I was one of those children who actually liked school, always at the top of the class in the creative subjects like Art, English and languages (closer to the bottom of the class in Maths and Science, I might add). I still love learning and thanks to 2020’s pandemic (a weird thing to say, I know) it’s now easier than ever to learn more about our favourite subject – interiors – all from the comfort of the sofa. Some courses that were previously taught in person have now moved online and others that didn’t exist have launched during lockdown, including my own online course on how to publish a lifestyle book (more on that later).
I wanted to offer a round up of some of my favourite online courses relating to interiors and creativity: how to decorate your home, whether you own or rent; how to be an interior stylist; how to publish an interiors book; and one on sparking creativity via photography. In no particular order, here are my current recommendations:
Bristol based designer and interior stylist Emily Rickard has designed her aptly named Pimp Your Rental course to help renters create a home they love without spending a fortune. This is such a great idea for a course, especially as it becomes more and more difficult for people to become homeowners, particularly in expensive cities like London where it often feels like you have to earn a banker’s salary or have a trust fund to get your foot on the property ownership ladder.
I know Emily through her styling work for clients including West Elm, Primark Home and Bloomingdale’s, but she also runs an interior design studio in Bristol and her design portfolio showcases her bold, modern bohemian style. Like me, Emily lived in the US for some time, renting three different homes in Brooklyn, so she’s well positioned to share her experience and knowledge on how to dress up a rental home without spending too much cash. My experience is that in the US people put more effort into decorating their rental homes, whereas in the UK, the focus is on saving to buy, often sacrificing an enjoyable living experience while you rent. I’ve always felt it’s possible to do both – save to buy your own home and create a rented home that brings you joy in the meantime.
Pimp Your Rental launches on December 10th for £189 but Emily is offering a limited time pre-sale price of £99, so if you’re a long term renter or perhaps renting until you can afford to buy, but you’d still like to enjoy the home you’re in, check out Emily’s instagram and take advantage of the sale price while it stands. A hundred quid for styling tips from a pro is an absolute bargain in my opinion.
HOW TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL INTERIOR STYLIST BY LUCY GOUGH
Not a week goes by without me receiving a stream of emails from aspiring stylists asking for advice on how to get into the industry. Now I just direct them all to Lucy’s course! Lucy Gough is a leading interior stylist who has styled for Living Etc magazine, Habitat, and John Lewis to name just a few. I met Lucy not long before lockdown when we were guest speakers at an event and we hit it off. As a stylist myself, I don’t often get to meet other stylists – technically we should be in competition with one another. But like me, Lucy likes to meet others in the industry and to share her knowledge and experience. Which is what led her to create this course.
How to become an interior stylist is exactly the course I would’ve loved when I was starting out – someone to show me how to build a portfolio, what different types of styling there are, creating a client-ready mood board and lots more. It’s self paced so you can work on it when your schedule allows and Lucy also offers an add-on if you want some one-to-one feedback.
Learn how to become a professional interior stylist is £249 and is comprised of a whopping 43 lessons. Lucy is also launching a new course next year ‘How to style your home like a magazine’, sharing her extensive experience working for leading interiors magazines. You can pre-order now for £149.
Interior designer and television host Sophie Robinson has not one but three courses on offer, hence the ‘design school’ heading. Sophie has been offering online courses for a couple of years, but has recently added to her collection. Currently online are three quite different courses: Colour Psychology for Interiors, Be Your Own Interior Designer, and her latest Brave, Bold & Beautiful Interiors. If you follow Sophie on instagram you’ll be familiar with her bold and eclectic style, expressed brilliantly in her gorgeous home. All of her courses are infused with her joyful use of colour and pattern and they are filled with practical steps to lead you confidently down the path to self expression at home.
Sophie is a total pro and the photography, filming and format for her courses is top notch. But her delivery style is relaxed and familiar – important for those who may be looking for some interiors coaching for their home without feeling intimidated. Sophie’s courses usually sell for between £195 to £225 depending on the course, but are currently on sale until December 1st – a huge 30% off, so take advantage while you can. If you like my book Be Bold, you’ll love Sophie’s style.
Georgia Glynn Smith is an award winning food photographer who has worked with literally everyone in the business from Nigella Lawson to Gordon Ramsey to Mary Berry. She’s photographed over 90 books – 90! – during her 25+ year career. Before getting into the world of food photography, Georgia studied design at Central St Martins and worked at Elle Decoration – she has great taste and an unwavering eye for interiors, most evident at her London location house N5 Studios.
This is a bit of an insider tip since Georgia’s courses – there will be three – aren’t launching until next year. (Full disclosure here, Georgia is a friend of mine, hence the insider knowledge). Georgia’s first course The Art of Noticing uses her wealth of experience and knowledge to help you kickstart your creativity by becoming more attuned to your surroundings. In The Art of Seeing, you’ll learn how to use your iPhone to photograph and edit all the fabulous things you notice. And in The Art of Sharing, she’ll guide you through ways to use your newly found iPhone photography skills to create a better social media profile. For more info on each course, follow the links above.
Finally I’m going to shamelessly self-promote my own online course, conjured up by me in the depths of lockdown 1. In How To Publish A Lifestyle Book I use my experience as a five times published interiors author to teach you exactly what you can do to boost your chances of publishing your own lifestyle book. Whether you dream of writing a book on interiors, food, DIY, craft, gardening or some other niche lifestyle topic, I designed this course to guide you through the process. From fine-tuning your idea to creating the actual proposal to promoting the book if you get published, I’ve tried to cover it all. I wracked my brain to remember all the details of the process and to answer the questions I had as a first time author back in 2012. Questions whose answers I had to figure out myself, often the hard way. As well as a step-by-step guide, I also interviewed six published lifestyle authors and share their varying journeys to publication. And I include advice from a senior commissioning editor at a leading publisher, so you get real, current advice from an industry insider.
So if you’ve been sitting on an idea for a book, 2021 is your time to make it happen. Publishers are once again beginning to commission new books, especially as travel begins to open up again in some areas, so get the ball rolling now and by 2022 you could be signing books for your admiring fans.
How to publish a lifestyle book is on sale for £149 (normally £199) so sign up while the offer lasts. It’s self paced and you own it forever, so buy now and work on it when the mood strikes. Also available is a companion course for only £35, How to Create a Digital Moodboard, where I teach you how to create a moodboard/presentation using Powerpoint. It’s how I create every book proposal and set design plan for my shoots and I made the course to show you that it doesn’t have to be complicated to present your ideas efficiently.
I hope this sparks an idea for you to either decorate your home, find your style, or write a book! Let me know if you take the plunge into any of these courses – happy learning! x