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Defining Interior Design for Government Regulation

As a non-regulated profession consumers were regularly misled by interior design hobbyists masquerading as professional designers, and the public needed a destination to identify and qualify claims made on interior designers websites. By 2009, the profession had still not identified a go-to destination that consumers could rely upon for trusted identification purposes. The industry had still not defined the knowledge or the criteria required to practice as a professional Interior Designer, and finally, no communication between the Department of Education or government to shape basic content taught in a Batchelor of Arts or Master’s degree had been established.

Vanessa accepted the challenge to create a new organisation when her business plan to create an Interior Design Institute was rejected by an existing Interior Design Association and SBID was formed.

Dr Vanessa Brady
Dr Vanessa Brady, OBE


  • SBID pioneered a qualifying 3-point criteria of membership Accreditation as: (1) A first degree in a design subject. (2) 2 years minimum work experience. (3) 24 CPD points p.a.
  • SBID wrote to 132 entities to encourage inclusion and collaboration, practitioners followed in huge numbers, competitors shadowed and challenged every step of the way, but SBID embraced the journey.
  • SBID went on to draft course modules containing knowledge employers want graduates to possess. The content was approved and adopted into University interior design Batchelor of Arts courses.
  • SBID formed a pioneering course recognition and accreditation structure. Designed for potential students to identify the industry opinion of a course’s suitability, SBID ranked and approved UK universities providing industry-standard interior design courses (later to also include approved online courses for distance and international learning at a British university).
  • SBID launched its initial engagement with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) to review and strategise research on IP enforcement with the Metropolitan Police and government to review IP protection.
  • Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees became SBID Ambassador for Intellectual Property.



  • Vanessa received an OBE from the Prime Ministers Office for services to interior design and the British economy.



  • In 2014, SBID took its first formal steps to address the specific criteria and skills of an interior designer.
  • Vanessa received an Honorary Doctorate from Solent University for services to education in interior design.



  • The path between training and practice is now well established.
  • In 2016, SBID submitted a formal application to the Privy Council for a Royal Charter with an aim to bring interior design as a profession under government control.



  • Formal steps to collaborate between the IPO, police and SBID for enforcement and protection of a creators commercial idea began.
  • SBID hosted the first private IP protection debate for interior design in the House of Commons attended by; Circuit Judge, Magistrates, Mischon de Reya Solicitors, BBC Investigative Journalist, IPO, Trading Standards Office, Metropolitan Police IP Enforcement, and Metropolitan City Police Criminal Investigations.



  • SBID hosted an Intellectual Property seminar on British law, IP protection and IP theft enforcement with IPO Office and Prof Mark Engelman, leading IP Barrister for members.
  • SBID went on to launch an SBID Accredited IPO CPD series.



  • Today, SBID is represented in 71 countries worldwide and is a formal representative for UK interior design.
  • Following Brexit, SBID has continued to work closely with government as the official representing body for interior design.
  • The focus is now concentrated on supporting continued prosperity for members facing business disruption due to Covid-19 and navigating the UK transition from the European Union.
  • SBID represent the interior design sector at the government IPO in planning the Brexit transition from EU law to British Law.

Pioneering Accreditation Structures

Encouraging a mix of training, experience and annual lifetime learning, the SBID founded with the highest British standard for a professional interior designer. Pioneering the combination of a first degree in the field of interior design, with work experience and continued professional development as accreditation criteria for membership. This requirement aligns competence with practice and raised Britain to match our European counterparts.

SBID also created pioneering criteria that identified CPD content and launched the SBID Accredited CPD Program. To join the membership, designers meeting SBID Accredited criteria must partake in this annual SBID Accredited learning program to keep their skills relevant and up to date.

Lobbying for Industry Change

Since its incorporation, SBID has consistently lobbied for change to regulation of professional interior design to be recognised as a profession. As the representative member for interior design within the Business Senate for the UK SME Sector (Genesis Initiative), SBID provides evidence of the annual financial growth and threats to the UK economy for the interior design industry to the Bank of England.

The Genesis Initiative includes both senior industry figures and influential politicians of all political parties, and it works with both Government to encourage the adoption of policies allowing the SME sector to flourish to the benefit of the UK economy.

International Reach & Industry Growth

SBID set standards for best practice throughout the interior design industry in the UK in a variety of ways. By creating routes to market for design professionals, SBID have formed links not only vertically through the supply chain, but laterally for emerging industry talent, employment and work experience within complementing creative industries. In just ten years SBID is active in 71 countries around the world through leading international trade partnerships, GOLD-standard SBID Awards programmes for interior design and product design.

