anytime
  • 120 course hours
  1. Getting Started
    1. Exploring a Career in Residential Interior Design
    2. Design Basics
    3. Space Planning
  2. History of Styles and Furnishings
    1. History of Styles and Furnishings, Part I: Prehistoric Times to the Middle Ages
    2. History of Styles and Furnishings, Part II: The Renaissance to the 20th Century
    3. History of Styles and Furnishings, Part III: Modernism, Non-European Influences, and Furniture Styles
  3. Elements of Design
    1. Materials
    2. Color
    3. Textiles
    4. Lighting Fundamentals
    5. Accents and Accessories
  4. Working as a Residential Interior Designer
    1. Industry Regulations
    2. Putting It All Together

Natasha Lima-Younts

Natasha Lima Younts has worked in interior design for more than 20 years and is one of the founders of the Designer Society of America (DSA). She is devoted to increasing opportunities for residential interior designers through purposeful education, believing that creative individuals should enter the field with a solid understanding and professional knowledge.

Previously, Natasha designed couture clothing under her own signature and created themed parties for high-profile clients. The latter evolved into her clients requesting her talents as a designer for their homes. This led her to establishing Gables Interiors, where she managed multi-million-dollar interior design project budgets for luxury homes valued up to 30 million dollars as principal designer and owner. She also developed interior design "Discover Your Style" seminars for design shows to help the public with DIY projects.

Natasha has also designed green rooms for the Latin Billboard Awards and has been selected to design for the "Designer for the Stars" seven times. She has published several articles about her home designs in magazines and newspapers, including Lincoln Road, Florida Architecture, Florida Design, Veranda, Elle, Southwest Georgia Living, and Miami Herald. She has also featured luxury homes on "The View."

Natasha balances her time between her own interior design work, educational programs for residential interior designers and her roles at DSA.


You do not need any interior design experience to participate in this course. You should, however, have a strong interest in interior design and a desire to learn.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment. The following textbooks will be shipped to you approximately 7-10 business days after enrollment:

  • New York School of Interior Design: Home, by Renzi Fisher

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of interior designers is $61,590. This can vary based on location, years of experience, and whether you decide to work for a firm or go into business for yourself.

Top-paying states for interior designers include Washington DC, Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, and South Dakota.

As a residential interior designer, you have a wide range of responsibilities. Your main task is to turn a house into a warm and inviting home by designing practical and aesthetically pleasing spaces that your clients will adore. You'll be involved in reading and creating diagrams, selecting colors, lighting, and materials, as well as making sure that your design meets building inspection codes. You must be able to read blueprints and have knowledge of universal accessibility standards and building regulations.

Yes, you will complete the Residential Interior Designer Education (R.I.D.E.) exam as the final exam in the course. The R.I.D.E. credential provided by the Designer Society of America (DSA) will increase your status with potential clients and make you a stronger candidate in the industry. Once you achieve this certification, you will receive a free one-year DSA membership, a $295 value for designers.

Your project is to complete the floor plan and design concept for a family room. You do not need to execute your concept in a real interior. When you're ready to complete the course, you will follow the detailed instructions for completing your family room project presentation board. You will submit a written portion as well as several photos of your presentation board to your instructor. You may need to purchase some inexpensive supplies (foam core and mat boards, a cutting tool, and mounting materials such as foam tape or Velcro) to put your board together. You will not need to send the presentation board itself to your instructor—this will be yours to keep.

