The Beginner's Guide to Interior Design
3.4 (14 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
813 students enrolled

The Beginner's Guide to Interior Design

Suitable for beginners. Learn the core principles of interior design for your home or client's homes.
3.4 (14 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
813 students enrolled
Created by Nailah M
Last updated 12/2017
English [Auto]
Price: $29.99
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 1 article
  • 5 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Learn about the wonders of Interior Design
  • Come to terms with the terminology of Interior Design
  • Learn about upholstery, furniture, fabrics, colour and elevations.
  • Impress employers with knowledge of the Interior Design sector
  • Grow an understanding of individual styles
  • Learn about the differing styles and how rooms can be designed
  • Pens
  • Papers
  • Pencils- a variety
  • The internet
  • Scale Ruler
  • Floorplanner
  • CAD if applicable
  • Measuring tape

Interior Design principles for personal and business use

The history of Interior Design and Architecture

The importance of color and lighting

Fabrics, furniture, textiles and art

Walls and Floors.

Working with a clientele base.

How to draw plans and elevations.

Understanding the language of Interior Design.

This is suitable for those

With an interest in Interior Design

Those studying Interior Designer

Interior Design enthusiasts

People seeking some theory and understanding of the importance of design

Those looking to get into the business of Interior Design.

Those looking for standard knowledge on the subject of interior design.

The course is structured in order to help you with interior design. It is structured with the intention to make you feel knowledgeable, aware and intelligent. It is structured with the mindset that although interior design is vast and commonly used, not many people understand the theory, the principles and the amount of effort it requires.

There is a reason as to why interior design became a profession of its own. There is a reason why it is worth around billions and billions of pound each and every year. Think about it, you probably have visited an Ikea store, watch shows detailing people design their dream homes, often dream of your own dream home. probably spend some time in furniture stores and I am certain that you love art. All of this encompasses interior design. It would be a wasteful opportunity not to make the most of this knowledge. Not to understand interior design for yourself, so you can use it when playing with your own space no matter how small.

The job market for interior design grows everyday. Even more so, you as an individual have the opportunity to create work for yourself. If a friend needed an opinion on wallpaper or preffered art, or to gather an idea of color theory, that's where you can help.

So care to join me?

Who this course is for:
  • For newbies to the interior design field. To budding enthusiasts. To those with a keen interest in interior design and would like to refresh their terminology
Course content
Expand all 13 lectures 01:28:02
+ Introduction to Interior Design
3 lectures 15:01

Interior design is made up of three elements.

  • The conceptual development
  • The marketing and selling of services
  • The implementation of design

Interior design has only just become an official profession throughout the century. Interior design was always something an architect did. In addition, artists, sculptors and carpenters would also have influence over the design of an interior space too. In today's day and age, an interior designer can be expected to do everything from designing the exact style of the carper to determining the colour or every single piece of furniture in the house. It is quite an extensive process.

Interior design requires individuals to be multifaceted.

Feng Shui is a spiritual science and ancient art that developed over 3000 years ago in China. It is about keeping an individual's environment harmonious and peaceful. It is also about ensuring that an environment is in line with nature. Feng Shui comes from the words which mean 'wind' and 'water'. Both wind and water are harmonious, calming and essentially peaceful. They both flow and are adaptable. Essentially we cannot survive well without air and water.

It is a lot more comprehensive than merely decorating a space or a fad. It is a study of the relationship between an environment and human life and values. It is deeply rooted in a world view- that all in our environment works together to create something positive and life changing. It is an understanding that everything is in its place- plants, animals, landscapes, people all work together to create a space. They can either work together to create somewhere dark, scary or uncomfortable or work together to create something beautiful, cosy, luxurious and fun.We all go into an environment and immediately have a feeling or a vibe as soon as we enter it.

When looking at Interior design, there are many features which directly affect the beauty and comfort of space.Some key values and architectural elements that are important in a interior design environment include

  1. Space
  2. Harmony
  3. Texture
  4. Color
  5. Light
  6. Planning, perception and proportion

It does not matter how luxurious or stunning an interior space is, it must adhere to these principles above in order for it to work. We have all come across interior spaces that did not 'work'. For instance, a space may be too large which can cause an individual to feel cold and uncomfortable. They may feel like they are unsafe or as if they cannot view what is around them. Likewise, a space being too small can feel overbearing, cramped and frustrating to move around. It is the same reason, why an individual may live in a large home but retreat to a certain corner of the home day in and day out.

Light and color are extremely effective in working with space. They are able to make small spaces feel larger or smaller, more glamorous and more tranquil. Light is essential for survival. It is often nicknamed the 'animators of space'. Clever designers build and design a room according to when daylight affects and reflects off it. Color also comes into this. Certain colors reflect light a lot better than others whilst others absorb it. Some colors dampen a room whilst others illuminate it. The more reflective surfaces, the more light there will be. Color and light will be expanded upon in the light and color modules.

