A professional interior designer is one who is qualified by education, examination and experience to identify research and creatively solve problems relative to the function and quality of people’s interior environments.  The course of study in interior design leads to a first professional degree.

            The program focuses on improving the quality of life and protecting human health and safety through design of interior environment.  Students study design fundamentals, theory, process, communication, research and technology to identify and solve problems for a wide range of physical interior environments for all individuals regardless of socioeconomic background.

            Students learn how to approach design problems through a methodology that includes data gathering, product specification, identification of details, contractual documents and design business procedures.



            The basic rule of good design is first to get the framework of a space right and only then to look after the contents. It means first assessing the space available and then making decisions about how to manipulate it – whether cosmetically, by purely decorative means, or structurally – to its best advantage.

            Design is also about understanding how scale and balance contribute to making a room look comfortable and inviting. It is about handing light, whether natural or artificial; the way a colour is chosen and mixed, matched or contrasted to its greatest effect; and the way mixtures of texture and pattern can be assembled and built up. These are the essential ingredients which are dealt with in this section. All must be taken into consideration if the design of a home is to be given a firm basis and create a lasting impression.

Good Use of Space

            Lack of space, lack of rooms, lack of wherewithal to expand, there are perennial problems shared by almost everyone. Yet a curiously large number of people seem just to accept them. To alter the feeling of spaciousness in a place you do not necessarily have to change its basic structure. And the feeling is what most space is about, not the actual footage. Ironically, people who actually have too much space find it just as awkward to arrange comfortably as those with too little. With personal experience of booth, I have found it far easier to sit people sensibly in a small sitting room than in a very large, L shaped room.

Multi-purpose rooms

            At the simplest level, a home that is owned, as opposed to a rental, could be improved by the elementary expedient of changing the functions of various rooms, or by altering the layout. Almost any room can be made multi –purpose. A kitchen, if it is large enough, can also be used for a general eating and family room. A dining room or a guest room can also double as a study; bedrooms can always be made into bed/sitting/work rooms just by adding appropriate furniture. It often happens that in the reshuffle you gain an extra room.

            In every house, there is usually space being wasted somewhere that can be utilized: landing and corridor space; the area under the stairs; blank walls; odd corners. Used with imagination, these spaces can often relive congestion else-where. The secret is to be flexible, to question convention and to have no rigid ideas when it comes to the function of a room.


            Limited space can be expanded or too much space lessened by thoughtful decoration. Knowing how to juxtapose height and width, when to use large patterns and when small, when to offset an angle with a curve, or vice versa, all are important when it comes to achieving well-designed and proportioned rooms. The following guidelines should be useful for when it comes to redecorating problem areas.

Expanding Space

            Since pale colours recede, the lighter the wall and floor colours, the larger a room will seem. If a ceiling seems too low, you can raise it visually with a coat of light paint. Shiny, reflecting surfaces always seemingly make for a sense of space in a room, so use glossy paint to push back walls. The removal of a picture moulding or chair rail will also help make room seem less constricted and cramped.

            There is no doubt that patterns with a strong geometric or directional feel can appear to push out and extend floors and walls.  Patterned carpets or wall coverings with a light background give a feeling of depth and patterns on a dark background do tend to enclose.

Lessening Space

            Strong, dark colours seem to move in, so if a ceiling seems too high in proportion to the rest of the room, an intense colour will help bring it down visually. To make a room seem more compact, add a continuous band or stripe of colour, or a contrasting picture moulding round a room, soft, matt surfaces diminish a sense of space, so use non-shiny paint for the walls of an over large room.

Learning about scale

            At first, it always helps to look at possessions in other people’s homes. Remember what furniture is used to enlarge an area, and what dwarfs it. Notice which colours, textures and patterns complement or contrast with each other.

            Aim to balance solidity with delicacy, softness with hardness, height with depth. Furniture kept at much the same level makes for a greater sense of space. But remember that the effect of a continuous low level is enhanced by one or two judiciously placed objects; a rangy plant, or an arrangement of paintings.

