Online Class: How to Decorate a Room

This creative and insightful course is filled with ideas and step-by-step procedures that will help you decorate beautiful, stylish, and themed rooms in your home.

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Course Description

Unveiling Your Inner Decorator: Crafting Spaces that Resonate and Inspire

Embark on a transformative journey from novice to connoisseur with our meticulously curated course, "How to Decorate a Room". It's not just about placing furniture or painting walls; it's about weaving your essence into a space, making it uniquely yours. From elemental principles to niche design hacks, this course is a tapestry of time-tested methodologies and innovative concepts, all geared towards helping you create spaces that echo your soul.

Course Highlights:

  • Foundational Flourishes: Dive deep into the basics of design. Demystify color theory, harness the magic of different lighting moods, and master the art of floor planning with our hands-on, intuitive approach.

  • Styling Spectrum: Explore a pantheon of design styles, from the timeless allure of Victorian Romance and the tranquil vibes of Relaxed Pastoral, to the breezy notes of Beachside Chic and the opulent allure of Sophisticated Glamour. Understand the ethos, historical nuances, and defining elements of each style.

  • Practical Panache: Whether you're crafting a haven on a shoestring budget or navigating the challenges of an unconventional room layout, we've got actionable tips and tricks to ensure your decor dreams don't get compromised.

  • Decorating Deep Dives: Engage with specialized modules that tackle specific design challenges – be it infusing life into a space with greenery, evading an overly formal ambience, or weaving a sensory experience that tantalizes every sense – sight, sound, touch, smell, and even taste.

  • Personalization Paradigm: While we provide you the tools and templates, we champion your individuality. Our course empowers you with the know-how and then encourages you to remix, re-imagine, and reinvent to suit your unique narrative.

  • Elevate and Inspire: This course isn't just about learning; it's about sparking creativity. Post-course, you won't just be equipped to transform rooms, you'll be invigorated, seeing potential in every corner, every nook of your home.

Perfect for budding decorators seeking direction, or seasoned enthusiasts yearning for a fresh perspective, "How to Decorate a Room" is more than a course; it's a movement. One that celebrates design not as mere aesthetics, but as a medium of self-expression. Enroll today, and let's paint your decor dreams into reality!

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Course Motivation

For some people, decorating is intimidating: choosing the right color, furniture, and accents from a plethora of choices to achieve a desired look can be overwhelming. However by working through the fundamental elements of a decorating project with a particular theme in mind, any room can be styled into an aesthetically pleasing space.


Inspiration comes from the world around us. Look for photos, objects, textures, paint samples, and pieces of fabric that you love. Save images in a digital or physical folder, whatever works best for you.

Once you've amassed a decent sized collection, find similarities and underlying style elements to determine a personal style.

Here's a "cheat sheet" to help articulate element choices:

  • Color palettes: bold, rich tones; bright shocking colors; neutrals; warm or cool tones; stripes; patterns

  • Furniture lines: sleek and simple; rounded and commanding; intricate detailing

  • Overall room wow factors: surprising elements; one large impressive focal point

  • Textures: coarse; smooth; shiny; soft

  • Lighting: bright; candlelit; colored lights

  • Miscellaneous descriptions: delicate; organized clutter; masculine; a particular decade; cozy; durable; whimsical; plush; preppy

Are you drawn toward nautical elements or lots of lace and intricate details? Do you choose images with sparse rooms? Assign names to what you steer towards, like "beach vacation," "delicate romance," and "clean-cut modern." Don't worry if you end up with a long list, you can always combine styles in a room, for example... a romantic modern bedroom with a beach feel.

A final option, especially in a home filled with people of varying styles, is to decorate each room in a particular style, but include an underlying theme to retain cohesiveness within the home. For example, you are drawn to a sparse, modern style with a neutral color palette, but your spouse likes a traditional style with rich colors. Decorate your individual spaces primarily in your styles, but use elements of the other's style. In your modern home office, include a traditional hutch for file storage, painted in a muted red.

