Nowadays, space planning and interior design are seen as means to improve moods, focus creativity, and reduce stress. The goal is not just for the interior designs to “look nice” but also to create environments where people feel happier and more at ease within their own four walls.
The design and feel of our living spaces can affect everything – from our nutrition choices to our stress levels. Small details like the color of a sofa or cluttered bookshelves can drastically impact our happiness. Well-planned interiors can introduce feelings of warmth and safety, and our living spaces even directly affect our brain’s spatially modulated neurons.
This is why everyone stands to benefit from learning interior design. Not only those interested in working professionally as an interior designer but also those seeking to redesign their own homes. After all, what could be more important than feeling happy and satisfied in our homes?
A high-quality online course is one of the best ways to learn interior design. With online education, you can study at your own pace and take the course materials whenever, wherever.
We are big fans of Skillshare‘s online courses for learning topics related to art and design. A Skillshare subscription is a good value for money for anyone looking at furthering their skills. And the platform comes with a free 30-day trial – enough to try out several courses on topics such as decoration, design styles, floral arrangements, furniture styles, and sustainable interior design.
Now, without further ado, these are the seven best free online interior design courses.
Best Interior Design Courses
Best Overall: Interior Design Basics - Simple Steps to Your Perfect Space
“Interior Design Basics” is a one and a half hour professional interior design course that covers the basics of interior design. The course is led by Lauren Cox, a design program manager from Havenly. Havenly is a virtual interior design company that connects customers with a team of professional interior designers. The clients begin by forwarding their vision and the budget for their living space. From there, a team of interior designers takes over and completes a final design of the selected area.
“Interior Design Basics” is an introduction to the four fundamentals Havenly designers use in their work. Indeed, successful design is often about breaking rules, not following them. Still, there are easy-to-follow fundamentals that can improve the aesthetics of any living space.
To give you a glimpse of what to expect from this online interior design course, consider these four fundamental topics discussed in the lessons:
- Color: Curating a color palette unique to your taste, space, and budget.
- Balance: Balancing symmetry and asymmetry in a selected space.
- Scale & Proportion: Learning how to fit different items together to create an aesthetic whole.
- Rhythm & Repetition: Creating movement & harmony with recurring patterns, elements, and colors.
For those in need of a zap of inspiration, have a look at how one of the students re-arranged her shelf following the principles taught in this class.
It’s simple, yet effective. Sometimes all you need is a touch of inspiration!
All in all, “Interior Design Basics” is one of the best beginner-level online interior design courses out there. It is engaging, easy-to-follow, and very practical, which is why we ranked it as our best overall pick.
Best for Minimalism: Everyday Minimalism - Find Calm & Creativity in Living Simply
The benefits of minimalism have been promoted through the ages. From the Stoics of ancient Rome to Tyler Durden from the cult classic movie “Fight Club” (“Things you own end up owning you”), there is no lack of those preaching the virtues of living a less materialistic lifestyle. And the science seems to back their words up – minimalism does indeed lead to more happiness.
“Everyday Minimalism” is a 34-minute online interior design course led by Erin Boyle, a lifestyle blogger and dedicated minimalist. In this class, she gives her students a practical introduction to her philosophy. As you would expect from a course on minimalism, content with little substance is left out. These lessons are laser-focused on actionable tips that anyone can instantly apply in their lives and their living spaces.
The following are some of the key topics discussed:
- Being inventive and resourceful about space.
- Streamlining daily mental habits for less stress and more effective creative performance.
- Guided examination of time, energy, and money spending habits.
- Appreciating the meaningful things in life and letting go of the unimportant.
As you see, the class is not only about interior design and decluttering a living space. You will also get a peek into the mental and practical habits of a practicing minimalist. All things considered, “Everyday Minimalism” is s great class for anyone looking to add more clarity and meaning to their busy lifestyles. While the syllabus is not strictly about interior design, it’s a class that covers the minimalism style better than any other. In interior design, minimalism is gaining increasing traction, and this class will help you master its details.
Best for Vintage Style: Style your Space - Creative Tips and Techniques for Interior Design
“Style your Space” is another unique online interior design course. This time, the focus is on vintage interior design practices that anyone can use regardless of budget.
It is a one-hour class that starts by having the students complete an in-class quiz. Students will find out the interior design style best suited to their personality, budget, and living space in this quiz. Then, they are taken through the step-by-step process of creating beautiful vintage-style interior designs.
The course is led by Emily Henderson, a renowned author, stylist, and TV host. Emily is inspired by vintage-inspired styles that are approachable, yet trendy. And, most importantly, you won’t have to break the bank to infuse these style principles in your living space.
You’ll be surprised to see how little it will cost to create a retro-inspired home that will look chic for years to come. All you need is a little inspiration on how to select and where to find the correct items, and this class provides you with exactly that. And, of course, you’ll learn how how to match these items so that your individual taste also shows in your decor.