            A good sense of scale is quite easy to acquire if you always remember to look at closely and learn from other people’s rooms which particularly please you.


            It is always useful to know how to create a feeling of depth in a room. How to achieve the illusion of extra space.

Creating a three- dimensional effect

            Think consciously, first of all, of creating a foreground, middle ground and back- ground, a definite, three- dimensional effect. The can be drawn out and along by diagonal or geometric lines painted on door are walls, or by similar geometric or directional patterns on the floor. Any rectangular room can be made to look wider if the      floor – or ceiling boards or tiles are run at an angle.

            A mirror on a table or mantelpiece with plants or some small objects in front of it will also give depth. As will a hinged screen in a corner behind a sofa or table.

Using mirror

            Mirrored surfaces will always give added length, depth and width to a room. Mirror tiles are less expensive than whole sheets of mirror, but although there are no distracting divisions with whole sheets, bear in mind the size of vast expanses of mirror when it comes to getting them through doorways and around corners. It is always wise to consider the possibility of expensive waste when a sheet of mirror is cracked during installation-unfortunately not such a rare occurrence these days.

Where to use mirror

            If the space could do with doubling, use mirror to cover an entire wall, if it can be afforded and fit it form floor to ceiling, extending it right into the corners. If plain mirror seems unsubtle, one compromise is to insert metal supports between lengths of mirror to hold glass or Perspex shelves for books and small objects.

            To help lose definition at the edges of a small room, and add extra sparkle, use thin strips of mirror to edge the top of the walls, just below the ceiling. Mirror alcoves; mirror between long windows; mirror backs of doors; mirror the side wall of a narrow staircase; mirror the ceiling of a small room. If you windows have wide embrasures, mirror them to both double the reflected light and maximize the view outside.

            Even the bases of sofas, seating units or chairs can be mirrored so they appear to float; tall screens can be mirrored for an illusion of extra height. And remember that etched or patterned mirror has a decorative quality all of its own, quite apart from its reflective value.


            The simplest and least expensive structural alterations can be made to doors. They can be adjusted to swing in the opposite direction so extra furniture can be fitted into a space. Old doors can be blocked off or new, more conveniently placed ones can be cut into the walls. If the space is minimal, but a door is necessary, put in a folding door or narrow swing doors. If a new partition wall is being put up anyway, it might be possible to put in a door which slides into it.

Internal windows

            Long, thin slits can be cut in walls to give extra light and depth to room and small, narrow windows set either side of a fireplace will add new views, give slivers of extra light and take up very little wall space. Remember that internal windows can be opened up between rooms for extra light and depth. Non-structural partition wall can be cut halfway to the floor, or to seating level.

            Modifying the ceiling always make an enormous difference to the space style and interest of a room. It can be lowered all round at the perimeter so that the central space seems to soar, or the central area of the ceiling can be lowered, perhaps over a dining table, for greater intimacy.

Changing levels

            For many people, a flexible change in levels is seen as the best way of making the best of a small space.  Multi-levels are especially useful for one-room living, and can be sued to divide off the various areas without the space seeming muddled and confused.

            Even if a room is of ordinary height, it is usually possible to build in a variety of platforms-depending on where the room is situated in a building and on the latter’s structure.  The extra weight is seldom any more than the normal furnishings and seating which it replaces.


            It lack of spaces is a problem the first basic thing to remember is that tables. Desks and  chairs made of glass or Perspex, or pieces of furniture that are surfaced in mirror, look much lighter and less bulky than more solid pieces, Two small couches always look neater than four chairs, and likewise, two small seating units pushes together will take up less room than a couple of chairs. Large articles of furniture should be kept against a wall.

            Corners can be used more; beds placed on the diagonal make a room look much more interesting; cupboards and desks also look particularly effective straddling corners, storage all down one side of a room can look neater than separate desks, bookshelves liquor cabinets or other kinds of cupboards.

