Best Online Design Courses For Interior Designers

If you're looking for the best online courses to become an interior designer, look no further! We've compiled a list of the top schools and programs to help you reach your goals.

Best Online Design Courses For Interior Designers
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Do you have a flair for design? Are you always looking at magazines and home renovation shows for inspiration? If so, then a career in interior design may be perfect for you. In this post, we discuss what interior designers do, what skills and training you need to become one, and how to choose the right online design course.

The popularity of home improvement shows has made it easier for people to learn about interior design and renovation projects. As you watch the professional designers on TV create stunning interiors using online design software, do you wonder if you can do it too?

The good news is that many great interior design courses are now available online. They are designed to provide you with the skills and training you need to pursue a career in interior design or simply want to learn a new skill set.

What is interior design?

What do interior designers do?

What skills do interior designers need?

What education is needed to become an interior designer?

Specialized career paths for designers

How to choose online design courses

Online courses in interior design and other specialties

How much do interior designers make?

Conclusion

FAQ


What is interior design?

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Interior design is the art and science of designing and enhancing interior spaces in homes and commercial buildings. It's a multifaceted profession that includes conceptual development, space planning, site inspections, construction management and design execution.

Interior designers must understand the principles of various design concepts, including color theory and elements of different design styles. They usually plan, research, coordinate and oversee interior design projects for individual and commercial clients.

What do interior designers do?

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Interior designers are responsible for the look and feel of a space. It's their job to make indoor spaces functional, safe and attractive. They work with clients to create beautiful environments that meet their needs and reflect their personal styles.

Just like you see on TV, they have to determine the space requirements, understand their client's needs and preferences, and then present their project vision and estimates.  

Interior designers use their skills and knowledge to recommend colors schemes, lighting, materials and accessories. They also have to know how to read blueprints and be aware of building codes and inspection regulations.

What skills do interior designers need?

You'll learn most of the technical skills you need as an interior designer in an online design course. It helps if you understand concepts of space, color and light. You also must be creative and possess strong problem-solving abilities. As an interior designer, you will need strong interpersonal skills to communicate effectively with clients, architects and other designers.

What education is needed to become an interior designer?

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There are many ways to pursue a career in interior design, depending on your goals and how much time you want to invest in your education. While you might not need a degree or a certification for all interior design jobs, having training in the field is greatly beneficial.

Suppose you’re planning on helping clients with their decorating needs. In that case, learning design fundamentals through an online design course will help you create layouts, and floor plans and understand lighting and finishes. Completing an online course can also lend your expertise credibility.

If you're looking for a job in commercial design or with professional firms, you'll need a degree and accreditation in interior design. Depending on which state you live in, state legislation might require you to complete a bachelor's degree in interior design or a related field and pass the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam to qualify as an interior designer. This certification process takes about six years to complete.

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Let’s take a look at some of the interior design course options available:

  • Online courses without certification: These courses are great for beginners and those looking to upgrade their skills. You can choose classes on specific topics (like color theory) or a series of issues that deal with different design elements. Courses are typically shorter and more affordable or free.
  • Online courses with certification: Similar to above, plus you get a certificate upon completion. This can count towards your accreditation or updating your credentials. These courses are longer and have a higher fee.
  • College diploma: You can complete these courses online or in-person, typically in two to three years. However, some interior design schools offer shorter programs. They are built around practical design skills, are more streamlined than degree programs and offer internship opportunities.
  • Degree programs: Obtaining a degree (Bachelors and/or a Masters) in interior design takes about three to four years. These courses cover the same material as diploma programs but dive deeper into the theory and history of design. There is also an internship component.

Specialized career paths for designers

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Interior design is an industry with many different fields where you can specialize as a designer. There are many different specializations within the designer field. You can choose to work as a residential designer, commercial designer or industrial designer, for example. Figure out which one interests you the most, and focus your efforts on that area. Here are some areas of interior design you might want to consider.

Architecture design focuses on the design of buildings and other structures. An architect must be able to create functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces that meet the specific needs of their clients.

Residential design focuses on designing private homes, apartments and condominiums. A residential designer must be able to create functional and beautiful homes that meet the specific needs of their clients.

Commercial design focuses on designing public spaces, such as office buildings, retail stores and restaurants. A commercial designer must be able to create functional and aesthetically pleasing areas that are conducive to business.

Hospitality design focuses on the design of hotels, resorts and other hospitality venues. A hospitality designer must be able to create inviting and comfortable spaces that meet the specific needs of their client's guests.

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Healthcare design focuses on designing healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, clinics and medical offices. A healthcare designer must be able to create functional and safe spaces that meet the specific needs of the patients.

