Brought to you by Open Colleges

Interior design resources I love

by Stephanie Barthelemy

**This post was updated in 2021**

Looking for inspiration? Information? Or just some tips to make your learning journey easier? 

We spoke to OC alumnus Stephanie Barthelemy about the interior design resources she turns to. Whether during her studies or working for a client, these are some of the resources Stephanie most frequently utilises.

Read on to discover what resources Stephanie uses to inspire, inform and assist in her design work.

What inspires you?

How to find inspiration as an Interior Designer or Decorator

Through my journey as an Interior Designer, I’ve found inspiration in resources ranging from online sources, print media and real world examples of design. 

Working as an Interior Designer means that I’m always on the lookout for new and creative resoures that can help to inspire and inform my work.

Many Designers immerse themselves in creative ideas from other sources to inspire them. All these resources are easily and readily accessible to anyone.


Pinterest is so far my favourite online resource. While this may seem like an obvious example, I use Pinterest a lot and find that it’ a fantastic resource in my day-to-day. It’s easy to like and save images that inspire me, and it also helps me stay organised.

When I find an artist, interior design company or website that I like, I simply follow them to stay up with their posts and inspirations.

The Grounds of Alexandria

Built just on the outskirts of Sydney CBD, the Grounds of Alexandria is an old industrial warehouse that has been transformed into a café and restaurant. Inside you’ll find there’s a modern blend of rustic and contemporary design which I really love.

Built on sustainable practices, the cafe incorporates recycled materials and found objects to form a truly inspiring and beautiful space.

There’s also a garden out back with delicious smelling herbs growing all year round.

I love coming here to get into the zone. While there are lots of other cafes and restaurants I like visiting in Sydney, this is my favourite.

Of course, not everyone who’s reading this will be able to travel to the Grounds. Even if you are Sydney-based, you might not like the Grounds as much as I do. But what I love about the Grounds is that it inspires me in my work and I feel both relaxed and focused while I’m here. Your own personal version of the Grounds might be your favourite local café, your local park or anywhere else you can appreciate design and feel inspired.

The Grounds of Alexandria is one of my favourite places in Sydney.


Design magazines such as Indesign, Artichoke, Design Quarterly, Green and Elle Decor are also regular buys from my local newsagent.

You can’t underestimate the value of a well-researched, in-depth design article. And these magazines are rich in information about new products and trends and are also just nice to flick through!


My favourite resource for inspiration is nature itself! I grew up in the countryside of Belgium, and so I’ve always found that natural landscapes help me to relax. I love to contemplate natural colours, shapes and life.

If you’re looking for outstanding colour schemes, look to nature! Apps such as ColorSnap on Android or Iphone allow you to capture images and then experiment with colour easily.

I particularly love designs which integrate nature. One great example of this is the Shelter by Vipp Design. Shelter is an inspirational blend of aestheticism and functionality.

Vipp is a Danish design company that specialises in designing furniture, household items and kitchens. They now also have a few hotels in Europe, and the Shelter is just one of their accommodations. The idea behind these hotels, according to their website, is “to experience our philosophy of design in places out of the ordinary.”

The perfect place to escape, Shelter serves our basic needs while at the same time bringing us back to nature.

Don’t you feel inspired already?

Shelter by Vipp. The perfect combination of sleek, modern design and nature. What a great place to recharge! 

Natural design

I admire Designers and Architects who push the limits in terms of incorporating nature and environmentally friendly practices in their design.

Through online magazines in the fields of architecture and design such as YellowtraceIgnantDesignboomDezeen magazine or Architonic, I’ve discovered innovative Designers such as Teresa van Dongen, who designed the Ambio Bacterial Lamp. This cutting-edge design contains bioluminescent micro-organisms which light up every time you give the lamp a gentle push. It’s a truly inspiring piece of design!

Other inspirational designers include Arup who has developed a building prototype which incorporates living matter (microalgae) into its design that can control light entering the building by providing shade when needed.

Another favourite is Werner Aisslinger who has created a true piece of sustainable design: plants which form to the shape of a piece of furniture!

A truly suitainable piece of design by Werner Aisslinger.

Are you feeling inspired?

Resources are everywhere and inspiration can be found anywhere! It can be just a small a detail: a room you find aesthetically pleasing at a friend’s house, or a functional piece of furniture, or even a seat you find comfortable in a cafe. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get inspired!

If you’re contemplating turning your creative talents into a viable career, then studying a VET course in interior design or decoration could help you realise your goals.

OC offers two nationally recognised VET qualifications you could consider studying: the MSF40118 Certificate IV in Interior Decoration and the MSF50218 Diploma of Interior Design.

These online design courses have been developed in consultation with industry experts, so you’ll learn the necessary skills employers are looking for today.

Not too sure where to start? Check out our blog, “The difference between interior decorating and interior design” or get in touch an OC Enrolment Consultant to discuss your options.

Leave a Reply