Each SBID membership category operates in both commercial and residential sectors, representing the international range, diversity and spread of the interior design industry. Through an inclusive membership structure, SBID are able to review, research and develop the future by measuring the risks and the opportunities of the multi-billion pound industry.

Setting Standards for British Interior Design

Meet the buyer SBID

SBID Accreditation

The SBID Accreditation framework is now internationally recognised across the interior design industry. It has influenced and encouraged industry-wide an education-based accreditation framework. SBID proudly created a British standard of education and set trading standards for competence in practice.

Accreditation Criteria for Interior Designers

To ensure the continued learning and development of a professional Interior Designer, the pioneering criteria for interior design accreditation was defined in the UK by SBID in 2009 as: 

  • 3 years of measured education with a degree in interior design or overlying sectors
  • 3.5 years of work experience in the field of design
  • 24 SBID-recognised CPD points per annum
  • Proof of professional indemnity insurance

To assist emerging interior designers on their journey to achieving full SBID Accreditation, Associate Accreditation is also available.

To find out more about becoming SBID Accredited, click here

Putting British Interior Design on the Map

The ECIA was founded in Brussels to promote and set agreed measures of trained education for the interior design profession across Europe. SBID submitted the first British application to the ECIA in 2009, where Britain had previously been excluded as no British organisations at the time upheld the principle that education was relevant for professional practice.

Of the European Union countries, the ECIA represents high professional standards of interior design across its 16 member countries’ interior design organisations. As the national representative member of interior design for the UK, SBID developed new European relationships through for UK interior design where previously, due to a lack of existing standards, Britain had been excluded.

Interior design

Finally, for the profession of interior design, SBID placed Britain on a level playing field within Europe and globally amongst counterpart organisations of an equal standard of practice, competence and importantly, ethics. This pathway created an exchangeable global standard of British Interior Design. 

In 2020, the UK left the European Union. It also left the governance of European Law. SBID therefore resigned from the ECIA to work independently with the British government under British law and will continue to engage independently in Europe and worldwide.

Measuring Interior Design Education Standards

Accrediting Course Content

Educators from a variety of universities formed a Memorandum of Understanding with SBID in 2009 to improve the outcome of course content for a career in the interior design industry. SBID were chosen out of three organisations, although it had been trading just four months. SBID later dissolved the initiative and in 2011, established collaborations with individual universities directly empowered to provide an interior design degree.

In 2015, SBID was recognised as an accrediting body to accredit university course content for an interior design degree*. The accreditation by HESA’s Unistats Dataset relates to educational and professional processes, forming part of each university’s central government funding status.


SBID acts as an independently accredited inspector of course content, ensuring each course meets the all-inclusive SBID standards. SBID validates a degree as fit-for-purpose, creating a benchmark to ensure accurate knowledge transfers to the commercial world. These standards create jobs and generate income which in turn, feeds directly back into the treasury, creating wealth for the nation.

*SBID created five modules for a BA degree course which were incorporated into a degree by Solent University. The process was formerly recognised and an honorary doctorate was awarded to the Founder of SBID.

Student Design Competitions

SBID student design competition Designed for Business Student Award winners
Overall Winner, Katarina Spenerova at the House of Commons with Russell Gagg, Chairman of Judging for Designed for Business student competition and Course Leader for BA (Hons) Interior Architecture & Design at Arts University Bournemouth

In 2018, SBID collaborated with BE OPEN Think Tank to launch Designed for Business, a national design competition with an overall prize fund of £35,000. Designed for final year creative students and graduates studying interior design, decoration, fashion and art & design, the competition aimed to showcase emerging creative talent and nurture relationships between graduates and employers.

SBID also founded Get me 2 the Top, a first and second year student competition to facilitate work experience and provide the tools and advice needed to kick-start a career while studying. It runs in both in the UK and Ukraine. Winners are awarded a 3-month paid internship with a leading design agency, architectural practice or manufacturer.

Explore SBID

SBID history

Professional Body

The SBID champion best practice and knowledge sharing in the profession of interior design by creating routes to market in the industry for all design professionals. 

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professional interior design, SBID History

SBID Board & Directors

Collectively we have the experience, ability and tenacity to create a valued industry voice locally, nationally and around the world.

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professional interior design, SBID History

SBID Partnerships

On behalf of its members, the SBID has protected, promoted and celebrated the interior design profession.

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