How To Learn Interior Design Yourself: Top Resources And Tips

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How To Learn Interior Design Yourself: Ever gazed at a magazine’s glossy pages and wondered, “How can I make my space look like that?” Well, the good news is, you don’t need to spend years in design school to master the art of interior design. With the rise of online resources and DIY culture, how to learn interior design yourself has become a journey more accessible than ever. According to a recent survey, 65% of homeowners have taken up DIY home projects, with interior design topping the list. Ready to transform your space? Dive in to discover top resources and tips to kickstart your design journey.

What is Interior Design?

Ever walked into a room and felt an instant sense of calm or perhaps invigoration? That’s the magic of interior design. At its core, interior design is the art and science of enhancing the interior of a space to achieve a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing environment for its inhabitants. It’s not just about picking out pretty wallpapers or fancy furniture; it’s about creating spaces that improve our well-being and lifestyle.

Now, you might be thinking, “Isn’t that just interior decorating?” Ah, a common misconception! While both deal with aesthetics, interior decorating is about adorning a space with beautiful things. In contrast, interior design delves deeper. It considers functionality, safety, and the overall feel of a space. So, while a decorator might ask, “Does this vase look good here?”, a designer would ponder, “Does this vase serve a purpose here?”

The impact of good design is profound. Studies have shown that well-designed spaces can boost mood, productivity, and even health. Imagine a room that makes you feel more creative or a bedroom that genuinely helps you sleep better. That’s the power of design.

Key Principles of Interior Design

Diving into the world of interior design, one quickly realizes it’s not just about intuition; there are guiding principles that designers swear by. Let’s break them down:

Principle Description
Balance – Symmetrical: Mirrored elements around a central point Asymmetrical: Balanced without being identical- Radial: Arranged around a central core
Rhythm Creating patterns of repetition and contrast to guide the viewer’s eye around the room
Emphasis Creating a focal point to draw attention, like a fireplace, artwork, or a significant piece of furniture
Scale and Proportion Ensuring harmony in object sizes and proportions

Balance in design is all about ensuring that one part of a space doesn’t “outweigh” another. This can be achieved in three ways:

  • Think of a room where everything is mirrored on either side of a central point.
  • This is a bit more relaxed, where different objects balance each other out without being identical.
  • Imagine a round dining table; everything is arranged around a central core.

Just like in music, rhythm in design is about creating patterns of repetition and contrast to guide the viewer’s eye around the room. It’s the beat your design dances to.

Every room needs a focal point. It’s the “Hey, look at me!” element. It could be a grand fireplace, a piece of art, or even a bed in a bedroom.

Ever seen a tiny lamp on a massive table? That’s a scale gone wrong. Ensuring harmony between objects is crucial. It’s like ensuring your socks match your outfit.

Color wheel

Colors aren’t just pretty; they evoke emotions. Understanding the color wheel and the feelings associated with colors can be a game-changer. Red for energy, blue for calm, yellow for happiness – each color has its story.

For those eager to dive deeper into the intricacies of design, you might want to Learn How to Design Floor Plans. And if you’re pondering a career shift or simply want to be the best DIY designer on the block, here’s a comprehensive guide on How to Become an Interior Designer: Everything You Need to Know.

Learning Interior Design Basics Balancing Act

Online Platforms and Courses

In today’s digital age, the world is literally at our fingertips. Want to know how to learn interior design yourself? Look no further than online platforms.

Platform Course Options Description
Udemy – Interior Design Basics Home Decor Fundamentals Self-paced courses covering fundamental concepts
Coursera – Interior Design for Beginners- Advanced Interior Design Comprehensive courses for both beginners and experts
Skillshare – Design Your Dream Home- Color Theory Masterclass A diverse range of courses catering to different tastes

The benefits of online learning for interior design are numerous. Flexible schedules, a plethora of resources, and the ability to learn from global experts without leaving your couch – sounds like a dream, right?

Platforms like Udemy and Coursera have revolutionized self-paced learning. They offer a range of courses, from beginner to advanced, tailored to fit every aspiring designer’s needs. For those just dipping their toes, “Interior Design Basics” or “Home Decor Fundamentals” are great places to start.

Online Learning Courses In Focus

Books and Magazines

While the digital realm offers a wealth of knowledge, there’s something timeless about flipping through the pages of a book or magazine. For budding interior designers, reading is not just a pastime; it’s a treasure trove of inspiration and knowledge.

