Essentials for Interior Design Students

For those thinking of studying interior design at University, I would like to talk a bit about the essentials that you will need including equipment and computer software for your interior design course.


  • Academic Diary/Planner – This is an essential and really helps you meet your deadlines. Plus they are very cheap in the Works or on Ebay.
  • Scale Ruler – You cannot be an interior designer without a scale ruler and an understanding of scale. Get the Architectual ruler, not the Engineering ruler. They are very cheap, I have a few in case I lose one.
  • Mechanical Pencils and Spare Lead- These are essential, pencil thickness stays the same constantly. You will need different thicknesses; 0.35, 0.5 and 0.7 and these are sold by Rotring and Staedtler which are the best brands.
  • T-Square – An essential for technical drawings.
  • Set Squares – An essential for technical drawings.
  • Metal Ruler – This is needed when using a knife to cut a model out, do not use a plastic ruler for this, you will break it and are likely to cut yourself.
  • Cutting Knife and Blades – A good quality sharp knife is very important for model making to achieve clean cuts and a good quality model. I own numerous scalpels and cutting knives. My favourites would be the red knife and the small silver scalpels.

Other Essentials

  • Scissors
  • PVA Glue
  • UHU Glue
  • Pritt Stick
  • Masking Tape
  • Notepads
  • Sketchbooks
  • Cartridge Paper A3 and A2
  • Layout Paper A3 andd A2
  • Tracing Paper A3 and A2

Computer Equipment

  • Laptop (Windows or Macintosh). – Personally I use Windows as I am used to it and can do it faster, I can use Macintosh however, you will need to be able to use both. It will need to be reasonably powerful 8GB RAM minimum and a minimum of 1TB hard drive. Personally I like one with a large screen to look at my CAD work.
  • Mouse – A mouse is essential for doing CAD work efficiently.
  • External Hard Drive – BACK UP YOUR WORK. There will be nothing worse than losing your work, so back it up. You will end up with some large files. I have bought a 2TB desktop external hard drive, you can get a portable, but desktop feels more sturdy.
  • Printer – A printer is ideal because sometimes there are issues with University printers, it doesn’t have to be an expensive one, but needs to do the job.
  • Memory Sticks – You cannot ever have enough of these, just make sure that they are attached to something like your keys so you don’t lose them.

Computer Software

  • Adobe PhotoShop (This programme will become your best friend in making your visuals look amazing).
  • Adobe InDesign (This is the best programme for laying out your work for presentation purposes).
  • Adobe Illustrator (May need this occasionally).
  • Vectorworks (You can get this for FREE when you go to University, they will ask for your student ID).
  • Microsoft Office – You will need this for writing essays.

It doesn’t hurt to learn additional software such as 3D Studio, Sketch Up and AutoCAD as they may be useful in the design industry once you graduate.

Also if you are looking for a good interior design reading list, please have a look at one of my previous posts… Top Books for Interior Design (Students) and Where to Buy Them. I tell you where to get the best books for the best prices.

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