Sustainable design focuses on the design of environmentally friendly spaces. A sustainable designer must be able to create areas that are energy efficient and have a minimal impact on the environment.

Retail design focuses on the design of retail stores and other retail establishments. A retail designer must be able to create inviting and appealing spaces that meet the specific needs of their customers.

Set design focuses on the design of stage sets and other scenic elements. A set designer must be able to create functional and visually appealing spaces that meet the specific needs of the production.

How to Choose Online Design Courses

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There are many great design courses available online. Some focus on specific design aspects, such as color theory or construction methods. Others are more general and cover a variety of topics. Each of these online courses has something different to offer, so choosing the right one for your needs is essential.

Deciding on the outcome will help you narrow down your choices. If you're unsure about your career path, we recommend starting with free courses. Here are some of the elements you should consider when choosing an online course.

Certification

If you’re just getting started with interior design and want to learn more about the different aspects of the profession, a certification may not be your top priority. However, if you plan to make a career out of interior design, you should choose courses that offer a certificate of completion.

While all courses will improve your skills and add to your interior design knowledge,  you want to make sure that your credentials are recognized by potential employers. As we mentioned above, you might need to complete your certification and accreditation before you can work in the field.

Price

Knowing how much the course costs is also an important consideration as it affects your budget. If you are new to interior design or are mainly looking for practical tips to help you with your home projects, you probably won't need costly courses with graded assignments and certification.

However, if your focus is certification and a career in interior design, the cheapest options won't always provide you with the skills and credentials you desire. You should compare what the course offers for the price and whether that aligns with your goals.

Course length

How long it takes to complete a course is another critical factor to consider when choosing an online course. Self-study courses allow students to move at their own pace, while others have set start and end dates.

Knowing the length of the course, whether it's a few hours, days or an entire semester, makes it easier to plan your time for coursework. Longer courses might also require you to complete graded assignments and projects as part of your learning experience, impacting more of the time you devote to your learning.

Accreditation

Educational institutions receive accreditation from agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Accreditation typically denotes higher program quality and impacts course credit transferability. Students enrolled in accredited programs might be eligible for federal financial aid.

Accreditation is more critical for programs geared toward those pursuing a career in interior design. Online courses designed for independent learning don't require certification while still offering value for students.

Curriculum and continuing education

Review the course syllabus and outline before you sign up to see if there are any specific tools or materials required for the course. This can include things like specialized software, course books or instructional materials. You also need to make sure your computer and Internet connection can withstand the additional tools required by the course without problems.

Courses can also include internships to help students get hands-on experience in the field or offer options for continuing education. Often, students might also get special rates for joining professional associations and qualify for discounts on industry-specific programs and subscriptions. If an internship is important to you, make sure to confirm that it's included as part of the course.

Admission requirements

While many courses are designed for students with no experience, you might be required to submit a portfolio with your application. Online courses not geared to professional career development usually don't have strict requirements as they are intended for self-study.

Online courses in interior design and other specialties

The Interior Design Institute

The Interior Design Institute specializes in teaching interior design courses online with a focus on helping students acquire critical design skills. There are 12 comprehensive modules and 12 corresponding assignments. They cover essential interior design elements, business advice and client communication information.

The course is designed to prepare students for certification. The program doesn't have a set start date and is tailored to students who want to learn at their pace. In addition, students can purchase advanced modules to delve deeper into technical aspects.

  • Certification: Yes
  • Price: Starting at $999
  • Average course length: 6 months
  • Accreditation: IARC, BAC
  • Money-back guarantee: 7 days

New York Institute of Art and Design

The New York Institute of Art and Design offers courses in interior design and prepares students for a career in this field. This self-study course takes about eight to 12 months to complete. It covers design trends and history, furniture styles and fabrics, color theory and lighting. Upon completion, students are qualified to apply for the Residential Interior Design Qualification Certification (RIDQC) exam.

Students also learn to work with clients and deal with contracts, purchasing, scheduling and pricing. The Institute also offers courses in AutoCAD, home staging, Feng Shui and 3D Modeling with SketchUp.

  • Certification: Yes
  • Price: Starting at $849
  • Average course length: 8 to 12 months
  • Accreditation: New York State Education Department, DEAC
  • Money-back guarantee: 14 days

British College of Interior Design

The British College of Interior Design’s Professional Interior Design Course provides aspiring interior designers with the professional skills they require to start their careers. Students can opt for a 12 or a 24-week course delivered online. There are set enrollment dates, meaning you can't begin whenever you want.

