Principles & Elements of Interior Design

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PRINCIPLES & ELEMENTS OF INTERIOR DESIGN 

This article features a series of the various elements and principles of interior design.


These are essential methods and tools for designing a space in order to ensure a well balanced design. Some of the best designers disregard the principles and elements of design and are praised for it. However, unless you are confident in taking such a risk, it is best to abide by the rules.

In this article we will discuss the 8 elements of design: space, form (shape), pattern, line, light, texture, scale and color. We will also dive into the 5 principles of design: balance, emphasis and focus, rhythm, proportion and harmony and unity. My approach to this is through the use of examples followed by a brief description of each principle and element of design.

            According to the NCIDQ, “Interior design is a profession in which creative solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment.” 

Examples of these solutions are function, enhance quality of life add culture and are aesthetically pleasing. Through the use of the principles and elements of design you are sure to create a well balanced and pleasing interior that you will love!

 

Texas home with an open floor plan!  LINK

Open Space Element


In this room we see a soothing open space concept. The white kitchen, walls, and windows would be considered negative space, bringing emphasis to the pieces in this space. The contrasting black dome lighting, coffee table, and dark throw pillows, support a division of space through the use of positive space while still accomplishing an open space concept. The varying tones of grey and the shape of the sofa bring visual interest to this symmetrical space successfully accomplishing an equilibrium.

 

Gothic Retreat LINK

Closed Space Element


This space is a great example of a closed space concept. In this picture, the dark walls, trim and furniture would be considered the negative space and in contrast, the neutral rug and accent chair would be considered the positive space. Some may find this asymmetrical dark room to feel cozy and romantic; while others may find this to be too brooding.  I believe that this space maintains an equilibrium because of the contrast, scale of furniture and décor placement.

 

Vintage Bench LINK

Shape/Form Element


In this picture we see the emphasis is on the vintage velvet, tufted, and mobile (check out the wheels), rose pink bench. Its curvilinear form adds interest and drama to the space.

 

This bathroom was designed by Melissa Warner Rothblum and Julie Kleiner of Massucco Warner Miller Interior Design; featuring Ann Sacks tile! LINK

Pattern Element


In this beautiful bathroom suite, the focal point becomes the blue and turquoise tile bringing texture, pattern and emphasis to the space. By emphasizing this element, it helps transform the natural light reflecting in from the skylight while adding visual interest.

 

Featuring an Australian home designed by William Burton Leopardi; contemporary genius! LINK

Line Element


You can incorporate lines in your designed through the use of architectural elements in the room. Through the use of beams, molding and even shiplap you can create texture and visual interest. Interestingly, lines guide the viewers eye through the room.

 

Medal Bow floor lamp LINK

 

Light Element


In this picture the focus is on a unique, metal bow copper lamp found at Zuvier.com. This task lighting element sets the ambiance in this living space, by complimenting the lines found in the floor rug and the form of the copper stool and accent table.   It also serves the user of the space as essential task lighting for reading or conversation.

 

House in Spain LINK

 

Texture Element


In this space we see a lot of texture. The textured stone accent wall becomes the focus; a three dimensional art if you will. White washed stone adds visual and tactile texture to help visually balance the otherwise minimalistic home.

 

Design by Dots N Tots Interior Pte Ltd  LINK

Scale Element


In this bedroom space we see that the bed is complimented by the scale of the night stands due to the relation to the size of each piece. The recessed can lighting above makes the head of the bed a focal point in the space and the wall decal emphasizes visual interest.

 

L.A. home featuring a polychromatic, or colorful design. LINK 

 

Color Element


In this living space we are pleased by the playful combination of hues. The Egyptian blue we see on the sofa symbolizes confidence. The coral orange we see on the accent pillows create a feeling of excitement and warmth. The pink punch accent pillows offer a sense of calming to an otherwise exciting color palette we see used in this design. The canvas art becomes the focal point of this space tying the varies colors together creating an equilibrium in this space.

 

Chic Beach House featuring a symmetrical design with an a-chromatic color scheme. LINK

Balance Principle – Symmetrical Balance


This traditional bedroom space features a symmetrical design by mirroring each side of the space. If we were to split this space in half, the two sides would be equal.  It is said that we find this principle of design pleasing because it reflects the human form; so naturally, one likely would feel comfortable in this balanced setting. The achromatic color scheme featuring an ocean blue is found to be soothing.

 

An asymmetrical design featuring unique greenery. LINK

Balance Principle – Asymmetrical Balance


This contemporary living space features an asymmetrical design by creating a balance through the use of dissimilar pieces such as the vary sizes of the frames on the walls. Through the use of this principle the space becomes more casual and lively.

 

Bay house dining room featuring radial balance, by DE. Bruce Palmer Coastal Design. LINK

Balance Principle – Radial Balance


In this dining room design we see that all of the elements displayed in the room form a center point. Because of the architectural emphasis this image could also be a wonderful example of symmetrical balance. The coved ceiling adds additional interest while also balancing the entire space as a whole creating a sense of harmony.

Featuring a unique architectural emphasis. LINK

Balance Principle - Architectural Emphasis


In this simple space we see the chosen focal point is of architectural influence. The beautiful and dramatic triangular window as well as the view beyond become the emphasis. The small scale, and simplicity of the furniture placement enhance the scale of the the architectural emphasis.

 

Art by Chantal Leger. LINK

Emphasis Principle – Piece Emphasis


In this space we see art by Chantal Leger as the focal point of the space. This piece draws attention to the otherwise simple space. Personally, I find the space alluring and wish I could step into the room just by looking at the photo. The pop of bumblebee yellow in accent chairs add complimentary visual interest as well.

 

Rhythm through transition. LINK

Rhythm Principle – Transition Rhythm


In this space, the featured herringbone pattern creates a transitional rhythm from tile to hardwood. When looking at the picture, your eyes naturally glide from one area to the next creating a natural flow and visual interest while still accomplishing a sense of harmony in the space.

 

Featuring an asymmetrical balance through the weight of the pictures and desk. LINK

 

Scale & Proportion Principle


This space creates a balance through the use of the wall art. Due to the small scale of the desk, the weight of the wall art creates balance making the space feel pleasing and proportioned. Without it, the wall may seem too bare and incomplete.

 

 

New and improved laundry room featuring Joss and Main, Arya Porcelain Tile.  LINK

 

Harmony & Unity Principle


This laundry room space features patterns and texture through the use of contrast on the cabinets and trim as well as the beautiful Joss and Main tile flooring. In addition, the wicker baskets and indoor plants add a natural element creating a sense of harmony as every feature of the room transitions together complimenting each other as a pleasing and consistent whole.

Design Allure 


Thank you so much for reading this post and I hope you found it helpful! Design Allure works to implement the principles and elements of classic design to create harmonious and purposeful interiors. Our charming spaces are meant to inspire thoughtful, beautiful, well-loved vibes that feel fresh and livable. We're proud to integrate salvaged and recycled materials into our projects whenever possible, source furniture and decor from local artisans and give new life to aged pieces. Learn more about Design Allure, LLC here.

Check our our related articles, 5 interior design mistakes to avoid and home staging tips and tricks you should know! 

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  1. Balance – Daniel's Design on December 8, 2017 at 1:08 am

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