One of the best ways to learn about design is to discover your own taste by exploring what is out there. What are the top designers doing? What have other “at home” domestic gods and goddesses done to make their own home look fabulous. Luckily, in the past few years a growing resource of online sources has become available to build your skills and knowledge.

Discover what appeals to you on your socials

A great way to start out, explore your interests and see what leading designers are doing is to check out your social media channels! Instagram and Pinterest are core social media channels for design aficionados as they are set up to share visual images easily, and then link to their website.

On each of these socials, you can search for exact subjects you find appealing and then follow them down the rabbit hole…. Follow the designers you love and create some great Pinterest boards for inspiration!

Explore the wide world of apps

This is an emerging genre but definitely a growing one. There are lots of free apps online that you can use as an interior designer – a whole separate subject! – but there are also free, fun games where you can build your skills.

The Redecor app is a personal favourite – this app is easy to use, lets you meet short client briefs by choosing colours, fabrics and materials for a room and then submitting them to be voted on by your online designing peers! This is a great way to learn how to make the most of the options you have and also to compare your own taste to those of most people – key interior design skills for real life!

Follow those in the know

One of the best ways to really grow as a designer is to learn from the best. It can also just be a whole lot of fun to see what products, finishes and fixtures are out there that you might not have seen. If you are not sure which designers appeal to you, or would like to see a curated list of what is new, interesting and just plain fabulous, websites are the way to go.

Other than Love Your Home South Coast (!) you should definitely browse Remodelista, Apartment Therapy, Design Milk, Design Sponge and The Inspired Room. Each of these sites is very popular and with good reason. Once you have a sense of your own personal style or are working on a specific project for a client, you can then focus on designers who do that well – this could be as varied as industrial chic, French farmhouse or classic arts and crafts. If you are interested in vintage or great DIY you should check out some of our perennial faves – Fat Shack Vintage, Jo Galbraith at Home and Mad About the House.

Listen and learn while you are driving or doing other boring jobs

While design is a very visual interest, there are simply not enough hours in the day for most of us to do the things we love. So it makes sense* to (safely) multi task by listening to great designers and storytellers explore and debate the latest trends, discuss their own bio or talk about their own approach. Look no further than the hugely popular world of podcasts.

There is a podcast for every interest these days, and while interior design was not the first subject to be popular with podcasts, it is certainly making a splash right now. We love to listen to Sophie Robinson and Kate Watson-Smyth on The Great Indoors, which is highly entertaining as well as useful – and Kate is the creator of Mad About the House! Other great podcasts include the Design Files Talks, the Daily Home Edit and All About Interiors.

If you are interested in the business of being a designer, we also recommend Design Life and Sideshow Sally, a business savvy local from the Kangaroo Valley. Importantly, while all of these podcasts are free, you can give back by subscribing, following relevant socials and contributing through something like Patreon if that is an option.

Borrow books, magazines and online journals for free online

Okay, so this last one is a mixed bag. You can go to your local public library for free – no surprises there – which may or may not have a lot of design books and magazines. If you live in a regional or rural area, there may not be much unless lots of people are into design. It is great to buy books and to support authors, especially local ones. But it is also good to be able to refer to a broad range of design materials from all over the world at home.

What you may not realise is that most libraries have leaned heavily into electronic resources, particularly during COVID-19. That means you may have free access to platforms like Borrow Box, Indy Reads and RB Digital – all of which we can access at our library here. Contact your local library – most have now reopened – and get started today.