Training includes coursework on the elements of interior design as well as modules on business practices and strategies that effectively prepare students to embark on their careers. Students work with tutors and mentors to identify areas best suited to their professional goals.

  • Certification: Yes
  • Price: Starting at $590
  • Average course length: 12 or 24 weeks
  • Accreditation: IARC
  • Money-back guarantee: 7 days

Planner5D Design School

Our Design School offers learn-as-you-go online interior design courses that will introduce you to the basic principles of interior design. It's best suited for beginner designers thinking of a career in interior design and those looking for home renovation ideas or designing their dream home.

You'll learn how to become an interior designer and have an opportunity to practice new skills by re-creating your current home, improving a floor plan or designing a dream home with our home design planning tool. The course covers nine different topics, each consisting of short videos. Each module ends with a quiz that tests your understanding of the material. You'll receive a certificate of completion when you finish.

  • Certification: Yes
  • Price: Free to Premium Planner 5D users
  • Average course length: each class is about 15 min
  • Accreditation: No
  • Money-back guarantee: Yes

Skillshare

Skillshare's online learning platform has an extensive library of online interior design courses. They are aimed at beginners, those with intermediate skills and advanced interior designers. The classes range from less than 15 minutes to over 60 minutes and cover various topics.

You can learn about interior design styles and principles or take your learning to a new level with classes in 3D modeling and rendering, using lighting and color in your designs, planning a room makeover, and learning how to use interior design software like SketchUp and AutoCAD.

  • Certification: No
  • Price: First month free, then $32/month or $168 annually
  • Average course length: classes are 30-60 minutes
  • Accreditation: No
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days

Udemy

Udemy is a popular online learning platform. Students can find specific interior design courses they want to take and pay for them individually. There is an extensive library of online interior design courses for beginner, intermediate and expert interior designers. They range from $19 to over $100 per course depending on the complexity of the material and level of learning.

This is an excellent option if you're looking for introductory knowledge and guidance on specific design aspects. Udemy is a perfect choice for its value and breadth of information if you're not ready to turn interior design into a career.

  • Certification: No
  • Price: Starting at $13.99
  • Average course length: 6 hours
  • Accreditation: No
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days

MasterClass

​​MasterClass is a streaming platform that provides access to courses by experts in their fields, including the renowned interior designers Kelly Wearstler and Corey Damen Jenkins and master builder Frank Gehry. Each class includes around 20 short videos and an in-depth workbook.

The platform has an annual membership that lets you access all the videos. You can complete each course in a few hours. There is no feedback from the instructor or assignments. It's a great option if you're looking for introductory basics or ideas for implementing design lessons in your life.

  • Certification: No
  • Price: $180 per year
  • Average course length: 2 to 5 hours
  • Accreditation: No
  • Money-back guarantee: 30 days

How Much do Interior Designers Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for an interior designer is $57,060. However, salaries can range from $26,410 to $106,780 per year. Designers with experience and those who are self-employed tend to earn higher incomes.

Your salary will be determined by where you work and live. Salaries are based on several factors, including education, experience, certification, additional skills and years of experience.

Conclusion

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There are many online design courses for those who want to pursue interior design as a career and those who wish to learn new skills to help them with home improvement projects.

We hope this article provided you with helpful information about the different online interior designing courses. Whether your goal is to become a pro or you want to update your home, you recommend signing up for our free online Design School. Create fun projects and learn about interior design from the comfort of your home.

FAQ

Can I learn interior designing online?

You can take online courses to learn the basics of interior design. These courses will teach you about different aspects of design, such as color theory, materials and finishes, construction methods, and ergonomics. With the proper education and training, you can be on your way to pursuing your dream career in interior design.

Which online interior design course is best?

There are many great online design courses available. However, it is essential to do your research and choose the ones that best fit your needs. With a little bit of effort, you can find the perfect courses to help you pursue your dream career in interior design.

What are the requirements for becoming an interior designer?

Most states require that designers complete a bachelor's degree in interior design and pass a state-approved exam. Some states also require designers to have experience working in the field before being licensed. Once you have met all of the requirements, you will be ready to pursue your career as an interior designer!

Which degree is best for interior design?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It depends on your goals, interests, and experiences. However, most interior designers have a bachelor's degree in interior design or a related field.

Is an interior design degree worth it?

Whether an interior design degree is with it depends on your career goals, interests and experiences. However, most interior designers have a bachelor's degree in interior design or a related field.

How do I get started in interior design?

You can find many great online courses that will teach you design basics. If you are interested in pursuing a career in interior design, the first step is to get a degree.