For students interested in dabbling with the principles of retro design, this class is a solid introduction. It takes only an hour to finish but comes with everything needed to bring a little vintage-inspired soul to your home. That’s why we consider it the best online interior design class for designers trying to implement a vintage style.
Best for Sustainable Design: Holistic Interior Design - Transform your Personal Space for Well-Being
Trends from the modern interior design industry are similar to fashion – they are seasonal and go out of date fast. One might spend vast sums of money on collaborating with the best interior designers, only to find that their entire decor is “out” by the time the whole project is actually finished. This is precisely why holistic interior design is gaining more and more momentum. It is an interior design approach built on a combination of environmental sustainability, well-being, and aesthetical beauty.
Combining these three might seem like a daunting task, but as “Holistic Interior Design” from Skillshare shows, it is not that difficult to get started. This class gives you the all the skills and knowledge required to create stunning and sustainable designs, even if you’re not an experienced interior designer.
In this 1 hour and 22-minute class, designers from NY-based Clear Studios introduce students to holistic design with practical lessons on topics such as holistic design principles, technical skills, real-life examples, and hands-on class projects.
Learning about holistic interior design is a no-brainer for a student exhausted by constantly changing trends and unsustainable approaches. A well-developed online course such as “Holistic Interior Design” is a great way to learn the basics of sustainable interior design.
Best for Color Theory: Interior Design Essentials: Creating a Color Palette
Did you know that effective color choices can improve comprehension by 73%, learning by 55-68%, and readership by 40%? These statistics from design and marketing gives an indication of how important the color palette of your living space is. It is just as (if not more) important as getting the furniture styles, space planning, and materials right.
“Interior Design Essentials” is a 30-minute class that covers just that: color theory. It introduces color theory in the interior design context and helps you better understand how to mix and match colors like a professional.
In this online course, the tutor Sarah Earl shows her students the fundamentals of working with color. It covers lessons on interactions between color and space, the color wheel theory, and building a color palette around a key item. And, these are only some of the topics handled in this online interior design course. Sarah has really managed to pack an impressive amount of content into such a short online class.
In design, it is often the smallest changes that make the biggest difference. By becoming more knowledgeable about color theory, you are likely to start playing around with the color schemes of your living space. And, who knows, maybe these improvements will not only improve the look of your home but your personal and professional life as well. Remember, color affects almost all areas of our daily life. In interior design, it’s crucial to get the colors just right, and there’s no better class to learn color theory than this masterclass from Sarah Earl.
Best for Floral Arrangements: Modern Flowers -Arranging a Stunning Centerpiece
Not only are flowers beautiful, but they can also improve our mental well-being. Arranging flowers t is one of the most relaxing creative pursuits there is. Plus, a great flower arrangement can become the wow-moment in an already tastefully decorated home.
“Modern Flowers”, a Skillshare Original course, is a 48-minute class that teaches the principles of creating beautiful floral arrangements. The course covers all the practical skills needed to create flower arrangements from selecting the right flowers to mixing them in an arrangement.
The lessons are delivered by Michael and Darron Putnam, the founders of Putnam & Putnam, a high-end floral boutique specializing in weddings, editorials, and fashion presentations. Needless to say, these two men know a thing or two about creating visually and mentally pleasing spaces with floral arrangements.
If you don’t believe me, have a look at one of the arrangements done by a graduate of this short course:
To get the most out of this class, you should already be aware of some of the fundamentals of interior design. The lessons in this class don’t cover interior design, which is it serves best as an added bonus to the other courses on this list. Use the other classes on this list to learn the fundamentals of interior design, and then use this course to add a finishing touch to the space with a beautiful flower arrangement.
Best for Learning Design Styles: How to Work with Interior Design Styles Like a Pro!
“How to Work with Interior Design Styles Like a Pro” is a two-part interior design class led by Erikka Fogleman. Erikka is a professional interior designer with a passion for breaking interior design into simple-to-use processes and formulas. This course follows the same blueprint.
In a total of 5 hours and 50 minutes, this course shows students a total of 18 different popular interior design styles. Whether you are looking for inspiration or just want to become a bit more knowledgeable about the history and current trends in interior design, this course will serve you well.
Since the class is much longer than the other online interior design courses on our list, you’ll want an extra competent instructor. Luckily, Erikka is great – her passion for interior design is clear as she shows and explains 18 different interior design styles. For the duration of the course, she explains concepts in an engaging manner, and she never lets the lessons become dull and boring.
After learning about the different interior design styles, feel free to start mashing them together and adding some individuality to the mix. As Picasso said – “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” And, for learning the rules of popular interior design styles, this course will be a great fit for you.
Note that if you would like to purchase lifetime access to this course instead of following it as part of a Skillshare subscription, Erikka also sells this course on Udemy.
We’ve now reached the end of this review of the best online interior design courses. If you liked any of the courses you saw, make sure to take advantage of Skillshare’s free trial. Or, to learn more about Skillshare, read our full review of Skillshare.