Updated: Sep 11
A beautifully designed space usually doesn’t happen by accident. The principles of design have to be observed to accomplish a harmonious finished design.
Just a brief overview of the design principles:
Unity and Harmony – It is appropriate that a common style and theme runs throughout a home.This is not to say that all interior design elements should be the same but they should work together and complement each other to strengthen the whole composition. One example is the use of color. You might pick three or four colors and use them in varying shades thoughout the house.
Balance – Is the equal distribution or weight of the furnishings in a room
Focal point – A focal point must be dominant to draw attention and interesting enough to encourage the viewer to look further. A focal point therefore must have a lasting impression but must also be an integral part of the decoration linked through scale, style, color or theme. A fireplace or a flat tv is the first example that most people think of when we talk about a room focal point.
Rhythm – Rhythm is all about visual pattern repetition. Rhythm is defined as continuity, recurrence or organized movement. To achieve these themes in a design, you need to think about repetition, progression, transition and contrast. Using these mechanisms will impart a sense of movement to your space, leading the eye from one design element to another.
Details – A very important element of interior design that sometimes gets overlooked. Everything from the trimming on the lamp shade, the color of the piping on the throw pillows, to the light switches and the cabinet hardware need attention. As color expresses the whole spirit and life of a scheme; details are just as important. Details should not be obvious but they should be right, enhancing the overall feel of a room.
Scale and Proportion – These two design principles go hand in hand, since both relate to size and shape. Proportion has to do with the ratio of one design element to another, or one element to the whole. Scale concerns itself with the size of one object compared to another.
Color – Colors have a definite impact on the atmosphere that you want to create when designing a space. I need a whole article to cover the subject of color in a space – that we’ll save for a later date.
Now that we’ve covered the basic principles of interior design we can focus on all the elements that make up a well dressed room.
Start by accurately measuring your room and preparing a furniture layout. This will be your guide to purchasing pieces for your room. If the piece seems too big or too small on your furniture layout, then it will be the same in the room. here’s a quick one I whipped up in about 5 minutes using an easy to use, readily available consumer version space planner called Icovia.
This is a small dining room I designed about two years ago. My clients wanted a calming, soothing room where they could enjoy a meal with family and friends. They had to have storage for their prayer books and very comfortable seating. We decided on a monochromatic gray blue color scheme. The paint is a Ralph Lauren metallic paint that shimmers in the light. So much more beautiful in person. We chose a small table with 4 side chairs and 2 host/hostess chairs. Notice the detailing on the chairs; all custom fabrics and finishes. Even the storage unit was a small scale bookcase. The drapery panels are a big focal point. They are beautiful 8″ stripe duppioni silk fabric in varying shades of gray and blue. here’s another view of the room
Here’s another room I did for the same family
This is another small room, across the hall from the dining room. They wanted as much seating as possible out of this space. They already owned the Raquel’s cabinet, so that became our inspiration for the rest of the room.
The dapery panels opposite the cabinet wall serves to balance the height of the cabinet.
The upholstery pieces are all scaled appropriately for the size of the room. We chose a very tailored wing back sofa and small slipper type chairs. Instead of a cocktail table, we chose 2 ottomans to bring in more seating, which was the biggest priority for my clients
The color scheme of earthy blues and greens is repeated throughout the room and is the unifying element
The pillows and grasscloth wallpaper on the main wall provides the fine details and texture in the room.
I always like something a bit unexpected in a room, and the gingko leaf motif on the lamps adds that. The cabinet was personalized with photos and treasures from their travels
The scale of the art on the main wall is a bit smaller than I would have chosen, but was a very special piece that my clients collected and had to be used in the space. That’s what it’s all about – making their home work for them.
So the next time you observe a beautifully appointed interior, you will know the various elements that went into achieving its beauty and function.