Best Online Interior Design Courses

The Interior Design Institute is our top pick

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Interior designer working on a home renovation sketch while holding a tablet.

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Online interior design courses equip you with the knowledge and skills that make up the foundation of home design and decorating. Whether you are interested in learning more about interior design for your personal projects or as a career, online classes offer flexibility and can be tailored to your interests and goals.

Learning the basics of home design, like space planning, color theory, popular styles, and furnishings, can help you create a space that looks put together and stylish. While some classes are developed with casual learners in mind, individuals interested in launching an interior design career will be most interested in an online interior design course that offers a certificate or degree. Regardless of your path, you can learn more about interior design with these popular online courses.

Best Online Interior Design Courses of 2021

Best Overall: The Interior Design Institute

The Interior Design Institute

The Interior Design Institute

Why We Chose It: This in-depth and accredited course from The Interior Design Institute covers the essential aspects of interior design. It’s serious enough to prepare you for entry into the design field but is practical and useful for personal projects.

Pros
  • Self-paced course

  • Support of a mentor

  • Access to job board and Facebook group

Cons
  • Additional video content is an extra cost

  • Course expires after 1 year

The Interior Design Institute offers a robust program that covers 12 modules of learning. Each module is capped by an assignment that encourages you to apply the knowledge you’ve gained in a practical exercise. The course is self-paced, but you won’t feel self-taught; every student is assigned a tutor to provide assistance with course questions and feedback on assignments. In addition, an exclusive Facebook group for students and graduates of the Interior Design Institute is available to all enrollees. 

It’s worth noting that this interior design class is accredited by more than a handful of recognized organizations. At the conclusion of the course, graduates earn a diploma. This isn’t the same as online interior design courses that offer a certificate or degree, but it’s a comprehensive overview of the design field. It can easily be the start of a career in interior design or an in-depth way to gain the skills and experience for personal projects. 

This course costs about $1,000–dependent on current incentives and offers. You can also select a payment plan that brings the cost to about $50 per week. You’ll be encouraged to spend about four to six hours per week on the course material. If you do, you can expect to finish in 24 weeks. However, you’ll have up to one year to complete the course. After that, you’ll need to purchase an extension if you want to lengthen your enrollment.

Most Affordable: Udemy

Udemy

Udemy

Why We Chose It: Single classes cost less than $20 and you can put together a collection of courses that will take you from the basics to more advanced aspects of interior design like color theory.

Pros
  • Choose topics that interest you

  • Lifetime access to course materials

  • Budget-friendly

Cons
  • No student engagement

  • Not a diploma or certificate program

A popular online learning platform, Udemy offers more than 300 classes on interior design topics. While this isn’t an all-inclusive interior design course, it costs a fraction of traditional programs. Individual classes start at around $12.99, and you can often bundle similar courses together for additional savings. This makes Udemy the most affordable option for an interior design course. 

There’s plenty to learn with Udemy–popular picks like "How to Design a Room in 10 Easy Steps" will equip you with a systematic method to design and decorate home living spaces. These interior design courses are video lectures, with additional articles, resources, and activities that vary. 

If you opt for this type of a la carte education, note that you won’t have the feedback of an instructor when it comes to assignments or projects. However, once you’ve registered for an interior design class from Udemy, you’ll retain lifetime access to the course, so you can rewatch and revisit the class materials anytime.

Best for Beginners: The Nordic Design Institute

Nordic Design Institute

Nordic Design Institute

Why We Chose It: This course stands out for its affordability and simple approach to the basics of design, with a special emphasis on Scandinavian elements and its influence on contemporary interior design styles.

Pros
  • Combination of video and written course material

  • Start the course at any time

Cons
  • No diploma or certificate offered

  • Limited ability to preview course materials

If you’re just starting to explore interior design, it makes sense to look for a course that is affordable and practical. The Basic Interior Design Course from The Nordic Design Institute covers 10 units, including subjects like sketch drawing and space planning. How quickly you cover the course is up to you, but most students complete it in five to ten weeks. You’ll have access to course materials for two years. 

