In our pervious article ‘7 Elements of Interior Design’ we explored the 7 elements of interior design (Space, Line, Forms, Light, Color, Texture and Pattern) that form the foundation of any interior design. In this article we are going to explore the 7 principles of interior design that define the ways these 7 elements must be used. An interior designer needs to be well versed with these 7 principles to arrange/organize the 7 elements so that a good composition is achieved. So without further ado, let’s jot down the 7 principles of interior design and understand their significance in the world of interior design!
The principle of Unity, as the name implies stresses on the fact that there should be a sense of uniformity or harmony among all the 7 elements used. Interior design should serve as a visual guide for a person to understand a living space, and without unity, the visual guide will only end up confusing the person. All the elements used should complement one another and a smooth transition should exist from one to another. A good understanding of Alignment of objects, Similarity of color/pattern/texture, Proximity (spacing) of objects, Repetition (grouping) of elements based on similarity, Continuation and Overlapping of interior design elements are a few ways to achieve ‘Unity’ in an interior design arrangement.
The principle of balance refers to the ordered distribution of elements of equal visual weight to achieve a visual equilibrium. Balance is only achieved when the visual weight of the elements are evenly distributed along a central axis or point that can be both real and imaginary. Balance can be achieved by three popular ways namely Symmetrical, Asymmetrical and Radial. In Symmetrical, a space is divided into two equal halves centered on a central axis and both the halves are equally compensated to give out a calm feel to the living space. In Asymmetrical, any odd number of elements can be used by keeping an imaginary central axis as the focal point. Though asymmetrical balance is a little hard to achieve when compared to symmetrical, the output is more natural and energetic when compared to the former. Radial balance involves a central piece (like a chandelier or a round dining table) from which all other elements seem to radiate to arrange themselves in circular symmetry.
The principle of Rhythm essentially suggests a connected movement between different elements of interior design. This movement is essential to maintain a visual tempo between elements that have different visual weights. Elements repeated in an orderly fashion and the spaces between them create a sense of rhythm. Rhythm can be achieved in any living space by following these three methods - Repetition, Alternation and Progression. Repetition refers to the repeated use of the design elements like color, texture and pattern or any other physical attributes like home décor items in an orderly way. Alternation is the method of creating rhythm by alternating two or more elements in a pre-defined fashion like ABABAB or ABCABC and so on. In Progression, elements are arranged ascending or descending based or their size, color gradient or any other distinctive characteristic.
Emphasis, as the name suggests, is a principle of interior design that says that a central piece of art or furniture must play the role of a focal point or attention grabber of a particular living space. Elements like color, pattern and texture must be used to emphasize a particular focal point. In fact these elements must be used in such a way that the focal point dominates the rest of the décor items and pulls the room together. Other items that surround the focal point must complement the latter and share a contrast that puts the focal point in the top priority.
Contrast refers to the difference in the luminance or color of objects that differentiates them from one another. In interior design, contrast can be achieved by three elements namely color, form and space. One can use pillows or prints of two opposite colors like black and white to achieve contrast and make an object distinguishable. Contrast can also be achieved by combining two or more forms; for example one can combine a circular mirror and a rectangular sofa to balance and distribute the attention between both the items. One can also achieve contrast in a living space by dividing the available space efficiently into usable positive and negative spaces.
6. Scale and Proportion
The principles of scale and proportion ensure that objects placed in a space look like they belong to each other. Be it the size, dimension, shape or color of the objects, a harmony should be established between them and a proportion has to be maintained. For example, a high ceiling environment implies that high rise furniture should be preferred over low rise furniture like ottomans. Also, under stuffed pillows would make a big sofa look empty and under accessorized, thus disrupting the harmony and proportion that is supposed to exist.
Details are like cherries on an ice cream, they might seem extra but without cherries the ice cream isn’t just complete! Be it the small embroideries on a pillow cover or the color within those embroidery patterns, every detail adds a little bit of life to the overall interior design, adding their own distinctive feature to the overall composition. Once you are sure that you have achieved all of the above mentioned principles, it’s time for details to take over and beautify the place further.
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