Online Class: Interior Design 101

no certificate
- OR -
with CEU Certificate*
Start Right Now!
Taking multiple courses? Save with our platinum program.

Course Description



Interior design is an exciting profession that not only requires designers to be able to think creatively, but also to problem-solve. Interior designers are responsible for creating an environment for a structure, which may include a single-family home, government office, corporate headquarters, and everything in between

In order to create an interior environment, designers need to think about the form and functionality of the space. The form refers to the look and feel. The functionality refers to how they space will be practically used. In order to effectively blend form and functionality, designers need to rely upon many resources, guidelines, and professionals.

Interior designers often tend to be interior decorators. After all, designers are often responsible for all aspects of a project, including the design, development, and finishing touches. However, interior decorators may not necessarily be interior designers; designers need to have more in-depth knowledge than decorators.

While many interior designers are also decorators, designers do not generally take on other professional roles, such as plumber, carpenter, electrician, or otherwise. Therefore, designers must work closely with many other industry professionals.

Interior designers also have the liberty to be self-employed or to work with a firm. Either way, there are some business skills and best practices that every interior designer should use in order to be successful.

This course is designed to teach you how to be an interior designer by focusing on interior design from a macro level. If you decide to pursue an interior design career after reading about everything that will be required of you if you choose to pursue a career in interior design, then you will spend years learning the minute details that are essential to creating a successful design.  

 Note: This course focuses on all aspects of interior design. While interior decorating plays a large role in interior design, it is important to remember that the two are not the same. This course will not go into great detail about interior decorating, but, rather, will provide an overview of the kind of information interior designers will need to know.

Course Requirements

Anyone interested in this field is welcome to join this course. We will provide many tips and guides that will be of help to anyone interested.  The only thing you'll need is a high school reading level.

Course Topics


Lesson 1. Introduction to Interior Design.

A.    What is interior design? 

B.    Interior designers work with professionals in many other fields.

C.    How do interior decorators and interior designers compare?

D.    Interior design specialties

Lesson 2. Evolution of Design

A.    The evolution of form and function

B.    What we can learn from cave dwellings

C.    Architects are the original interior designers

D.    The Industrial Revolution made mainstream interior design possible.

E.    The establishment of interior design schools and associations

Lesson 3. Basic Interior Design Decorating Principles.

A.    Before a project begins, it is important to be able to visualize how it will be decorated.

B.    Designers and clients need to have a shared understanding

1.     Color

2.     Texture

3.     Paint

4.     Wall coverings

5.     Upholstery

6.     Accessories

7.     Flooring

8.     Lighting 

9.     Furniture





14.Additional decorating elements

Lesson 4. Color

A.    The science of color

B.    Color wheel

C.    Primary and secondary colors

D.    Customized color palette

1.     Complementary color combinations include:

E.    Color qualities

F.    Contrasting colors

G.   Contrasting color combinations include:

H.    Color psychology

I.      Color and Feng shui

J.     Color finishes

K.    Color in design styles

Lesson 5. Major Design Styles.

A.    The importance of studying styles

B.    Major interior design styles and influences:

Lesson 6. Design Codes


A.    National and international codes

B.    State codes 

C.    Interior design certification and licensing

D.    Legislation and advocacy

Lesson 7. Standards

A.    What is a standard?

B.    Interior design standards

C.    Standards for accrediting interior designers

Lesson 8. Licensing and Certification

A.    Interior design requirements for certification

B.    Specialty Certifications

C.    Title laws regulating interior designers

Lesson 9. Areas of Specialization

A.    Corporate

B.    Government

C.    Healthcare

D.    Hospitality

E.    Residential

F.    Retail

Lesson 10. LEED Building Certification

A.    What is LEED?

B.    LEED building  certification 

Lesson 11. LEED Professional Certification

A.    What you’ll need to know

B.    Business benefits of LEED certification

C.    Types of LEED certifications

Lesson 12. Bodies of Knowledge 

A.    Professional practice

B.    Design

C.    Products and materials 

D.    Interior construction, codes, and regulations 

E.    Communication 

F.    Human environment needs 

Lesson 13. 10 Things Every Professional Interior Designer Should do to Have a Successful Business

A.    10 things you should do to stay in business as an interior designer

1.       Make it legal.

2.       Make it official.

3.       Maintain your portfolio.

4.       Market your services.

5.       Establish a niche.

6.       Stay current.

7.       Do a deep dive.

8.       Maintain constant contact.

9.       Follow-up.

10.     Stay unique.


B.    Interior design business checklist

Lesson 14. Interior Design Associations 

A.    An overview of interior design associations

Lesson 15. Resources for Interior Designers 

A.    State and local government offices

B.    Websites

C.    Magazines

D.    Consumer Magazines

E.    Trade Magazines


Course Materials

All course materials are provided in this class. There is no need to buy additional resources

Grading Policy

Each lesson will include a written assignment and/or brief quiz that will directly apply what you have learned.

Final grades will follow this outline:
- 90- 100 A
- 80- 89 B
- 70- 79 C
- below 70 will be an F
Students will successfully complete this course by mastering all learning outcomes with 70% or higher overall grade.

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define what interior design is.
  • Describe evolution of design.
  • Define basic interior design decorating principles.
  • Identify color.
  • Recognize major design styles.
  • Know design codes.
  • Define standards.
  • Know licensing and certification.
  • Identify areas of specialization.
  • Identify bodies of knowledge.
  • Know 10 things every professional interior designer should do to have a successful business.
  • Identify interior design associations.
  • Recognize resources for interior designers, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Assessment Guide

Assessment Points
An Introduction5
Lesson 1 Assignment20
Lesson 1 Exam10
Lesson 2 Exam10
Lesson 3 Exam8
Lesson 4 Exam10
Lesson 5 Assignment20
Lesson 5 Exam10
Lesson 6 Assignment20
Lesson 6 Exam10
Lesson 7 Assignment20
Lesson 7 Exam8
Lesson 8 Assignment20
Lesson 8 Exam8
Lesson 9 Assignment20
Lesson 9 Exam9
Lesson 10 Exam9
Lesson 11 Exam9
Lesson 12 Exam9
Lesson 13 Assignment20
Lesson 13 Exam10
Lesson 14 Assignment20
Lesson 14 Exam8
Lesson 15 Exam9
The Final Exam225
Total Points:527

Related Articles