Preview 01:59

The history of Interior Design is interesting. That is the simple way for me to put it. It is vast, exciting and is reflective of the economies and cultures at the time. It is virtually impossible to document 'the history of interior design' without me needing hours and hours of your time. This video shows the history from a western standpoint. It encompasses everything from the Ancient Egyptian architecture to Neo-classicism style.

Preview 05:47

Modernism is what we look at here. It certainly is interesting, how so many of the ancient styles has so much detail and then modernism came to take it away. Modernism is interesting. It is a sign of a growing age, away from the clutter and more to rooms and homes that are functional. It takes away all the pretense of intricate art and replaces it with simplicity.

Post modernism is a far cry from that. It moves to more abstract, fun and playful art and spaces. It ignores color theory and seeks to create artistic spaces.

History of Interior Design Part 2
+ Colour and Lighting
2 lectures 18:11

Color has an enormous impact on us. The colors in our environment can greatly affect how we feel. Colors are everywhere and make a massive difference to how things are perceived. Color therapy has very often been used to help individuals improve how they feel within their environment especially in our offices. Interior designs and architects build color into their designs of commercial offices. They know how important color is when wanting to increase productivity and keep people happy. It's the same concept within our homes. We seek escape in our environment, we do not want to come to a home that is uncomfortable, cold and distraught.

Color can be the main reason why an interior space fails. The room may be immaculately vibrant with stunning furniture and oil paintings, yet may have cheap bright yellow paint all over the walls which makes it look horrible. Below is a room, I find horrific. The colors are too bright and it makes me feel uneasy. I would not feel comfortable sleeping there or even socializing there.

Color theory holds some weight,as evidenced. Color affects our mood and we instantly feel uplifted and we function better when in a more relaxing and calm environment. We feel saner and healthier in rooms where colors work together. Imagine being in the room below

Doesn't it feel heavenly? Bright? Exciting? Doesn't it make you feel relaxed, comfortable and very happy? Color can be found to improve our energy levels, make us feel comfortable and our mental outlook.

Every single individual color in the color wheel can me extremely effective if needed. Cool colors can make objects stand still. Warm colors can make objects appear bold.

Below is a brief summary of colors. Think about what each color would look like in a room of your choice. And what it would signify. Does blue in a bedroom mean there is boy living there or that you are in a cool country?Color is something noted in religious and cultural traditions too. For instance, some priests will only ever wear a red cloak. In some cultures, it is forbidden to wear Black to a wedding. Color can be used to represent emotion, for instance turning 'red' is a sign of anger and aggression. Turning blue is embarrassing. Here is some more notable associations with colors.

Red- a primary color: excitement, love, devotion, evil, fear, aggression, power, spirituality, wealth

Pink- a secondary color: love, femininity, angels, luxury, beauty, joy, gentleness

Ivory/beige- Calming affect, peace

White -a achromatic color: heaven, sunlight, purity, innocence, love, purity, loneliness, abstraction

Blue: ocean, sea, peace, cool, cold, compassion, masculinity, peace, spirituality,

Black - an absence of light : power ,sophistication, passion, sensuality, fear, aggression, death, mystery

Yellow- a secondary color: joy, summer, extravagance, luxury, idealism, gold, love, opulence

Orange- spirituality, joy, tasty, opulent, precious, childish

Green: nature, health, exercise, food, opulence, jewels, ornaments,

Purple- wealth, juicy, luxury, nobility, knowledge, rarity, femininity,

Grey - old age, security, reliability, neutrality, gentleness, power, comfort

Brown- earth, ecology, luxury, healing, sleep

“It seemed to me that it was possible to translate light, forms, and character using nothing but color, without recourse to values.”

“Color does not add a pleasant quality to design - it reinforces it.”

“The principal subject is the surface, which has its color, its laws over and above those of object.”

- Pierre Bonnard


There is

  • Accent lighting
  • Artificial Lighting
  • Task lighting
  • Natural lighting

Artificial lighting includes

  1. incandescent,
  2. fluorescent,
  3. halogen

Artificial light can be used for

  • general
  • task
  • accent/decorative

I bet you didn't know that? All light has a purpose. And light is probably one of the most important elements aspects of interior designer. Have a look at your room. Where is the light centered? At the very middle of the room? In the corners? What effect does it have on your room?

Does it make your room appear very bright or mellow?

Lighting helps us to answer these questions.


