Basic Interior Design Principles To Follow
Making your home look beautiful takes a lot of work, but it can be made much easier if you research the art of interior design beforehand. It’s not something that requires a college degree; you simply need a willingness to learn and to comprehend the guidelines used to make a house feel like a home. This guide will introduce you to the basic interior design principles to follow if you want to transform your home for the better.
In the world of interior design, balance refers to the visual weight of objects in the room. Visual weight distribution is specifically determined by factors such as size, shape, color, and texture. There are distinct kinds of balance in relation to interior design; symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial.
Symmetrical Balance: Design a room with a mirror-focused mindset. For example, setting up two paintings of equal size and design on each side of a large window, mirror, or another type of focal point is symmetrical balance. This is the most traditional example of the “balance” principle. Overusing this principle can make a room look too clean and uniform, but if that’s what you’re going for, then great. However, using it sparingly can also be effective in the right environment.
Asymmetrical Balance: Take a symmetrically balanced design and set it slightly askew. Let’s go back to the previous example of the paintings. If you take one of those paintings and replace it with one that’s different in size, shape, or other factors, then you're achieving asymmetrical balance. If you go too far with this principle, it might make the room look odd, but sometimes this approach can be more visually appealing then strong symmetry. It all comes down to personal preference. There really isn’t a “wrong” type of balance to use if, at the end of the day, you’re achieving the vision you set out to complete in the first place.
Radial Balance: As the name suggests, radial balance is about achieving balance by creating a focal point for you to design the room—or part of the room—around. In other words, the objects radiate from the focal point to achieve a strong sense of balance. This can be effectively done in numerous creative ways, such as by evenly distributing framed photos around a window from which natural light angelically shines through.
If you want to make a room visually interesting, then emphasize a single distinct focal point. This focal point can be a piece of furniture, art, photo, a well-placed window, or something else that is aesthetically pleasing. You can get creative with proportion, scale, and color balance to emphasize whatever focal point you’ve chosen. This principle is very similar to the aforementioned radial balance principle, though it’s not exactly the same.
Rhythm is the idea of repeating or echoing design ideas throughout a room to create visual unity. One way of creatively doing this is buying pillows with a similar color and texture as a nearby set of curtains or another suitable material in the room. However, obviously, repeating the same design ideas throughout the entire room will make it look monotonous, as mentioned earlier when breaking down symmetrical balance.
That’s why, although repetition is key when it comes to rhythm, contrast is also essential. Let’s take those pillows we just mentioned, for instance. Instead of having two of the exact same pillows on each side of the couch, pair them up with a second smaller pair of pillows that display a different texture or color. It might sound like using these pillows for contrast will make them stick out like a sore thumb, but that’s not the case.
Instead, using these contrasting designs will be a visually interesting way to accent each other. That is, as long as there’s still a sense of harmony among these pillows or any piece of furniture or decoration you’re using this principle along with.
Before you grab random decorations to achieve contrast in accordance with the previous principle, don’t. When designing any given room in your house, there should be a sense of harmony. In some cases, harmony and balance might be synonymous with each other, but that’s not quite the case here. Harmony is more about objects making stylistic sense.
For example, let’s say you have a couch of a particular color, be it red, brown, or magenta. To create a consistent rhythm while still maintaining a sense of harmony, use custom designer pillows of the same color, but with a unique design or texture, to make both the couch and the pillows stand out as individuals harmoniously. That might sound contradictory, but once you finally see this principle in action, you’ll know exactly how this works.
Proportion and Scale
Two of the key factors for achieving harmony are proportion and scale. Proportion speaks to how an object’s size and shape stylistically mix with its surrounding space. Scale, on the other hand, addresses how an object’s size and shape stylistically mix with the other items around it. Playing with proportion and scale allows you to emphasize certain points in the room. These two principles are also strongly intertwined with balance—you can match the proportion and scale of objects to create distinct symmetry, or you can alter these dimensions a bit to achieve a stylish form of asymmetry.
Remember that, while all of the points above are interior design principles, they aren’t rules that you must abide by. You can use one, two, or all of these principles within one room, as long as they’re helping you achieve your vision. Whether you’re staging a home for buyers or sprucing up the place for your own enjoyment, these principles can be effectively used as a creative road map for achieving the best results possible.
With a better understanding of the basic interior design principles to follow when improving your home, you're finally ready to embark on this project. It might seem like a lot to handle at first but when you get hands-on with these principles and apply them to your home, you'll truly understand why they're such renowned guidelines.