One-room living

            In a once-room apartment, a double bed can look too obvious and bulky. Use a pair of day- beds or chaises instead, and pile them high with pillows. By day these can be used for seating and by night they can be pushed together to make a bed. Pare down as much as possible to avoid clutter, but beware of discard pieces of furniture to the extent that all character and individuality is lost


Significant lighting parameters

            The radiated power of light, as perceived by the eyes, is measured in terms of the luminous flux f. The luminous flux radiated per solid angle in a defined direction is referred to as the light intensity.  The intensity of a light source in all directions of radiation is given by the light intensity distribution, generally represented as a light intensity distribution curve.  The light intensity distribution curve characterizes the radiation of a light source as being narrow, medium or wide, and as symmetrical or asymmetrical.

            The luminous flux per unit area is the lighting intensity or illuminance E. Typical values:

Global radiation (clear sky)

Max. 100000 Ix

Global radiation (cloudy sky0

Max. 20000 Ix

Optimum sight

2000 Ix

Minimum in the workplace

200 Ix

Lighting orientation

20 Ix

Lighting orientation

10 Ix


0.2 Ix

            The lighting density L is a measure of the perceived brightness.  For lamps it is relatively high and results in glare, which necessitates shielding for lights in indoor areas.  The lighting density of room surfaces is calculated using the lighting intensity E and the degree of reflection.


            Lamps convert electrical power (W) into luminous power (lumen, lm)  The light yield (lm/W) is a measure of efficiency. For internal room lighting, filament and discharge lamps are used.

            Filament lamps typically provide warm white light that is flicker free can be dimmed without restriction and give very good colour of halogen bulb, and their compact size allows small lighting outlines and very good focusing characteristics (e.g. spotlights).  However, filament lamps also have a low lighting efficiency (lm/W) and a relatively short bulb life of between 1000 and 3000 hours.

            Discharge lamps usually operate with a ballast device and sometimes an ignition system, and offer high lighting efficiency with relatively long life (between 5000 and 15000 hours).  The colour of the light depends on the type of lamp: warm white, neutral white or daylight white.  Colour rendering is moderate to very good but it is only possible to dim the lamps to a limited extent.  Flicker-free operation can only be achieved by the use of an electronic ballast device.

General lighting symbols                  Standard lighting symbols
for architectural plans                      for architectural plans

Diagrams of lamp types

Different Lamp types


Allocation of lamp types and lighting types

Light fittings and light distribution


Lighting Quality Characteristics

            Any good lighting design must meet functional and ergonomic requirements while taking cost effectiveness into account.  In addition to the following quantativesuality criteria, there are qualitative in particular architectural, criteria which must be observed.
Level of illumination

            A mean level of between 300lx (individual offices with daylight) and 750lx (large rooms) is required in work areas.  Higher illumination levels can be achieved in uniform general lighting through the addition of lighting at workplace positions.
Light direction [Refer Fig. – 1]

            Ideally, light should fall on a working position from the side. The prerequisite for this is awing-shaped light distribution curve.

Limitation of glare [Refer Fig. – 2 & 3]

            Direct glare, reflected glare and reflections from monitor screens should all be limited.  Limiting direct glare is achieved by using lights with shading angles ≥ 300.

Limiting reflected glare is achieved by directing light from the side onto the working position, in conjunction with the use of matt surfaces on the surrounding areas.

            Limiting reflections from monitor screens requires the correct positioning of the screen.  Lighting which nevertheless still reflects on a screen must have a luminance of £ 200 cd/m2 in these areas.

Distribution of luminance

            The harmonic distribution of luminance is the result of a careful balance of all the degrees of reflection in the room, Table - 7. Luminance due to indirect lighting must not exceed 400 cd/m2.

Colour of light and colour rendering

            The colour of the light is determined by the choice of lamp.  A distinction is made betweenthree types: warm white light (colour temperature under 3300k), neutral white light (3300-5000 K) and white daylight (over 5000 K) in offices, most light sources are chosen in the warm white or neutral white ranges. For colour rendering, which depends on the spectral composition of the light, stage 1 9 very good colour rendering) should generally be sought.

