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Pros and Cons of Interior Design Schools Online

Don’t lose steam on your dream to become an interior designer! There’s an online course of study that works for your schedule and educational needs.

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Interior design is a popular profession (with good reason). Tens of thousands of people every year make a lasting (and beautiful) impact on the world around them — and get paid to do it. Talk about a dream job!

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Do you wish you’d gotten a Bachelor of Fine Arts in an interior design degree program? Maybe an interior design certificate from a CIDA-affiliated school? 

You’re not the only one, and you’ll be relieved to know that the traditional route of an interior design degree isn’t the only path to a successful interior design career. We repeat: The traditional route of an interior design degree is not the only path to a successful career! Online interior design programs offer students a less-conventional route to the education and business training they need, bypassing traditional four-year colleges. Even some of the most famous designers on television today have done it, and we’re here to show you how

What Are the Pros of an Online Interior Design Program?

Online interior design courses offer serious flexibility and value to learners from all walks of life and with varying experiences in the field. Here are some quick FAQ and answers about what to expect from an online interior design program.

Go Through Your Coursework at Your Own Pace

One of the biggest reasons online learning is so popular is thanks to the way it fits into our schedule. Most learners don’t have the ability to drop their full-time or part-time jobs to go back to school for a career shift. Online courses can be accessed at the time of day convenient for you, and many are self-paced with no limits to course access. 

This flexible study makes learning less stressful, more realistic for your schedule, and easier to afford. You can pay as you go and don’t have to quit that day job until you are ready to go full-time with your business. If you ask us, remote learning is the way to go when it comes to starting a new creative endeavor.

Learn the Fundamentals of Color Theory, Patterns, and More

Online students can cover all the fundamentals of interior design methodology that their on-campus counterparts do, but they can stretch each module out as long as they want, spending as much time on a topic as needed. 

In a program like BeSpoak School, you can expect to learn all of the classic areas of designing interior spaces. Some of those areas are: 

Fundamental Design-Focused Courses:

Business-Focused Courses:

  • Intro to Content Marketing
  • Invoicing, Budgeting, and Purchasing
  • Contracts, Fees, and Pricing
  • Job Bids and Proposals

Get Hands-On With Computer-Aided Design Tools

Architectural and interior design plans are made with the help of computers these days. Such technology has made the classroom art of hand drafting, though often beautifully artistic, somewhat unnecessary for space planning. 

An added benefit to the online learning process is access to design tools to create a rendering you can share immediately with a client or colleague. Some courses offer design tools that are more intuitive and less costly than AutoCAD or Photoshop. Spoak’s layout and room visualization tools are as user-friendly as an entry-level design program yet produce sharp, professional (swoon-worthy) renderings within minutes.

Design Classes Are Available for Any Skill Level

Enrollment in an online design course is for anyone who wants to learn — from the interior design hobbyist with a guest bedroom that needs a refresh to the pro looking to network and up their business game. When courses are flexible and can be taken in an order that suits your needs, you can skip right to the materials that focus on your most pressing concerns — like marketing your business or choosing appropriate textiles for that blah bedroom. 

Get Professional Practice for Real-World Design Work

An online course should also offer some training in solving real-world design skills that you might not normally experience until you’re on the job. Many designers are frustrated by the lack of hands-on training they have when they begin their design practice (with good reason). They feel a bit thrown to the wolves, unsure where to begin with their business.

BeSpoak School has various design assignments for you to practice complex layouts and design dilemmas. Considering many of your clientele may come to you via virtual consultation, this is the exact work experience you would use to meet their needs. 

Your online school may also offer courses in areas of specialization, like delving into green energy or sustainable design, for people who want to add extra skills to their resumes. 

What Are the Cons of Online Learning for Interior Design?

Sounds perfect, right? Still, you may find downsides to an online course of study, depending on your self-motivation and learning style.

Online Programs Are Mainly for Independent Learning

As dreamy as they sound, self-paced programs don’t work for everyone. Some students find they need the structure of deadlines for assignments and appreciate a more rigid time frame to accomplish their studies, or they will get distracted and quit altogether. 

You Won’t Get In-Person Teaching in Online Classes

A big benefit to attending courses on campus is the in-person learning experience. Relating to people face-to-face in collaborative learning helps certain types of learners develop their problem-solving skills. 

If you feel you need this type of interaction, you might look for a hybrid learning method that bridges the gap between online and in-person studies. An online course that offers community support, like Spoak’s Slack channel and meet-ups (both live and virtual) with other design lovers, might fit that need. 

You’ll Need To Stay Motivated To Keep Learning

Once the initial excitement of enrollment passes, you may start to lose steam. Without the pressure of looming exams and the great financial loss of failed classes, you may doubt your ability to stay motivated for a dream that reality seems far off. 

The stress of finals and a strict study agenda may keep you on track, but if you need a way to stay on target, try developing relationships with other students (maybe some who are further along than you as well as those who are not). Interpersonal relationships could increase your excitement and sense of accomplishment when shared with others. Plus, it adds an extra level of accountability that you might not otherwise have alone. 

Other techniques to stay on top of virtual studies include:

  • Eliminating or minimizing distractions
  • Taking notes by hand
  • Setting up a designated study space (a great excuse to design that new home office!)
  • Establishing a set time to study
  • Studying in intervals (also called the Pomodoro Technique)

Online Courses Are an Investment — But It’s Worth It!

Another drawback to an online course (or any course, really) is the expense. The question is — will the education and experience gained justify this expense? 

Spoak offers tiers of learning from $11.99 a month for decorating classes, design tools, and community to $99.99 for full access to all design courses and tools, community, and business tools. Consider that some online courses cost around $1000 for training with the possibility of receiving a residential design qualification. Plus, the average cost of an undergrad degree certificate program is $19,859. 

Not having financial aid or student loan debt hanging over your head when studying online is a huge draw to interior design students. You’re the only one who knows your goals and personal situation, so you’ll need to weigh the costs of online design courses with flexibility, job training, and community. 

Build Your Interior Design Skills at Home

A final PSA: An interior design career is attainable! Don’t let your personal life situation or the complexities of balancing work and study hold you back. There is an online interior design course that will keep you motivated and work for you at any stage of your interior design journey.

Photo Credit: (Left) Designer Oasis


Discover 12 Current Online Learning Trends | Online Colleges | U.S. News

Three Benefits Of Remote Learning For Every Generation | Forbes

Architecture and the Lost Art of Drawing | The New York Times

Benefits of collaborative learning | Science Direct

Online Learning: What Worked and Didn't Work | NYTimes

Schools Tuition For Interior Design Program | College Tuition Compare

Interior Designers: Occupational Outlook Handbook | BLS

How to Stay Focused While Studying for Online Classes | CCU Online

Try it for yourself: See if Spoak is the hub of education, mentorship, community, and inspiration that you need to begin your interior design career.

Date Posted
April 7, 2023



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