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The Basic Principles of Interior Design To Follow

The Basic Principles of Interior Design To Follow

  • Alisha Matthew

There are many reasons that you may find the current look of your home bland or otherwise dissatisfying. Perhaps it is the home’s base layout that you find awkward or the combination of mismatched furniture pieces that look great on their own but don’t complement each other. To craft a superb home style, knowing some of the basic principles of interior design to follow will help guide you.


To have balance in a room, its individual components should come together in a way that forms an overall sense of stability or equilibrium. You can achieve this by way of evenly spaced, identical furniture pieces and decorations that divide the room into two parallel halves. Using symmetry like this to create balance is the more explicit approach, but it’s possible to have a balanced space with different arrangements as well. So long as you offset the visual weight of one section with comparable pieces, the room will still have a satisfying appearance.

To illustrate, you could have a coffee table to define the center of your living room. On one side, you could then place a large sofa, while on the other, you place a few single-person chairs. The higher number of chairs will balance out the sofa, even though they are independently much smaller than it.


Similar to how rhythm forms the backbone of music with its repetitive beats, rhythm in interior design uses repeated elements to form visual interest and a feeling of dynamism in your home. As with balance, there are a few different paths you can take in order to apply rhythm to a room, which you can also combine to suit your aesthetic desires. At the most straightforward level, you could use the same materials, colors, and motifs across multiple decorations and pieces of furniture.

Rhythm also emerges from gradation and contrast. An example of the former is grouping together a rich, chocolate-colored rug, a medium-brown chair, and a muted-brown throw pillow. Contrasting would cut out the middle item to show a stark yet pleasing distinction between opposing forces. Pairing a high-pile black rug with sleek black tables and chairs contrasts texture while still maintaining cohesiveness through color.


That last example of rhythm brings another principle of interior design—unity—to the forefront. Unity refers to the stylistic agreement between all the parts of a room. Each piece may not be identical, but they share common characteristics with the others so that nothing feels completely out of place. Outlining a color palette to stick to with all your décor from the outset can ensure that the space maintains unity as you add, subtract, and rearrange its parts.

Unlike rhythm, unity brings more tranquility to a room. Yet, it still often makes use of repetition to do this. This is because recurrent elements inherently bring pieces together, but you can also specifically position them in such a way that they imply movement. The same brown rug, chair, and pillow we spoke of in the previous section may be placed far away from each other in a room while still imparting unity to it. This is because they fit within an overall brown color scheme. However, you would want to arrange them next to each other in an order going from most saturated to most light, or vice versa, in order to attain progressive rhythm.


To the average person, scale and proportion might be interchangeable words, and these two ideas are indeed similar enough that they may overlap in interior design as well. Still, it is vital to know the distinction between the two so that you can use them effectively. Scale is a comparison of an object’s size with that of another that has generally known dimensions. Most of the time, the object that you use as the basis for your comparisons is the size of an average person, since you are tailoring the home for your everyday use.

You can apply scale by choosing chairs and countertops that stand at a comfortable height for you without seeming to crowd the room or leaving it feeling empty because they are too small. Additionally, there are instances where you may intentionally scale up a design element so that it acquires an impactful magnitude because of how large it is both when you stand near it or when you view it alongside smaller objects from a distance. Two-dimensional and three-dimensional artwork, as well as plants, are perfect for forming this kind of size-based interaction.


Proportion is also a comparison, but you deliberate over the size and shape of two or more nearby objects relative to each other without necessarily considering their size outside of this connection. With it, you can more reliably craft an agreeable setup in a room. Take, for instance, the golden ratio that mathematicians have studied since ancient times. Though the exact ratio is expressed in a formula, you can follow a more straightforward iteration by thinking of it as a 60:40 or a 60:30:10 relationship.

If you’re uncertain about how much furniture to place in a room, you could aim to occupy about 60 percent of the space with chairs and tables while leaving the remaining 40 percent open in adherence to the golden ratio. In deciding how to use different colors in a space, you could also use one dominant hue for 60 percent of the room, a secondary color for 30 percent, and finish off the remaining 10 percent with an accent color. Proportion is by no means confined to the golden ratio, though. As long as you can craft an overall sense of harmony between the components of a room through their similarities or differences in comparative size, you can utilize proportion to your benefit. Sometimes, this means that you need to see how decorations and furnishings look next to one another and judging based on your feelings about them.

By following these basic principles of interior design, you can produce a consistent home style without sacrificing its energy or individuality. As you look through the extensive selection of designer fabrics and wallpaper that Decorator’s Best offers, including Waverly fabric and metallic wallpaper, you can keep these points in mind.

Principles of Interior Design To Follow