There are no prerequisites to this beginner-friendly interior design course. While the course creators are candid that this course alone won’t prepare you for a career in interior design, at $395 it’s an affordable option for a basic introduction to the field. Use what you learn for personal projects or to assess whether or not interior design is the right career path for you.

Best Self-Paced Option: New York Institute of Art + Design

New York Institute of Art and Design

 New York Institute of Art and Design

Why We Chose It: Students who complete this self-paced course are eligible to take the RIDQC (Residential Interior Design Qualification Certification) exam to earn a Residential Interior Design Certification.

Pros
  • Puts students on path for RIDQC certification

  • Complete the course on your timeframe

  • Includes 13 hours of video instruction

Cons
  • No job placement or internship assistance

  • Student support network is not course-specific

Learn at a pace that is convenient and suits your schedule with this self-paced online interior design course. The New York Institute of Art + Design (NYIAD) has been educating students since 1985, and exclusively online since 2014. The school’s Interior Design Course awards graduates with a certificate of completion and also qualifies them to sit for the Residential Interior Design Certification exam from RIDQC, one of several certifications available for interior designers. 

While some options for an interior design course with a certificate require you to meet certain course benchmarks, NYIAD gives students 18 months to complete the curriculum. Tuition for the course is reasonably priced at roughly $800 if paid in full. You also have the option to finance the course with monthly payments. 

The curriculum is divided into six units, with integrated sections covering theoretical and practical areas of interior design. For example, a unit on Working with Furnishings and Fabrics addresses furniture styles and how to draft agreement letters to receive a deposit from clients. These interior design professionals are available to provide feedback on projects throughout the course. In keeping with the self-paced nature of this course, you can reach out to tutors at any time.

Best for Video Classes: Skillshare

SkillShare

SkillShare

Why We Chose It: This online platform has plenty of interior design courses with hours of video classes to watch and learn from, whether you’re new to interior design or looking for inspiration.

Pros
  • Video lectures led by industry professionals

  • Download resources and complete projects

  • Choose courses based on your area of interest

Cons
  • Platform requires registration for free courses

  • Not intended as training for interior design career

Visual learners will appreciate the catalog of interior design video classes available from Skillshare. The platform includes both free and premium courses taught by professionals in the interior design field. Some courses, such as the popular Interior Design Basics: Simple Steps to Your Perfect Space, are free to watch and have accompanying resources and a final project to help you apply what you learn. 

All of the Skillshare interior design courses are divided into video lessons, with each segment lasting up to 15 minutes or so. Whether you watch one lesson at a time or take in the entire course at once is up to you and your learning style. Many courses offer notes that correspond to each video lesson and capture the key points for easy reference later. If you’re most interested in video interior design classes for personal projects or to enrich your understanding of decorating principles, then Skillshare is a great platform to get started.

To access the full catalog of Skillshare classes, you’ll need a premium membership to the site; pay about $167.88 annually or $32 a month for access to more than 300 interior design courses and 27,000 courses across a range of subjects.

Best Course with Certificate: New York School of Interior Design

New York School of Interior Design

New York School of Interior Design

Why We Chose It: This accredited program offers certificate and degree options, but all courses are available in an accessible online format with flexible schedules.

Pros
  • Offers advanced education options

  • Attend on a part or full-time basis

  • Take an introductory course to build a portfolio

Cons
  • Cost is per credit hour and adds up quickly

You can earn a certificate or degree from an accredited online interior design course with the help of the New York School of Interior Design (also known as NYSID). This long-standing educational institute is best known for its Big Apple campuses but also offers distance-learning interior design courses. Students can choose to enroll on a part-time or full-time schedule. Applications are taken on a rolling basis throughout the year. 

An accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, NYSID offers the following online interior design courses: Introduction to Interior Design, Basic Interior Design Certificate Program, Associate in Applied Science in Interior Design, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design, and Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design. If you’re interested in pursuing an Associates's degree or higher, you’ll need a portfolio to apply. If you don’t have a portfolio yet, the school recommends enrolling in the Basic Interior Design Certificate Program. The program culminates in a certificate but also offers a path towards building a portfolio you can use to apply to more advanced degree programs. 

NYSID has an undergraduate tuition rate of about $1,095 per credit hour. The Basic Interior Design Certificate Program is 24 credits. While you’ll be investing a hefty sum for these online interior design classes, it’s a popular option for students who want a solid educational foundation for a career in the field. Unlike degree programs from many traditional institutions, NYSID offers part-time and full-time classes that work around your schedule.

Final Verdict

Online interior design courses run the gamut from casual learning to more structured programs leading to a certification or degree. Choose the course that matches your goals and fits your budget. The Interior Design Institute is a popular choice since it offers a comprehensive program that can put you on a path towards a design career or be useful for designing and decorating your perfect home. While it’s a more expensive option than some other interior design courses, it offers enough structure and engagement to make sure that students get the maximum benefit from the online learning experience. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do You Learn in Online Interior Design Courses? 

The courses may vary in focus or scope, but you can expect to learn the fundamentals of interior design from most courses available online. Subjects frequently included cover: 

  • Color theory
  • Space planning
  • Business administration
  • Sketching by hand or using design tools
  • Styles of interior design
  • Aspects of decorating

Some interior design courses are more focused on applying the knowledge to personal projects or in residential applications. More robust interior design courses that are career-oriented will likely include additional subject matter on commercial interior design, drafting client agreements, or vendor management. 

How Much Do Online Interior Design Courses Cost?

The cost of online interior design courses varies considerably. Free or low-cost options exist for learning the basics on a budget. However, more in-depth interior design courses with a curriculum, projects, and instructor feedback are typically priced between $800 and $1,000. If you opt to pursue a degree in interior design, you can expect to spend at least several thousand dollars each semester on credit hours to complete your degree program. 

Are Online Interior Design Courses Worth It? 

Depending on your objective, an interior design course can be a great platform for learning more about design and decorating. The advantage of signing up for a course is the opportunity to systematically learn the basic principles of design. Whether your goal is to become more proficient in decorating your own space or to explore a career in interior design, these online learning programs have been useful to many students. 

In addition, many interior design courses offer a tutor or mentor who is an active professional in the field. This ability to have feedback and assistance can be well worth the investment in your online interior design course. Plus, some courses offer additional benefits like a student group, job boards, or internship opportunities.  

What Should I Look for in an Online Interior Design Course?

Establish what you want to learn before deciding on an interior design course. Are you most interested in understanding interior design styles? Selecting furniture that is right for a room? Picking complementary colors? Or, are you looking for an interior design course that will set you up for a career in this field? 

Your answers to these and similar questions can guide you in what to look for when evaluating an interior design course. Look through the course outline or prospectus to understand what the units, lessons, or classes cover. Most online course providers make this information available on the website, but you may need to fill out a contact form to learn more. Look for a course that matches your purpose.

Many online interior design programs are also accredited by one or more organizations. These accreditations may relate to the quality of content, the online education experience, or customer satisfaction. While accreditations may be a positive indicator of a reputable course provider, it’s important to understand who the accrediting organization is and what impact that will have on your experience as a student. 

If you’re interested in making a career out of your interest in interior design, consider choosing an interior design course with a certificate or degree. A certificate or degree program is often a prerequisite to obtaining various national certifications, such as from the RIDQC or CIDQ (Council for Interior Design Qualification)

Methodology

To find the best online interior design courses, we considered a variety of criteria: cost, program duration, delivery platform, available student resources, and the option for a diploma, certificate, or degree. In addition, we took into account whether a program is accredited and, if so, by what organizations. In total, we looked at 13 online interior design courses and narrowed them down to our top picks which offer a curriculum with the basic elements of design and decorating and an online learning platform that is accessible and flexible.

Continue to 5 of 6 below.