You can also agree on a third style then infuse those elements throughout the rooms, for example adding retro style touches in your traditionally styled living room and modern styled kitchen. We'll discuss elements of various styles in Lessons 3-14, so you'll know what to look for to achieve numerous styles.

*CONFIDENCE CHECK: Still afraid you're creating a decorating nightmare? Don't worry, this course is designed to build your confidence in choosing complementary decorating elements. You'll encounter sections entitled "Surprising Fit" where we'll discuss how seemingly opposite styles work well together. Additionally, within each lesson where a particular style is discussed you'll learn techniques for working with various design elements.


No matter how beautifully decorated a room is, it fails its purpose if it lacks functionality. Functionality comes from the furniture type and arrangement, lighting, and even colors.

Approaching functionality with a checklist helps ensure all bases are covered:

1) Define what the room will be used for: entertaining, sleeping/relaxing, entryway, etc.

2) Analyze what has been working, what doesn't work, and what needs fixing.These items will be the highlighted functionality points. A decorating project won't be complete without addressing these issues. For example, the current couch is too small for the whole family to lounge on, storage is sparse in a perpetually messy office, or the speakers need adjustment to listen to music in both the kitchen and dining room.

3) For some rooms, deciding on a color scheme in consideration with functionality will help achieve a certain mood. Color psychology reveals colors play a role in elevating particular moods. Corals and vibrant oranges are energizing, buttercup yellow is cheerful, while grays and taupes can be calming. Decide on the desired moods for each room and choose colors accordingly.

Once these three items are decided upon, it's time to get to work arranging furniture and choosing lighting.

*DECORATING TIP If you really love a certain color, consider adjusting the tone to be more aligned with the mood you'd like to achieve. A bright red bedroom might be too energizing for some people to sleep soundly, but a deeper red might be just the right shade to encourage sweet dreams.


Addressing the flow of a room requires the correct size and placement of furniture. There are two ways to determine how the flow will work with the furniture arrangement: move everything around, or, the easier option, make a diagram.

1) Grab some graph paper, a ruler, pencil, and measuring tape. Measure the room.

2) Determine the scale conversion, then draw out the overhead dimensions of the room on the graph paper, as if you were peering into the room from the ceiling. An easy conversion for smaller rooms is 1 inch equals 1 foot, for larger rooms utilizing the graph's paper blocks keep everything on one page, for example 2 squares equals 1 foot. Regardless of the chosen scale, be sure to apply the same scale to the furniture, windows, and doorways.

3) Annotate the location and dimensions of doorways and windows within the graphed room to include the arc of swinging doors. Also note the window height from the floor.

4) Next, measure all the furniture you plan on keeping in the room. Feel free to consider pieces from other rooms that might fit better in the room-in-progress. Draw out dimensions on a piece of graph paper, then carefully cut them out. Remember, only draw overhead viewings of each piece. Keep in mind expansive space, that is the space that furniture "grows" into: recliners, opened desk drawers, and pulled out chairs around a table.

5) Lay the furniture pieces on the graphed room and feel free to rearrange. Keep in mind walking paths through the room, seating for optimal conversation, and the previously mentioned expansive space. This step helps determine how big of a couch can be purchased, the optimal sized rug, or discover an old dining room table will work perfectly as an oversized office desk.

The same method of graphing can be utilized to envision furniture around larger windows or a unique architectural focal point. Simply include the height measurements of every item, and depict the graphed image from a side view. It should resemble the view from standing in front of the wall in question.

Drawing out a floor plan will save time and energy in physically moving heavy items. With the ease of moving paper pieces you might even discover a new furniture arrangement, stay open to possibilities!

*DECORATING TIP Many people swear by the ancient Chinese practice of Feng Shui. The concept requires arranging furniture and objects to manipulate positive and negative energies (Chi) within a house. From a practicality stand point, the idea of Chi flow goes hand in hand with the movement of bodies, or how an individual will navigate through and within rooms.