Calculation of point illuminance levels [Refer Table – 6]

            The illuminance levels (horizontal Eh vertical Ev) which are generated by individual light sources, can be determined from the luminous intensity and the spatial geometry (height h, distance d and light incidence angle µ) using the photometric distance principle.



            Planning a colour scheme often seems an insurmountable task to the inexperienced. One way to begin is to take a colour in depth. Take green, for example, and think of trees through the seasons; the different greens of herbs, from the sharp freshness of parsley
            Or chives to the gray – green of sage and blue – green of rosemary. Or try thinking of precious stones; or the striated, cool, green of some slates. Think of moss and lichen, algae and seaweed, variegated ivy and honeysuckle, the browny-greens of ponds and the clear, blue-green of sea struck by sun. Natural combination like these can be used to build up interesting, monochromatic schemes, especially when contrasted or accented with other colours that set them off quite naturally.

Ideas for colour schemes

            In a white scheme for example, the walls and curtains might be a pale string colour, the carpet would be white, white, with sofa in honey and chairs a silver gray; cushions and plants or flowers would also be white for a brown scheme, the walls would be a white.

            For a brown scheme, the walls would be a coca-cola colour, the curtains would be chestnut brown and the carpet black or brown; the sofa would be white and the chairs natural-coloured, with scarlet cushions and shocking pink flowers as accents. In rooms with pale beige walls, the curtains would match, the carpet would be dark brown and the sofa would be the chairs natural – coloured, with scarlet cushions and shocking pink flowers as accents. In rooms with pale beige walls, the curtains would match, the carpet would be dark brown and the sofa would be the colour of milk chocolate; any chairs would be Chinese yellow, the cushions would be white and flowers, orange or yellow. In a gray scheme, the walls might be a pale gray, the curtains white and the carpet yellow; there would be a dark gray sofa and black chairs with lemon cushions; any flowers would be yellow. Where the wall are very pale pink, the curtain could be white and the carpet a sand colour; the sofa would be moss green, with shocking pink cushions and scarlet flowers to spike the pastels. These are just some ideas; remember that texture is an important ingredient and will affect the impact of any colour. And remember, too, that pale colours tend to look good in sunny rooms, while north facing ones always look more cheerful if warm, luminous colours are used.

             A space will always seem more cohesive if more or less the same colours are used throughout. Ideas about continuing a feeling throughout a house or apartment are dealt with in the Room- by- Room Guide.


            If sure use of colour is absolutely basic to good decorating, a feeling for texture and pattern is the refinement or gloss and should be considered just as seriously as the whole process of building up colours in a room. Colours can be so radically changed or modified by cleverly used texture and pattern, that through its subtlety of finish , even a one-colour room can be made to look just as lively and interesting as a more vividly coloured counterpart. And just as good juxtapositions of colour add immediate interest in a room, so thoughtful contrasts of texture and pattern, or both, can add to the overall visual effect, but in a gentler less obvious way.

Textural build- up

            Interestingly, textures are often as evocative as colours. Take, for example, these well- known finishes; boarding, brick, Hessian, brass, cane, ceramic, coir matting corduroy, cotton , cork, denim, felt, glass, lace, lacquer, leather, linen, marble, mirror, plaster, Perspex, rush, sailcloth, satin, silk, sisal, sheepskin, slub, slate , steel , stone, suede, terracotta, travertine, trellis, velvet, wicker, wood (natural and polished), wood slats, wool, wool cord. If you isolate each one in your mind, you can practically feel as well as see its surface. Imagine how each one would look appropriately applied to floors or ceilings, walls, furniture, windows and accessories. Contrast the varying qualities of the possibilities inherent in intelligent mixing of textures, the ability to build up comfort, or hard with soft, smooth with rough, matt with shine.

            Clearly, some textures seem to go better together than others, but this is mainly a matter of taste and practicality. Look at the sample for ideas, and look around for samples of carpet, matting, fabrics, vinyl’s, wallpapers, wall coverings and various tiles so you can see the possibilities for yourself. But rather than just colour matching or contrasting, find out which ones make the most interesting combinations, and which textures seem actually to enhance something else.