There are countless books on the subject, but if we were to play favorites, “The Interior Design Handbook” and “Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave” top the list. Magazines like “Architectural Digest” and “Elle Decor” provide a monthly dose of the latest trends, insights, and jaw-dropping designs from around the world.

How To Learn Interior Design Yourself Through Practical Experience

Theory is great, but interior design is a hands-on field. The real learning begins when you roll up your sleeves and dive into a project. Start small – redesign that drab corner of your living room or give your bedroom a fresh coat of paint.

How To Learn Interior Design Yourself

Offering free services to friends and family can be a game-changer. Not only do you gain invaluable experience, but you also build a portfolio. Remember, every designer, no matter how renowned, started with their first project.

Documenting your journey is crucial. Take before and after photos, jot down challenges faced, solutions devised, and feedback received. Reflecting on each project ensures continuous learning and growth.

For those tech-savvy designers, incorporating digital tools can elevate your designs. Check out these Best Free Home Design Apps to bring your visions to life. And if you ever doubt your self-taught journey, here’s a little reassurance: Can I Learn Interior Design By Myself?. Spoiler alert: Yes, you absolutely can!

Networking and Joining Design Communities

In the world of interior design, it’s not just about what you know, but also who you know. Networking is the secret sauce that can propel your design journey from amateur to professional. Think of it as the LinkedIn of the design world but with more swatches and mood boards.

Joining top interior design communities and forums can be a game-changer. Sites like Houzz and Decorist offer platforms for budding designers to showcase their work, get feedback, and connect with industry professionals. And if you’re looking to rub shoulders with the crème de la crème, attending workshops, webinars, and seminars is a must. Not only do you gain knowledge, but you also build connections that can lead to potential collaborations or job opportunities.

Staying Updated with Trends

Interior design is like fashion; it’s ever-evolving. One day, avocado green kitchens are all the rage, and the next, they’re a design faux pas. To how to learn interior design yourself, one must stay updated with the latest trends.

Blogs and YouTube channels are fantastic resources. They offer a mix of visual inspiration and expert insights. And for those who are serious about their design game, subscribing to magazines like “Architectural Digest” or “Dwell” can provide a monthly dose of design goodness.

In today’s world, there’s a growing emphasis on sustainable and eco-friendly designs. It’s not just about aesthetics but also about creating spaces that are kind to our planet. Think bamboo flooring, recycled glass countertops, and energy-efficient lighting.

Building a Portfolio

If interior design is the art, then your portfolio is the gallery. It’s a curated collection of your best work, showcasing your skills, versatility, and unique design perspective. Whether you’re applying for a job or pitching to a client, an impressive portfolio can make all the difference.

Here are some pro tips:

  • Quality over quantity: It’s better to have ten stunning designs than fifty mediocre ones.
  • Diverse projects: Showcase a mix of residential, commercial, and experimental designs.
  • Before and after photos: They highlight your transformative touch.

For those looking for more design inspiration, here’s a treasure trove of Home Decor and Interior Design Ideas. And if you’re keen on diving deeper into the foundational concepts, this Masterclass on Interior Design Basics is a must-watch.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the basics of interior design?

The interior design revolves around several key principles:

  • Balance: Distributing visual weight in a room.
  • Contrast: Using opposing elements like colors or shapes.
  • Rhythm: Creating visual patterns through repetition.

 Can I learn interior design online?

Absolutely! Many reputable institutions offer online courses. Websites like Coursera, Udemy, and Skillshare have courses tailored for those wondering how to learn interior design themselves.

How long does it take to learn interior design?

While formal education can take years, self-learners can grasp the basics in a few months. However, like any skill, practice makes perfect.

Do I need any specific tools or software?

While not mandatory, tools like SketchUp or Adobe Illustrator can be beneficial. Many designers also use mood boards and physical samples.

How do I keep up with design trends?

Stay updated by:

  • Following design blogs and magazines.
  • Joining online design communities.
  • Attending design webinars or workshops.

Can I start a career in interior design after self-learning?

Yes, though having a portfolio is crucial. Many self-taught designers start by offering free services to friends or taking up small freelance projects.

What’s the difference between interior design and interior decorating?

Interior design focuses on functional design and spatial solutions while decorating revolves around aesthetics, like choosing colors, fabrics, and furnishings.


Embarking on the journey of how to learn interior design yourself is not just about beautifying spaces; it’s about creating environments that resonate with emotions and functionality. With the plethora of resources available today, anyone with passion and dedication can master the art. Ready to redefine your space? Start today, and remember, every design, no matter how small, adds to the canvas of your learning.

Thank you for reading!