Lighting within a room is important for both functionality and setting a mood. Bright lights in a kitchen are practical while softer lights in a bedroom are ideal, and the option to adjust lights in a family room helps boost the room's functionality. Light comes from four main sources: overhead electric and wall sconces, lamps, candles, and windows. Each of these sources can be manipulated to a certain extent to take advantage of its lighting capacity and make up for shortfalls in weaker sources.

  - Overhead electric lights and wall sconces are built-in to a home's wiring system. They can be embedded into the ceiling, drop down like a chandelier, or be attached to a ceiling fan. The light can be adjusted through lightbulbs (softer or brighter, even colored), shades (in drop down wiring), and by installing dimmer switches.

    - Lamps offer flexibility in choosing a room's light concentration. Specialized task lamps or strips are perfect for reading nooks or underneath kitchen cabinets. Switching out lamp shades and bulbs adjusts the brightness of the lamp's light as well as plays a role in the overall decorating style. The only limits with lamps are the number of surfaces to place them upon, and plugs to energize them.

  - Candles provide a great ambiance solution for a room with bright light. A collection of votives as a centerpiece and scattered around a room create a soft light perfect for entertaining. Keep in mind fire safety when lighting lots of candles and be sure to place lit candles on sturdy surfaces away from flammable objects and fabrics.

  - Windows are natural light distributors. Curtains and blinds serve to decorate and decrease the amount of light and/or view into a room. When decorating a room note what direction the windows face and if any trees or bushes block the natural light. From there, it's easy to decide if heavier curtains are a must to block morning light in a bedroom, or sheer drapes and an extra lamp will boost an office's functionality. Other     considerations include opaque coverings in bathrooms (they don't actually manipulate the light but do boost privacy), the ability to block sun glare on TV and computer screens, and maximizing natural light to help decrease the electric bill.

Utilize all four sources of light for the utmost decorating advantage. If a budget restricts big changes like installing a new overhead light or window, make easier changes to the other sources like new lightbulbs or lighter curtains.

Light itself might not seem like a large component in decorating as attention usually goes towards an actual lamp or curtain fabric, however utilizing light properly will boost the room's functionality and ambiance. In the end, it showcases the room's overall style.


After understanding the fundamentals of designing, turning inspiration into a beautifully styled room is a matter of money and time. Money often holds people back, however there are numerous ways around budget problems, we'll discuss a few in depth in Lesson 2. For now, determine the room's set budget and work within the constraints.

1) What is the maximum budget? Write it down. Within the maximum budget, allocate funds for each portion of decorating: painting, furniture, storage, final touches, lighting, etc. Always consult the budget, but maintain flexibility within the allocations (See #4).

2) Address the functionality issues first and foremost. What, if anything, needs to be purchased or fixed? How much will it cost? In Lesson 2 we'll discuss wallet friendly solutions, consider those options in your pricing list.

3) Shop around for objects, furniture, fabrics, and everything else to achieve the room's overall style. Avoid purchasing big ticket items on first visits, merely browse and make notes. If you're still thinking about that dresser a week later, it's the one.

4) Sacrifice when applicable. Changing the look of a room doesn't necessarily mean spending a lot of money, however sometimes it's worth purchasing a sturdy, quality piece over a flimsy one. Give and take rationally. For example, in a home office, a heavy, well-made desk can take a large chunk of the budget, but will last for many years, and more importantly, become a beloved piece. Make the large purchase then scrimp on other areas such as cheaper storage boxes and painting existing shelves instead of purchasing new ones.

5) Don't feel pressured to buy everything at once. Extend a decorating project over a few weeks or months. Take care of cheaper changes right away while saving for larger purchases, or work on the inspiration and planning phases while saving designated decorating money.

Decorating on a budget doesn't have to feel restraining: simply approach the budget rationally and within limits for each area in mind. Look for money saving opportunities and don't be afraid to get dirty fixing or building something. Cutting costs may mean devoting more time to the overall project, which is another constraint some people find difficult to deal with when decorating.

