Best Online Courses this Autumn

From interior design to antiques collecting, Jenny Oldaker picks key online courses to enrol on now

Inchbald mood board

Interior Design Courses

Inchbald Online Design Your Living Space

You’d be hard pressed to find a course that’s as practical in improving your home life as this one. Focusing on the skills and techniques of interior decoration, it takes students through the process of designing a specific space, introducing the principles of interior design and decoration along the way. ‘It’s a fantastic opportunity to see your own home as a fresh challenge, and it is satisfying to know that the ideas you explore and the decisions you ultimately make can lead to a tangible difference in your quality of life,’ says Alan Hughes, principal of the interior design faculty at Inchbald. ‘The pandemic has created a renewed focus on the home and the adaptations needed to create a more harmonious balance between home and work life. Never has there been such a concentration on the efficiency of a space, as well as its look and feel, and achieving a pleasing balance between the two is something that this course can help you to do.’

Taught by professional working designers, the course includes considerations such as lighting, materials, furniture and fabric choices, creative use of colour and texture. It all adds up to a valuable experience that teaches general design principles, while encouraging students to test them out at home. Not only is this a great course for anyone seeking to improve their own living space, it is also a perfect introduction to interior design as a starting point to further study.

PRICE: £1,260 (12-week course)

Rita Konig’s Ultimate Guide to Interior Design

Whether you want to overhaul your own home, you’re interested in becoming an interior designer, or simply want to glean some expert knowledge in decoration, this course is a great
starting point. Taught by celebrated interior designer Rita Konig, it offers an exclusive insight into the approach, techniques and processes involved in creating a successful interior project. The course is filmed across two of Rita’s own projects, forming a basis for the learning, which takes place over 36 video lessons to be digested at your own pace. The lessons aim to inspire and build confidence in budding designers, and they cover plenty of ground: ‘Decorating really isn’t just soft upholstery and wallpaper,’ Rita asserts.

‘It is so much about furniture, accessories and that kind of thing, too.’ As such, this wide-ranging course also takes in every aspect of fitting out a space, right down to the purchase of antiques for your home. Indeed, the shopping element has been a favourite part of the course for many students. From finding your own style to working with budgets and planning a room layout, this is an accessible, interesting exploration of interior design, with a wide appeal and a diverse student base: ‘I’m very excited about the number of different people who have used the course and found it useful,’ says Rita. If you want to join their ranks and feel empowered to style your own space, this Create Academy course could be just what you’re looking for.

PRICE: £127 

Choosing a colour palette on Rita Konig's interior design course
Rita Konig’s interior design course gives you exclusive insight into the approach, techniques and processes involved in creating a successful interior scheme.
Create Academy

Antiques Course

Collecting Antiques / Antiques for Interior Design

If you want to up your antiques game, enrol on an illuminating online antiques course via Learning with Experts, where you’ll get one-on-one contact with Marc Allum. Firstly, Collecting Antiques is aimed at teaching would-be investors to buy wisely, giving students insights into buying art and antiques for investment. It also reveals Marc’s philosophy around investing in antiques, gives practical tips and aims to help bolster confidence in dealing with the antiques marketplace.

The Antiques for Interior Design course, meanwhile, sets out to expand students’ horizons by giving a wide-ranging view of designing and decorating with originality. It covers a host of topics, including practical advice on how and where to buy pieces, and best ways to enjoy living with antiques and collectables. One particularly interesting element concerns art and design in historic interiors, and how to reinterpret these for domestic use. ‘I’m a strong believer in spreading your net, gaining an eclectic knowledge and insight into antiques and interiors, and applying them in a way that pleases you. It’s a big world out there with a big choice – don’t be scared to explore it!’ says Marc.

PRICE: £80 & £55 (peer options for £35)

Antiques Roadshow expert Marc Allum
Up your antiques knowledge via one-on-one contact with Antiques Roadshow specialist Marc Allum.
Learning with Experts

Art History & Appreciation Courses

The Art Appreciation Course at The Art Institute

An innate love of art can be intensified even further with a little background knowledge, and this course – curated by renowned art
and antiques consultant Hilary Kay – is the perfect way to gain a better understanding of western art, from prehistoric rock painting to the contemporary art scene.

The comprehensive course is made up of 12 modules, each written by a specialist in their field. It covers the major art movements and aims to help students think critically and become more art savvy, whether it’s as a means to better enjoy the subject as a hobby, to complement previous qualifications, or as preparation for further study. The broad subject matter and supportive ethos mean the course is well placed to appeal to a broad audience with differing levels of art knowledge. ‘For some students, this course will be a brilliant overview to add to previously gained qualifications,’ explains Josephine van Damme of The Art Institute. ‘For others, it will be those first steps into the world of art to acquire the skills and knowledge to explore this exciting new world further.’

Because it’s online, the learning can be done at home and there’s no pressure to meet deadlines. ‘Students love this flexibility,’ says Josephine. ‘Of course, in the last year, it has also offered students an escape.’ If you’d love to take a journey through the vast world of art history, this comprehensive, expert-taught course is a fantastic place to begin your adventure.

PRICE: £699

Antiques Roadshow expert Hilary Kay
Renowned art and antiques consultant Hilary Kay has curated this art appreciation course at The Art Institute. Credit: Michael Dunning

Autumn School Courses at The Courtauld

With an international reputation for the study of art history, The Courtauld has an excellent pedigree, and its Short Courses department offers accessible, intensive options for delving into the subject matter. September sees the rollout of the centre’s Autumn School courses, with three to choose from: Making Sense of the Arts of Islam, Making Sense of Twentieth-Century Art, and Making Sense of Key Concepts of Western Art: ‘Nature’, ‘Life’ and Lifelikeness.

‘Our Autumn School courses are designed for art enthusiasts who lack formal art-historical training and feel they would benefit from a solid foundation in the key concepts, terminologies and concerns of western and Islamic arts,’ explains Dr Anne Puetz, head of short courses at The Courtauld. These expert-led courses offer live seminars over five days, plus a range of pre-recorded lectures, while various materials are available on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). ‘Our courses are distinguished by their ambitious content and by the academic excellence of their lecturers – all recruited from Courtauld staff, alumni and associates,’ says Anne.

PRICE: £195

Painting of Grey Horse
Philips Wouwerman, The Grey Horse, c. 1646, The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
The Courtauld