            Most people know that rough textures probably mix well with smooth ones, that matt goes well with gloss, but which rough surfaces should be mixed with which smooth ones, what matt juxtaposed with what gloss? As a general rule, coarse fabrics like Hessian or tweed usually look far better in rooms with rough, brick walls than more refined materials like silk or stain; lacquered furniture will look far more effective against velvet- covered walls than the same pieces made from Perspex. Which of your furnishing accessories, for example, has a particular softness, or depth, or gleam to it, and what can you put beside it to make those qualities stand out?

            Will the introduction of a plant or a vase of flowers help soften the shiny, hard–edged effect of a collection of silver or ceramics; or can a large, solid piece of sculpture be  offset by a tall, yet insubstantial plant? Further information about building up pleasing arrangements of objects and mixing and matching textures and patterns.

Unusual paint techniques

            Remember, too, the various methods for painting walls. Each type of finish, whether lacquered or glazed, rag-rubbed or dragged, combed or flat will, to a greater or lesser degree, alter the feel of a textural build-up. For more information about the more unusual painting techniques.

            Even when a room seems finished, the introduction of one more texture could make the same difference to its interest and vitality as a sudden and unexpected injection of colour. A chance incident might point something out: a basket left on a floor; a heavy woolen cardigan thrown over a chair; a brass container lying on a table, suddenly, a quite unexpected surface seems so right, so delineating of the other surface and colours in a room, that one cannot imagine why it was not thought of in the beginning. This gradual, relaxed accretion of experience, ideas and possessions is what decoration is about, after all.

Mixing patterns
            Mixing patterns can be a daunting exercise to the uninitiated, who may fear the distracting effect pattern piled on pattern can have. Historically, of course, people have always mixed pattern and ornament, if not with abandon, at least with a fine air of certainly. Think of the cornices, fabrics and rugs of Europe in the seventeenth century; the elaborate ceilings, damask wall coverings, mouldings, chair coverings and carpets of the eighteenth century; the stripes and silks, Turkey rugs, mathogany, figured velvets and lace antimacassars of the 1900s, the jazzy mixtures of the Twenties.

Grouping similar tones

            Mixing patterns is really a question of achieving the right scale, colour and balance. If you put together a number of prints which share much the same colouring or tones, some will appear to work, together much better than others, and, as with textures, these might actually enhance one another (especially if linked by areas of a plan colour predominant in the pattern). It is all too easy to under estimate the intricate patterning of accessories such as plants and books, pictures, objects, and ceramics, and the shapes of furniture, even before you think of the choice of fabrics and wallpapers, rugs, carpets, wall coverings and tiles.

 Massed ethnic prints

            Or think of the way a mass of Indian printed cottons can look effortlessly harmonious, their patterns all very much the same size and in good proportion with each other. Look at how their colours intermingle and repeat each other, and you begin to understand the principle of mixing and matching and will begin to feel more confident of putting it into practice.

            Even the flimsiest of sheers can be used in the build-up of patterns in a room if they are chosen with a similar or matching design to the curtains. The pattern could be simply white on white, or in a toned- down version of the main colours, or it could be a simplified version of the curtain motif, in one colour on white. The effect will be less interesting than less subtle combinations.

Play with pattern

            A play of pattern, properly manipulated, can be very beneficial to a room, influencing as it does the whole balance of colour. And sensitively worked, pattern can often give the illusion of added depth and therefore space to a room, as well as giving it a recognizable personality. Many of the hazards of experimentation are taken out of one’s hands these days now that manufactures are producing coordinated ranges of fabrics, wall papers, wall covering, tiles and sometimes carpets all designed to be mixed and matched according to taste, space and circumstances.

            As ever, the only way to learn is to observe and experiment, to find patterns and combinations that appeal and then try them out for yourself. Give them as much careful consideration as you would colour, and aim to avoid choosing overtly fashionable patterns which can make a room seem dated in no time at all.