Membership in the Designer Society of America (DSA) has many benefits, including:

  • Design News Flash and Support, an all-member communication concerning the interior design industry, practice issues, and trends, sent every three weeks via mail
  • Invitations to chapter and region meetings, special events, and activities where you can network with other professionals
  • DSA website access, including DSA newsletters, publications and online member directory
  • Discounted prices on DSA-sponsored competitions and national product lines and resources, with direct links (for members in the US and Canada)
  • Free membership in Pier 1 design concepts, Designer Trade Market, Williams Sonoma Home, Pottery Barn, course for DSA members
  • Use of DSA professional designation and DSA membership card
  • Discounted advertising rates in DSA publications and on the DSA website
  • Personal 80-page portfolio for designers to exhibit their work

The first step to becoming a residential interior designer is to complete an introductory course that will help you understand the profession and best practices of design. You don't necessarily need to find an interior design school near you—our online certificate course can provide all the instruction you need. You will even gain the knowledge needed to sit for professional certification as well as the ability to create professional-level design boards for clients.

Interior designers go through a multi-step process to create innovative designs. Enrolling in an online interior design course, like the one we offer, can provide you with formal education that covers the basics of excellent design, such as materials, colors, textures, lighting, and accents. Additionally, you can hone your design skills to create a portfolio that showcases your abilities to potential clients. The course also offers valuable information about running your own design business and how to grow your client base. By completing the course, you'll be prepared to become a Certified Residential Interior Designer, which will establish you as a respected professional in the industry.

As an interior designer, effective communication is paramount. You will engage with various stakeholders daily, including clients, contractors, manufacturers, and workers. It is essential to listen attentively to your client's needs and translate them into visually appealing spaces in their homes. Strong attention to detail and a creative flair are also crucial skills. Additionally, excellent planning and time management abilities are necessary to excel in this field.

The employment of interior designers is projected to remain consistent from 2020 to 2030, offering, on average, 7,800 openings (projected annually over the decade). Give yourself an edge in the industry by understanding how to design environmentally friendly and accessible spaces.

Interior designers may work a typical 9-5 workday, but they also may be required to work nights and weekends, especially in the case of residential projects when you may have to be available when homeowners are not working. Working for a design firm will ensure you a more regular working schedule in an office environment, while working for yourself may mean more freedom but also odd hours and sporadic work as you get your business off the ground.

As a residential interior designer, you may work for an interior design firm or be self-employed. Ultimately, you will work for your clients and do everything possible to ensure their happiness with your finished product. You will most likely work some hours from your home or office and many more hours in the homes of clients, ensuring that your project is completed as seamlessly as possible.

This course is open enrollment, so you can register and start the course as soon as you are ready. Access to your course can take 24-48 business hours.

This course is self-paced and open enrollment, so you can start when you want and finish at your own pace. When you register, you'll receive six (6) months to complete the course.

The time allotted for course completion has been calculated based on the number of course hours. However, if you are unable to complete the course, contact the student advising team to see what options you may have available to work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee may be charged.

The course instructor will be available by email to answer any questions and provide feedback on your performance. You will also receive support from the student advising team.

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion. You will also be prepared to sit for the Residential Interior Design Education (R.I.D.E.) exam, developed and endorsed by the Designer Society of America (DSA). The R.I.D.E. exam is the final exam in the course and is included with your enrollment.

This course will provide you with the skills you need to obtain an entry-level position in most cases. Potential students should always do research on the job market in their area before registering.

This course is non-credit, so it does not qualify for federal aid, FAFSA or Pell Grant. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards will pay for qualified students to take our courses. Additionally, some students may qualify for financial assistance when they enroll, if they meet certain requirements. Financing is available from select schools. Learn more about financial assistance.

If you have questions that are not answered on our website, representatives are available via LIVE chat. You can also call us at 1-877-221-5151 during regular business hours to have your questions promptly answered. If you are visiting us during non-business hours, please send us a question using the "Contact Us" form.

Designer Society of America (DSA)
The Designer Society of America (DSA) is an organization that welcomes all types of interior designers. It is committed to increasing opportunities for designers through education and networking. It also provides professional recognition, portfolio services, connection with potential clients, and career advancement. The DSA has created the Residential Interior Design Education (R.I.D.E.) course for aspiring interior designers who want to advance their knowledge and gain professional recognition in the industry.