Certified Residential Interior Designer

If you love coming up with creative designs and interior decorating that will turn a house into a home—or add a unique touch to any space—and want to make those dreams a reality, this is the course for you. This residential interior design course is perfect for both aspiring and current designers who want to increase their education, career opportunities, and professional status in the interior design industry. Take the first step toward a fulfilling career in this creative industry today with...

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

George Mason University

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Course code: GES515

What you will learn

  • What a residential interior designer does.
  • The major design styles and movements throughout history.
  • How to manipulate the basic elements involved in residential interior design projects.
  • The steps required to work as a residential interior designer and start your own design business.
  • How to create a design concept and floor plan.

How you will benefit

  • Create a portfolio throughout the course you can use to gain employment.
  • Be ready to take the Residential Interior Designer Exam.
  • Qualify for a free one-year DSA membership.
  • Participate in an optional 40-hour internship, if you meet the eligibility requirements.

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 has worked in interior design for more than 20 years. She graduated from Bauder Design College and went on to found Gables Interiors in Miami, Florida and Gables Plantation Designs in Albany, Georgia. Her work has been featured in magazines including Florida Architecture and Spectacular Homes, as well as on "The View," and she was chosen as Miami's "Designer for the Stars" seven years in a row. In 1999, she founded the Designer Society of America (DSA) to create a sense of community and help aspiring designers achieve their goals.


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 or Mac.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or newer.
  • 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

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

Yes, ed2go courses are completely online. However, keep in mind that not all certifying bodies or industry-specific certifications are recognized internationally. Please review your country's regulations prior to enrolling in courses that prepare for certification.

Yes, the tuition includes the R.I.D.E. exam as your final exam in the course. Upon completion of the course, you will be prepared for the Residential Interior Designer Exam (R.I.D.E.) offered through the Designer Society of America (DSA). The R.I.D.E. credential will increase your status with potential clients and make you a stronger candidate in the industry. Once you achieve this certification, you can qualify for a free one-year DSA membership, which is a $295 value for designers, and you may be able to participate in an optional 40-hour internship through DSA if you meet specific eligibility requirements.

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 your Student Advisor to help you work out a suitable completion date. Please note that an extension fee may be charged.

You may be assigned with an instructor or team of industry experts for one-on-one course interaction. Your support will be available (via email) to answer any questions you may have and to provide feedback on your performance. All of our instructors are successful working professionals in the fields in which they teach. You will be assigned to an Advisor for academic support.

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion.

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 and 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.

Your project is to complete the floor plan and design concept for a family room. You do not need to actually 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, with information and online versions of past DSA newsletters and publications
  • DSA's online member directory
  • Discounted prices on national product lines and resources, with direct links (for members in the US and Canada)
  • Invitation to DSA annual celebration, which features winners of the Interior Design Competitions and member awards
  • Reduced member rates for DSA-sponsored competitions and Residential Design Competition
  • Free membership in Pier 1 design concepts, Designer Trade Market, Williams Sonoma Home, Pottery Barn, course for DSA members
  • Chapter-level CEU courses
  • Tele-seminar and webinar annual schedules
  • DSA logo upload (member-only section)
  • Use of DSA professional designation
  • DSA membership card
  • Discounted advertising rates in DSA publications and on the DSA website
  • Networking opportunities through chapter and motivational task forums
  • Personal 80-page portfolio for designers to exhibit their work
  • Trade center locations and information in resources
  • Locate-a-designer course for consumers
  • National recognition
  • Hotel and resort discounts during meetings
  • Member advantage course to promote members' success

Residential interior designers do a lot of different things! Overall, you will be responsible for transforming a house into a home and creating functional, beautiful spaces that your clients will love. You'll read and draw diagrams, select colors, lighting, and materials, and ensure your design is up to building inspection codes. You will need to be able to read blueprints and also be aware of universal accessibility standards in addition to building regulations.

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.

Coming up with creative designs is just one step in the process for interior designers. Formal education like this Residential Interior Designer course, will help you to understand the fundamentals of great design including materials, color, textures, lighting, and accents as well as use your design skills to build a portfolio that you can show potential clients. You'll also get invaluable insight into running your own design business and building your client base. Finally, you'll be prepared to become a Certified Residential Interior Designer—setting you apart as a serious professional in the industry.

As an interior designer, you need to be a great communicator. You will find yourself communicating with people on a daily basis including clients, contractors, manufacturers, workers, and others. You will also need to listen to what your clients want and interpret how best to create spaces within their homes. You will need a strong attention to detail and good creative ability. And you'll need to be an excellent planner as well as have good time management.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of interior designers is $51,500. This can vary based on years of experience and whether you decide to work for a firm or go into business for yourself.

According to BLS data, job growth for interior designers in expected to be 4 percent between 2016 and 2026. This is considered slightly slower than average. However, you will 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 work day, 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.

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.