It's not a race to complete any decorating project, however having an unfinished bedroom for months on end can become frustrating. Plan a project timeline by annotating each phase of the decorating project to include estimated hours. Then consult a calendar and schedule each task.


A few steps from a project timeline can resemble this:

1) Measure and arrange office floor plan. Time: 3 hours, this Saturday morning.

2) Determine color scheme and purchase paint supplies. Time: 2 hours (includes driving to store). Tuesday after work.

3) Empty room, paint walls and book shelves. Time: 8 hours, next Saturday, all day.

The more specific in your task descriptions, the better. Also, don't be afraid to break down larger tasks even further, for example spending two mornings instead of one day painting. Finally, use actual dates for better scheduling, and include "catch up" days is your schedule is prone towards fluctuating.

For go-getters, finding time to check off an item prior to its scheduled date helps moves a decorating project along. However don't rush through tasks simply to check off the boxes. Do tasks correctly, especially painting, fixing, or building projects, even if it means spending more time than estimated. Doing it correctly the first time saves the trouble of going back and spending more time correcting errors.

Finally, be realistic about the project timeline, and figure out ways to stick with it. Some ideas include planning an unveiling party for a family room or kitchen, or schedule a pampering day as a reward for completing a bedroom or home office. Looking forward to showing off your hard work or basking in relaxation can be the spur some people need to finish their decorating to-do lists. One final tip: plan to knock out the time consuming or unappealing portions of the project first, when you have the most motivation. Once the hard stuff is done, like cleaning out clutter or emptying a room for painting, you can enjoy the fun decorating portion.

  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Printable Lessons
  • Full HD Video  
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.7 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(816 votes)

Lesson 1: Introduction

In this lesson, you’ll learn the fundamentals of decorating any room and where to get started on any project. Additional lesson topics: Elements of Style; Big Design, Small Budget: Create a Glamorous Home in Nine Thrifty Steps; Creating a Simple Floor Plan; Interior Design: A True Beginners Guide to Decorating On A Budget 18 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete: Introduction Assignment
  • Complete: Assignment 1: What's My Style?
  • Assessment: Exam 1

Lesson 2: Problem Solving

This lesson expands upon the fundamentals in terms of problem solving and working around costly constraints. Additional lesson topics: Pinterest Account Creation; Room Styler 16 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 2: Color Wheels
  • Assessment: Exam 2

Lesson 3: Decorating in Greco-Roman Style

Popular attributions of Greco-Roman style include stately columns, detailed sculptures, and intricately scrolled iron work. 15 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Assessment: Exam 3

Lesson 4: Decorating in Aristocratic Romance Style

Aristocratic Romance takes its cues from the Romantic era's many expressions and explanations of love, beauty, and drama. The overall decorating scheme results in a regal, dramatic look, perfect for both entertaining guests and being alone with a selection of rich details to showcase an appreciation of artisanship. Additional lesson topics: Aristocratic Romance Style; Romantic Homes 17 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 4: Marrying Styles
  • Assessment: Exam 4

Lesson 5: Decorating in Relaxed Pastoral Style

The interesting thing about country style or Relaxed Pastoral is the various transformations of the style, such as Shaker, Urbane Cowboy, and Homey Traditional to name a few. Additional lesson topics: Country Farmhouse Decorating 15 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Assessment: Exam 5

Lesson 6: Decorating in a Tuscan Simplistic Style

Encompassing Tuscany in a decor takes familiar elements we've already discussed and alters them for a style that's a bit more refined and dramatic than a Pastoral style room, but it's not as formal as Aristocratic design. Additional lesson topics: 15 Tuscan Living Room Designs; Tuscan Decorating Style Tips and Tricks 15 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Assessment: Exam 6