Looking at color and lighting

Color and lighting
4 questions
+ Fabrics and Texture
2 lectures 13:45

Fabric is often forgotten about when wanting to think about interior design. Fabric holds huge importance as it is essential in establishing almost every facet of interior design. For instance, to introduce colour to a room, a varying amount of bold fabrics could be used. Fabrics is used for everything from duvets to the chairs to curtains. Fabric is made out of fibers- natural, artificial and synthetic fibers.Fabrics are

Cotton is one of the most common types of fabric used when furnishing a home. It is used for beds, windows treatments, accessories, and upholstery. It is strong and fairly easy to wash. It can crease but it depends on the exact kind of cotton fabric.

Silk comes from the cocoons of the larvae of the silk work. SIlk is known to be a luxurious, durable and attractive fabric. It can often produce very luscious vivid colors. Silk is easy to iron and does not crease. Silk is suitable for all sorts of furniture, accessories and can be used fabric panels. Because of its soft properties, silk can be unsuitable for chair upholstery and even cushions. But it is not impossible. Silk can be used to adorn a room and could be used as bedsheets. Silk is highly sought after and highly desirable,

Linen is made from flax fibres and can be woven into fine fabric or robust heavy cloth. Linen has a crisp, rough and heavily textured feel which can add to a expensive look. It can be washed and ironed but it can crease heavily.It can be used for all sorts of furniture and curtains and blinds.

Wool, comes from a sheep's fleece. It is made into yarn and then knitted into fabric. It is soft, comfortable and luxurious. It is used widely for beds, upholstery, throws, blinds, cushions and sofas. It is not an easy material to wash but can be crease resistant. Wool can be dyed to almost any color. It can look expensive and chic.

Felt is fabric that is made from wool. It is made by boliling and pressing wool. Felt is soft and takes dye easily.

Polyester is a blend of chemicals which has been mixed with synthetic fibers. Just like the rest of the fabrics, it can be used for bedsheets, curtains and cushions. Polyester does not have the aesthetic appeal that silk will have. It is often mixed with cotton to create a more natural looking fabric.

Leather is hides or skins of various animals usually cattle. It is useful especially in regards to upholstery and is extremely durable. Leather is often of good quality, tough and can look beautiful. It does require maintenance, especially when it has no protective coating. Protective coating can sometimes make the leather feel cold and shiny. There are all sorts of protection creams and balms to help look after leather as it can be prone to scratches and stains. This is something to keep in mind when designing a home.

Rayon is a man made fabric.It can be produced to imitate most fabrics such as silk, wool, cotton or linen. It can often be the cheaper alternative. It has a high sheen and is often mixed with natural fabrics.

Acetate is made from cellulose acetate. It looks similar to silk but does not fade in the sunlight which silk does. Acetate is often added to natural fabrics to increase sheen,flexibility and lustre.

Nylon is made from petroleum. It lasts long and it is simply to wash. It can be found in carpets, upholstery, rugs and bed spreads.

Velvet is a luxurious fabric. It often has a high sheen and usually made from silk. However, synthetic fabrics such as polyester can be used to make velvet. It can also be made from cotton but does not have the lustre or feel of velvet made out of silk. Velvet, I find looks spectacular as throws, curtains, upholstery,throws and cushions. Velvet is not easy to clean and like many high sheen fabrics may benefit from being dry cleaned.

Beauty of Fabric

Texture can be divided into two sections.

Perceived texture and real texture. Texture is very important not just for aesthetic reasons but for practical reasons. It does not make sense to sleep on a cement bed(although this happened throughout history) nor does it make sense to have a floor made out of sand. Texture is about ensuring people are comfortable but also safe and that items works as they should.

Texture holds so much weight as without it, our rooms do not make sense. Texture sells interior design!

Picture this, I am selling a bedroom to you. Which description is better?

'The room is laced with silk textures, satin bedsheets, elaborate soft carpet, Egyptian cotton bedsheets with a high thread count, solid oak furniture with a rough yet sumptuous feel'


'The room is big and huge. It has plenty of colors surrounding it and the bed is soft'

Which room would you buy? And what made the difference?

Attention to texture is so important in interior design. We don't just want to know what the room looks

I have attached a different textures with the list of adjectives you could use to describe texture present in your environment.

The beauty of texture.
+ Furniture, art and accessories.
2 lectures 12:24

In this lecture, we look at upholstery and reupholstery. This is something you may do as an interior designer when wanting to construct your own furniture.

Furniture usually has very similar styles and can be broken down to the legs, feet, backs and decorative features.

