Interior design is big business, and has become increasingly important in recent years in private homes, public buildings and commercial properties. It is all about balance, even in maximalist and minimalist styles, and ensuring that everything included in the interior harmonises well. If this can be achieved in a space then it doesn’t strictly matter which style the interior takes, it will always demonstrate how elements can look refined and aesthetically pleasing.
Interior designers will draw in certain principles to ensure their interiors are not lacking, and will be careful not to overly complicate their efforts by including too much of any one element. Many have years of experience in achieving this, and are well practised in creating the look and feel they are going for in any given space. Beginners and non-experts can find this process difficult, and it is easy to fall into the trap of adding too much detail, or not enough to your spaces.
Whether you are taking your first steps into interior design as a professional, considering it as a career path, or are simply a homeowner or renter looking to make the most of your space, you will benefit by using the six main principles of interior design. These are simple concepts, but together they are a powerful tool that can help you make any space unique and give it the right atmosphere.
This is a word that comes up a lot in interior design, and it simply refers to the way the various elements work together to create a cohesive style or theme. Not every element in a space needs to be the same theme or style, but they do need to flow together in a pleasing way that isn’t jarring. You can harmonise elements by maintaining the same style, colour or textures in the space.
Harmony and balance might seem like similar concepts, but whereas harmony is about the way something looks, balance is more about how something is oriented in a space in relation to everything else. A formal room will tend to be symmetrical with the format reflected along an axis, but informal spaces are often asymmetrical, Even in an asymmetrical space it is important to make sure that one side doesn’t overpower the other.
When planning out a room it’s vital to make sure that everything is in proportion with the space itself and the permanent fixtures. For example, in rooms with feature staircases such as
, you want the staircase to be the main feature and so everything should be planned around it with no single feature dominating the staircase. You also need to make sure that everything fits well in the physically available space. There is no point cramming too much into a small space, and on the other hand, you also need to make sure that larger spaces don’t end up looking barren.
Every space needs a focal point to bring everything together. Think of this as the centrepiece of a room, something that is the main event that you want to draw attention to. This could be anything from a feature staircase, a beautiful fireplace, a chandelier, or even a piece of art or statement wallpaper.
Opposites and contrast
If everything in a space is too similar in colour, tone and texture the overall feel can fall a little flat. To combat this an interior designer needs to bring an element of contrast. Think light and dark, gloss and matte, sleek and natural textures and you’ll be on the right path.
Once all of the points above have been taken care of, a designer can start looking at the finer details that will bring the finishing touches to a space. These are usually the small things that you may not notice at first glance, but they really work to make a space feel complete. The smaller details are often used to give more personality to a room, but they need to be the final step because it can be easy to go overboard with them. It is generally accepted wisdom that, like an outfit you’d wear, once a room is finished you should take a step back to assess the overall look, and remove two or three finishing touches just to make sure you’ve struck the right balance.