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Let a short course improve your eye for interior design

Work produced during an Interior Design short course
  • Written byYusuf Tamanna
  • Published date14 May 2021
Work produced during an Interior Design short course

“To be completely honest, the short course was a gift from my boyfriend who asked me what I would do for work if I could choose whatever I want. I said it would certainly have something to do with interior design,” Triinu Oll tells me.

Having worked for a private equity firm for the last 13 years, Triinu says that despite her long-standing corporate career, she’s always considered herself a creative person. Admitting that she is a perfectionist, Triinu has always appreciated good design.

“Good design makes you feel better no matter what. No matter if it’s a fabulous functional product or a fascinating and well-thought-out interior design decision that simply flows. Design is everywhere and it has a lot to do with psychology too, so I noticed it surprisingly linked with many of my own personal interests.”

In 2019 Triinu renovated her current apartment as well as her own house some years before that. Both experiences showed her how much she enjoyed the makeover aspect of interior design and it made Triinu realise she needed solid and transferrable skills to be able to continue this on a much broader scale.

Photo of Triinu Oll smiling at the camera

So, when her boyfriend asked what she wanted to do as a career and she said something within the arena of interior design, he did the research and picked Introduction to Interior Design Part 1 Online Short Course based on the content and recommendations.

Like Triinu, Ditte Darko also believe in the power good interior design can have on a person’s mental well-being. Based in Denmark, Ditte is a trained psychologist and journalist but has also been dabbling in collage and illustration.

“I love the creative process and playing with colours and styles,” Ditte says. “It’s my dream to build dream homes for clients.

Ditte’s foray into interior design by way of short courses began when she completed the Interior Styling Online Short Course in the summer of 2020. But Ditte was already familiar with UAL Short Courses much before that.

A headshot image of Ditte Darko smiling at the camera

“Three years prior, I did a summer course at UAL on enhanced illustration. I loved the atmosphere at UAL and have wanted to go back ever since. The course was very useful for me, and it gave me a very good impression of the school. I live In Copenhagen, so for me it is amazing that I'm able to follow the courses online - it makes everything a lot easier!”

Impressed with her experience on the short courses, Ditte decided to continue her interior design journey by booking on to the Introduction to Interior Design Part 1 Online Short course and at the time we spoke, she was in the middle of completing the Introduction to Interior Design Part 2 Online Short Course.

But when Catarina Amaral was starting her short course, she was already working in interior design in Portugal as a real-estate promoter and designer. After years working on the management side of things, Catarina wanted to feed her creative side a bit more, which is why she decided to do the Interior Lighting Design Online Short Course with Chelsea College of Arts.

While Catarina’s focus was mostly on lighting, she shares the same theory as Triinu and Ditte that interior design on a macro level directly influences our mental state.

A photo of Catarina Amaral

“I really believe that lighting has a deep impact on our well-being, and it is really important for a designer to develop these skills in interior design as deep as possible”, Catarina explains.

When Triinu started her course, the plan was to attend it in-person at the college. But due to the pandemic, courses were all moved online. She admits being a bit hesitant about doing such a practical course online but was pleasantly surprised at just how supported she was during the online experience.

“The tutors are just something else, absolutely stunning! When it comes to online courses, a wonderful tutor is enormously important since the stress level is higher due to technical problems and other small issues that pop up in this setting. The tutors are not only professional and experienced, but they are also super supportive, inspiring and instill confidence in all their students, Triinu says.

Triinu Oll's floorplan designs for a bathroom space

An image of a moodboard of design ideas created by Triinu Oll

Both Ditte and Catarina agreed that the supportive environment mixed with the boundless experience of tutors including Debbie Blandford and Lyndall Fernie was what really made their short courses experiences so affirming.

Triinu adds: “I was very happy I ended up in a group led by Lyndall Fernie. She boosted my confidence - which I did not have in the beginning - and gave meaningful feedback. The whole process was very inspiring for me. Also, all tutors are available for questions when needed and are glad to help anytime, which makes you feel well supported throughout your project.”

For Catarina, one of her favourite discoveries learning about interior lighting was how much can be changed by very few resources – it's a realisation that’s had a long-lasting impact on her practice.

“After finishing the course, I immediately changed my approach to my lighting project,” Catarina says. “Now I have a better  understanding of the lighting techniques available to explore according to each space, I can choose all the fittings with full understanding of the technical specifications and how to apply them. I now have a good base of knowledge to develop along my electrician team and suppliers. I also keep up with  the latest developments within the lighting industry and the main brands to follow and get inspired from.”

A moodboard of different interior design ideas, colours and furniture styles created by Ditte Darko

Ditte, who is still in the process of completing Introduction to Interior Design Part 2, says she already feels more confident in her knowledge of interior design, especially as she considers the idea of changing careers.

“My short courses have given me the inspiration, support, knowledge, self-belief and willpower that is so important when you want to change your career and life. I found the teachers at UAL extremely competent - meeting them has been one of the greatest things about the courses. I don't know exactly how I'm going to use my new creative skills, because I'm still learning. But I know for sure, that I will use them a lot! My plan is to start renovating my first home - and to help clients on a freelance basis - and that is something I'm looking forward to doing!”

Changing careers was also the end-goal for Triinu, who feels after many years working in private equity, it’s time for a change.

“I now wish to pursue my creative journey on a more profound level to be able to make  my dream a day job one day. As they say - do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life. I gained a lot of confidence and inspiration during my time, so this course was more than I expected. I certainly don't want to stop here and already plan to take Introduction to Interior Design Part 2 in the future!”

A moodboard of designs for a bathroom space by Triinu Oll

A moodboard by Triinu Oll depiecting different beige and muted colour tones

A photo of Triinu Oll's design ideals for a bathroom

Based on their time on their respective courses, all three are more than happy to recommend the benefits that doing a short course can have on your confidence and bank of skills.

Catarina says while she was on the course, she felt like she was learning something important every minute and says for that aspect alone, doing a short course is worthwhile investment. She also credits the innovative content and easy-going nature of the course itself, which helped keep it fresh and engaging.

As her short course was a present from her boyfriend, Triinu wholeheartedly believes a short course makes an excellent gift for anyone who is stuck in a job that doesn’t inspire them or someone who needs a creative outlet.

“A short course will help give that extra kick that helps a person rediscover their true talent and realise they are capable of so much more. It is the best school to get you started - a great variety of courses so there's something for everyone; vast experience in the field, and super tutors that have your back every step of the way. I couldn't have had a more positive experience.”

There are tons of pathways to a career in interior design. Our article How to Become an Interior Designer lays these all out for you. With expert advice and tips from designers working in the industry alongside some of our very own interior design tutors, we can help you find the perfect route for you.

Like Triinu said, our short courses offer something for everyone. Have a look at our full list of short courses on our website and find out where your short course journey will take you.

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