Understanding and appreciating interior design elements is key to developing interior design principles necessary to make your space interesting and representative of your commercial enterprise. Good interior design also can create a comfortable, pleasing atmosphere at home.
Interior design elements – line, texture and pattern, color, light and scale and proportion – serve as the foundation for interior design principles such as balance, scale, proportion, rhythm, emphasis, balance and harmony. Careful application of both the elements and principles of design will create a commercial space that solidifies your brand and forwards your corporate message or a home design that will create harmony and pleasing aesthetics for comfortable living.
Balance is most essential among all interior design elements and is something that comes naturally to us from an early age. The youngest child quickly learns that without balance the stacked wooden blocks will fall or the bicycle will tip sending the rider to the ground. As adults we understand the need to balance life and work, knowing we need to sometimes take a break to enjoy some down time. The need for balance is a constant part of our lives and is a key element of interior design.
Interior Design Elements
The elements of design aren’t unique to interior design. Through the course of history they have been used by painters, photographers, sculptors and many others. Throughout recorded history artists of all types have discovered these elements and refined them to their own needs. They are considered a standard and essential part of fine arts. Consider these interior design elements when evaluating your design:
Every home needs large and small living areas to appeal to our psyche. This can be achieved through actual space or a design that gives the appearance of that space. Space also needs to be balanced between a positive filled living area and an empty, negative area. For example, traffic paths are negative space that are important on a functional level.
Shape and Form
Shape elements are two dimensional, while form elements are three dimensional.
Mass is an object’s density, whether actual or perceived.
Lines have a significant effect on design. They create width and height or give the appearance of flow, movement or activity. Lines give a variety of visual effects. Horizontal lines give a feeling of security, while vertical lines give the impression of freedom or expansiveness.
Angular lines evoke action while curved lines are soft and give a sense of comfort. Properly used lines create a pleasant effect. The best focus will have a mixture of these line types with one type taking the lead. The leading line should represent the particular feeling you wish to portray in your home or office.
Textures and patterns
Textures are the home furnishing’s physical feeling or the appearance of the surface. Patterns are forms which are arranged in an orderly way.
This is a critical part of all fine arts. Residential interior design has a variety of lighting. General light is an overall lighting, while task lighting is more focused. Accent lighting accentuates a particular focal point or uses a special effect such as sparkle lighting. Artificial lighting can change the appearance of colors, textures and patterns, either keeping them true or giving them an altered appearance.
The choice of color in interior design is perhaps the most personal element. Everyone has a favorite color, and they have particular associations to certain colors. Colors can affect the feel of a room. Reds, yellows and oranges give a warm aura, while blues, greens and purples give a cool effect. Beiges, black, browns, whites and grays have a neutral effect.
Interior Design Principles
Professional interior designers understand the need to evaluate every element of a particular project choosing between what is magnificent and mediocre or what will or will not flow. These elements help guide the interior design principles. When selecting or arranging the furnishings keep in mind these interior design principles:
Consider the entire perspective of the project focusing on using objects which are alike or complementary in their size and structure.
Examine how the various parts of the design relate to the whole.
Consider how the design flows within each room and through the home or business as a whole.
Look at what the focal point is for the design area.
Create balance in a number of ways through the mirror images of symmetry, the variation toward a central point of asymmetry or the circular-based design of radial.
Unify objects and elements to create a feeling of suitability while adding some variety to add a touch of diversity and variety. Harmonious designs will create an environment that is appealing and will remain so for a long time to come.
Balance in interior design does not necessarily mean a perfectly symmetrical design. There are several ways to create balance with elements of various sizes, shapes and visual weights.
Symmetrical balance in a design is created when half of a room mirrors the other side. The result is an orderly, neat appearance which is aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Balance can be achieved through asymmetry as well. Opposite sides of a room can have furniture, architecture or accessories that do not match or are arranged very differently. However, if the elements carry the same visual weight, there is a very effective asymmetrical balance.
Radial symmetry begins with a central point from which the objects in the room radiate n a spiral pattern. This is particularly effective when centered on staircases in larger foyers or upon appropriate ceiling fixtures. Radial symmetry also can be achieved with round rugs, curved sofas or other furniture with a round structure.
While balance, unity and harmony are important in designs, it is important to use contrast to help create a focal point and prevent interiors from being too uniform or neutral.
Mix things up with varied colors and shapes. Even the most minimalist of design styles use contrasting elements to prevent a flat, boring look. For example, a minimalist living room with gray, standard shaped shelving units can be spruced up with the use of rattan items. An orange square plate can create a focal point on those shelves. Curved furniture and bamboo embellishments can play off the straight lines of a dining room and living room, even if the colors and hues are similar.
It is also important to balance positive and negative spaces. Color, furniture, area rugs, art and bright, bold flooring create positive spaces. Negative spaces contain planes, white space and emptiness. Too much positive space causes visual clutter, while an abundance of negative space creates a cold, empty space. Coordinating the two types of spaces allows the negative space to draw the focus toward a key focal point or piece of furniture in the positive space.
By creating a feeling of balance, you can affect a client’s perception of your commercial space giving them a positive image of your corporate culture. Balance by using interior design elements and interior design principles in the home creates a comfortable, appealing atmosphere for you and your visitors.
An experienced, registered interior designer can help to create that perfect atmosphere for your home or business.