Lesson 7: Decorating in a Minimalistic Japanese Style

The Japanese culture prizes discipline. Therefore, it's no coincidence that Japanese style is known for minimalism since a level of discipline is required to pull off a minimalist decor. Additional lesson topics: 2 Apartments in Modern Minimalist Japanese Style; Several Ways to Add Japanese Style to Your Interior Design 15 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Assessment: Exam 7

Lesson 8: Decorating Inspired by Safaris

Inspiration for a Safari style rests on the idea of taking a rugged trip into the unknown to explore exotic lands and animals. Additional lesson topics: Decorating With a Safari Theme: Several Wild Ideas 20 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 8: Focal Point
  • Assessment: Exam 8

Lesson 9: Decorating Inspired by Indian Spices

The Indian Spice style of decorating intends to be as colorful and interesting as the many varieties of spices used in Indian cuisine. Additional lesson topics: Indian Ethnic Home Decor; Several Spaces Inspired by India 15 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Assessment: Exam 9

Lesson 10: Decorating in Clean Modern Style

A Clean Modern style is a departure from traditional styles in a sense of more sleek, compact, furniture with abstract lines and compositions. Additional lesson topics: Minimalist Modern Living Room Designs; Clean Modern Home Design Photos 20 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 10: Functional Designing
  • Assessment: Exam 10

Lesson 11: Decorating a Beachside Chic Room

Seaside living embodies a relaxed, comfortable, and soothing atmosphere. Additional lesson topics: Beach Chic Decorating Ideas; Coastal Living Beach House Style 17 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 11: Costal Elements
  • Assessment: Exam 11

Lesson 12: Decorating an Industrial Style Room

The idea behind the design inspired by this time is to showcase an appreciation of raw materials and the energy sources used to make the process occur, putting together those elements into something spectacular. Additional lesson topics: Shelterness 15 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video
  • Assessment: Exam 12

Lesson 13: Decorating with Organic Influence

Organic style features the idea of living in harmony with nature in a comfortable, fluid setting. Additional lesson topics: Interiors with Natural and Organic Elements; Several Tell-Tale Signs that Your Home Style Is: Organic Modern 20 Total Points
  • Lesson 13 Video
  • Complete: Assignment 13: Bringing Nature Into a Room
  • Assessment: Exam 13

Lesson 14: Decorating a Sophisticated Glamour Styled Room

The key to achieving a livable approach is balancing the extensive opulent elements with organic shaped and neutral colored details. Additional lesson topics: Remodelista; Glamorous Living Rooms; Hollywood Glamour Decorating Ideas 52 Total Points
  • Lesson 14 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Course Completion Poll: Your Thoughts; Course Comments; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Complete: Assignment 14: Your Favorite Style(s)
  • Assessment: Exam 14
  • Assessment: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Describe decorating in greco-roman style.
  • Describe decorating in aristocratic romance style.
  • Describe decorating in relaxed pastoral style.
  • Describe decorating in a Tuscan simplistic style.
  • Describe decorating in a minimalistic Japanese style.
  • Describe decorating inspired by safaris.
  • Summarize decorating inspired by Indian spices.
  • Summarize decorating in clean modern style.
  • Describe decorating with organic influence.
  • Describe decorating a sophisticated glamour styled room.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
  • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: How to Decorate a Room
Course Number: 9770425
Lessons Rating: 4.7 / 5 Stars (816 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Availability: This course is online and available in all 50 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
Last Updated: January 2024
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 0.9 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: Cathleen Chouinard
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $120.00 U.S. dollars

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Student Testimonials

  • "I found this course to be well organized, simple to follow, and chock full of useful information. It was very helpful for me, and I learned a lot." -- Gagne A.
  • "This is an amazing course. I never expected to learn so much. I thought that I've heard about most decoration styles and here i found several pleasant surprises." -- Diana R.
  • "I really liked the part where styles were combined. While no one style jumped out at me on its own, the combining of styles really got me thinking about my own home and its rooms!" -- Dana H.
  • "It was very helpful and a lot of fun!!" -- Nikki G.
  • "Very organized and professional." -- Ivian A.

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