Chair legs may have

  1. Cabriole legs
  2. Turned legs
  3. Tapered legs
  4. Splayed legs

The feet of furniture may be

  1. Pads
  2. Bun
  3. Claw and ball
  4. Brackets

The backs of chairs may include

  1. lyre
  2. ladder
  3. splat
  4. shield

Decorative features of furniture could include

  1. Finial
  2. Pediment
  3. Reeding
  4. Fluting
  5. Turning

Examples of chair styles include

  1. Windor
  2. Wing
  3. Side
  4. Arm
  5. Ladderback
  6. Splatback

Example of tables include

  1. Gate leg
  2. Pedestal

Examples of upholstered pieces include

  1. Tuxedo sofas
  2. Ottoman
  3. Lawson

Examples of case goods include

  1. Buffet
  2. High boy
  3. Secretary
  4. Wardrobe/armoire

Furniture and upholstery

Different kinds of art include

  • Paintings: Impressionism, realism, acrylic, pastel, spray paint
  • Photography
  • Sculpture/pottery
  • Mosaics/tiling
  • Graphic design
  • Fashion design
  • Installation
  • Mixed Media
  • Post modernist art

We all have a variation of these kinds of art in our homes. Art is something that is said to be an interest, when in actuality we all have artistic tastes. So this is evident through our homes. A lot of people may have an interest in religious art to celebrate their god, so consequently will have images of this represented in their homes. That's art! Some people may have collages of their children or family members. That's art! The strange sculpture you got from your travels as a souvenir is art! Art is deeply about personal preference among other things. It can also be about culture, history and celebrating refined culture. Art can sell for millions and millions of dollars every day, and people put said art in their homes and it gives their home a life - a sense of luxury.

Art means different things to different people. And that is perfectly fine.

Understanding types of art and where to use them in the home.
+ Perception, proportion and planning.
3 lectures 21:40

Space, space, space.

Why is it so important?

Well we have nothing without the dimensions of space. Before you can even place a table, you have to work out how needed it is in relation to the space surrounding it.

So think logically about space and how you want to develop space. Remember space can be in our minds or it can be created. We can use furniture, walls, floors, ceilings, colour and texture to alter our space and to create illusions of space.

Space has to be used appropriately. For instance, if you have a family of two, yet only one bedroom with limited space. How would you utilize the space to make the room comfortable for the two people. It would depend on the relations between the two people. Also their age. And their preferences.

These are questions,interior designers must investigate.

Rhythm, balance,emphasis and harmony

Plans are what enable us to visualize an interior space. Without a plan, it is extremely difficult to design and build our spaces. The notion of house planning is big business. People need to know exactly where and how a plan works together. They need to know how space can be constructed and how and where items can be placed.

Plans include

  • Bubble diagrams
  • Floor plans
  • Block diagrams
  • Sectional drawings
  • Elevation drawings
  • Block diagrams
Preview 06:40
+ Working with clients and understanding business
1 lecture 00:00

Working with clients is extremely challenging, but essential. A client can be anybody from your grandparent to somebody who is paying you. Once you've understood interior design and the core principles, it can be easy to market your skills to absolutely anybody.

When dealing with clients, you first want to gather an idea of what it is they're looking for.

What do they want from the room? What is that they like? What idea are they hoping to implement? Gather their needs also.Are they a busy family who could do with the spare room being a relaxation room?

Then you would want to jot all these ideas down. It may also make sense to take photos of all the rooms you are going to renovate and even jot down the measurements.

Next, you may want to go away and create a sample board. A sample board is a board you present to your client which details what exactly you want to do to the room. The ideas from a sample board can come from a variety of sources: magazines,art stores, interior design websites, fabric stores, IKEA and other furniture stores.

The fun can come in when brainstorming. You can go as wild or as timid as you so wish to. Next start to put your sample board together. You may want to paste on some images of the furniture you are hoping to use, some fabric you would use, some wallpaper or paint you'd like to implement.

Now you want to go back and make amendments. Now is the time to draw elevation and floor plans if designing a room or home. You may want to add some sectional drawings if only doing a part of the room or if you want to detail the exact look. You may also want to start putting forth a proposal plan. This is a little plan detailing what exactly will be done to every corner of the room or home. It will explain to the client, the products you will use, the colours, the furniture and fabrics used. This can be given to the client for further discussion a long with the price you want to charge. An invoice can be sent over when ready.

You may also want to create a plan for yourself that details your suppliers, prices and the individuals you may have to consult. All of this is before you even begin to design!

Now it's time to design. Having a plan will have made things much more easier. It will be important to hire all the people necessary when undertaking such a project. Do you need cleaners? Builders? Interior painters? Accountants? Or will you be doing it yourself? Bare in mind, this may have to come out of your budget or the client's.

The client profiles document can be useful when wanting to practice your skills with working with clients. It can also be extremely rewarding as you become more proficient in understanding how the layout and design of rooms directly affects the individual's needs.

Present these ideas to your client....

Have an understanding of what they think.

Preview 7 pages
Interior design overview
10 questions