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Interior design is widely considered to be a pretty subjective matter. But that’s not to say there’s no distinction between good design and bad design. For instance, if you want a certain room to elicit a certain emotion and it fails to deliver, you’ve designed it badly. As Shari Hiller states:,

“A beautifully decorated interior not only functions well, but it also creates a mood or feeling and shows off the personality of the family that lives there. It’s attention to these three important ingredients — function, mood and personality — that ensures decorating success”.

To help you wrap your mind around these basic rules and more intricate ingredients of great interior design, the following free courses and resources will set you on the right path.

DecoratingStudio: The Fundamentals

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DecoratingStudio may not have the best website decor, but it sure has some great content on decorating your home. These short text and image based “courses” are all totally free, with no registration required.  You’ll be taken right through from choosing a color scheme to selecting the right furniture, and from treating windows to creating an amazing guest room.

Each section of the course also includes some basic exercises to help you think through the content, and allow it to sink in that bit more. This is a quick and quality way to grasp the basics of interior design before moving on to something a little more in depth.

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BetterHomes: Practical Guides

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The decorating section of the BetterHomes website is stuffed with practical inspiration, professional tips, and do-it-yourself projects that will have your home converted in no time.

The navigation around each of the guides isn’t the most streamlined, but the actual content  a mix of images, videos, slideshows, and text  is all worthwhile.

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Design 101: Keep Up To Date With Styles

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The Design 101 section of HGTV is a treasure trove of information about, and ideas for, contemporary interior design. Be sure to look out for the “read more” link on the relevant pages, as these can often go unnoticed.  At the bottom of each “class” page, there’s also a “We Recommend” section which suggests other relevant content to bulk out your knowledge of a certain area.

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DesignTripper: Interior Design Porn

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If you’re looking for carefully curated inspiration, rather than step-by-step guides or introductory courses, DesignTripper is a beautiful alternative to Pinterest scouring. Spend a few minutes here, and you’re guaranteed to come away with some incredible ideas for your own home.

The blog tours beautifully crafted homes, workshops, restaurants, shops, and gardens around the world, using stunning photography to portray the story and feel of each of the case studies.

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Another similar blog is A Bloomsbuty Life

Interior Design Basics: Quick Fire Videos

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This 53-part video course from HowCast is an excellent general introduction to interior design. Each video is only a couple of minutes long, yet contains sage advice, from understanding your budget 7 Baby Steps to Finally Start Saving and Budgeting Your Money with EveryDollar 7 Baby Steps to Finally Start Saving and Budgeting Your Money with EveryDollar EveryDollar is made by personal finance guru Dave Ramsey. We look at how it can help get your finances on the right track. Read More and choosing where best to spend your money, to creating a perfect bedroom.

By the end of the course, you won’t necessarily be an expert, but you’ll know what you should pay attention to when tackling the decor of your next room.

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Interior Design Sketch Course

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If you’ve always wanted to learn how to sketch like a professional interior designer, this 7-video YouTube playlist will help get you started. Each of the videos has been created by a different user, so there is some overlap the the content, but taking the time to watch a couple of these will give you a handle on the fundamentals when it comes to sketching a room design by hand.

In the list of suggested videos below, we’ve also linked to a couple that are not in that playlist, but which deserve to be.

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Houzz: A Decor Community

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Houzz is a 35-million member community, helping you remodel and design your home. Being a largely visually-oriented site, there are a huge number of curated interior photos (which you can easily save) to act as inspiration. There’s also a wealth of blog posts covering design topics, case studies, and tours of well-designed homes.

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HomeStyleExpert: Decorating Techniques

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Design is only one aspect of achieving the perfect home. Decorating is equally as important.

If you’re tackling the decorating yourself, this section of HomeStyleExpert will introduce you to the skills you’ll need to acquire Learn Basic DIY Skills Online With YouTube Learn Basic DIY Skills Online With YouTube While DIY falls in and out of fashion depending on the state of the economy, individual styles, and the availability of professionals and materials, there will always be someone, somewhere keen to learn basic DIY... Read More before gluing that paper to the wall.

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Other Resources

When you feel ready to take the plunge into your next interior design project, there are a number of other free online resources that’ll help make your life a lot easier.

Free Room Planning Software

Other Tools

As you can see, there’s a deep wealth of information available online to help you learn about interior design. The above resources are among the best we came across.

We hope these will offer you the basics of interior design principles, some funky ideas, plenty of inspiration, and a ton of practical advice and guidance to build your confidence when it comes to tackling your own home.

Which other tools, courses and resources have you found helpful for your interior design projects? Have you tried any of those mentioned above?

 

  1. Manish
    June 1, 2016 at 6:29 am

    Very helpful compilation of resources. Good work. Appreciate your efforts.

    • Rob Nightingale
      July 13, 2016 at 2:23 pm

      Thank you, Manish :)

  2. BIll Dauterive
    October 13, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    What I'm seeing in this article is interior DECORATING not interior design.

    • fcd76218
      October 14, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      Picky, picky, picky. :-)

      To most amateurs it's the same thing.

      • Rob Nightingale
        October 17, 2015 at 5:37 am

        There is a difference, though, like you said, it's often overlooked. This article is a mixture of both...

    • Rob Nightingale
      October 17, 2015 at 5:37 am

      I think the room planning software, the course on design fundamentals, sketching tutorials etc. all come under the header of interior design :)

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