Reviewed By

Ekta Kohli

Verified Expert in Interior Design

With over 11 years of experience in interior design and kitchen design, Ekta has worked on a wide range of projects from residential to commercial. She is currently leading the design team at Infinite Ideas Interiors, India.

Learn » Interior Design Concepts » 7 Elements and Principles of Interior Design & Basic Concepts

Interior Design Basic Concepts

Interior design is not just a profession; it is a way of life. It is a beautiful art form that enables interior designers to share their creativity to reflect the personality of the homeowner.

Every home is unique in its appeal, partly owing to the massive turnover of real estate which is up to 150% since the turn of this year alone. Each home design, especially in a bustling city like New York reflects the decreasing square footage to accommodate more people. Thus, homeowners are required to adjust their design plans to fit the altering floor plans. That’s where interior design comes into the picture.

Interior decorators have a keen sense of style and understand the aesthetic value of symmetrical and asymmetrical balance. They can analyze the needs of the homeowner and combine them with their own design ideas to create a beautiful living space that invites tranquillity to the inhabitants.

Be it a small or large living space, interior designers go above and beyond to ensure that the inhabitants find the aesthetics of their homes appealing. After all, it is where you start your day with a cup of coffee or breakfast and rest your head at night to rejuvenate yourself. it is only fair that the home reflects what you desire; it reflects you.

Also, Read: How To Start Interior Design Business?

The 7 Core Elements of Interior Design

There are many important aspects of Interior design that play important roles in a design project. The floor plan of many houses must seem similar, however, what sets them apart are the inhabitants and their personal taste.

Each piece of furniture, the colour scheme on the walls, and the focal points highlighting the homeowner’s love for certain objects all play an important role in turning a real estate acquisition into a home.

Here are some of the design elements that affect the basic concept of interior design:

1. Space

The first and most important of the interior design concepts to consider for interior designers is the living space. Space planning is the foundation of all design ideas. From creating floor plans to decorating the house, everything boils down to this one key factor.

These days, with the plethora of design elements available at our disposal, creating a symmetrical balance for a harmonious living environment has never been simpler.

With the help of 3D programming, you can get an accurate idea about the different types of layouts and test various design plans to enhance the available interior spaces. Not to mention, 3D rendering and modeling immensely influence the visual interest of the client.

Space planning is an intricate process of revitalizing the available square footage, taking into account the negative spaces, and utilizing every design element at your disposal including vertical lines and a touch of minimalism to make the small spaces of New York appear less claustrophobic and more appealing.

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2. Line

The second factor affecting interior design is Line. This design element enables you to implement a theme in the living space.

You can choose to use simple horizontal or vertical lines if the theme of your design ideas is minimalism. However, if you wish to add some flair to the living space, lines can add dramatic finishes to otherwise simple design trends.

You can use lines to align complementary design elements or to create an asymmetrical balance for effect. Lines can be playful or they can be subdued. They don’t necessarily need to be straight lines. In any case, they are an important factor in any design project.

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3. Forms

In any interior design plan, a form must always follow function. This is to say that forms actually increase the aesthetic value of any interior design trends.

As an interior designer, you can choose to experiment with different forms such as natural forms which include the implementation of natural colors, natural elements, etc. The natural forms are usually requested by homeowners when they wish to prevent the use of negative space in their own homes. Natural forms usually follow a rustic or classic theme because it utilizes basic elements.

You can also use geometrical forms in your design ideas for contemporary or modern space planning. Lately, Geometric forms such as radial formats have become increasingly popular to enhance the outline of living spaces. They add a manner of diversity in an otherwise simple setting.

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4. Light

No matter if you are creating a home design from scratch or preparing a makeover for a dull living space, the light should always be your focal point. It is the basic element that creates the mood for the room.

You can introduce tons of natural light with large windows or skylights, or you can introduce different forms of accent lighting to add playfulness to the overall disposition of the living space.

It is best to use brighter lighting in the kitchen, living room, and dining room where homeowners spend most of their time. You can also use focused lighting that illuminates the dining table or coffee table while keeping the rest of the living space in dimmer light.

Homeowners tend to prefer dim lights in the bathroom and bedroom where they can relax while brighter lighting is reserved for more pressing environments. Make sure to maintain a complementary balance between the lighting and the other design elements to ensure they fit together in the final finish.

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5. Colour

A primary factor that affects the aesthetics of a home design is the colour scheme. While it may seem like choosing a piece of furniture and a piece of art is what affects the mood of a room, it is actually the colours you implement that set the overall temperature.

Colour psychology plays a major role in elevating or decimating the inhabitant’s disposition. Different colours tend to have different effects on the human psyche. The perception and effects of these colours differ from person to person.

While some people may find it beneficial to be surrounded by a bright, vibrant colour scheme, others may find it palpitating. Their mood will also change based on the colours used in the room. This is why it is best to combine vibrant and dull colours to maintain a balance in the living space.

For instance, red has a motivating effect on the human brain for most homeowners. It makes people passionate about their life, their career, their loved ones, and their self. But too much red can also make them hyperventilate, lose their temper, or even lead to violence.

Therefore, if you choose to add red to the walls of a room, then you must balance it with more neutral colours in furniture and design ideas. You can adversely use red in radial patterns, straight lines, or in a piece of art while using neutral colours on the walls.

Recommended Read: 35 Best Bedroom Color Schemes

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6. Textures

The texture is more than just a visual element that adds character to your interior design ideas. The textures that you use in the living spaces reflect directly upon the personality and interests of the homeowner.

While visual textures such as paintings by Caravaggio can add appeal to the room, it is the subtlety of actual texture that add dramatism to the living space. You can complement them adversely for a balanced finish.

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7. Pattern

Last, but far from least, is the pattern. It is a very important factor that affects the overall fit of interior design. Patterns can be implemented in any form, including radial designs on the walls along with an instigating statement through florals. A piece of furniture, or two can be placed in geometric patterns to add an effect or the lighting can be used to create a pattern to enhance the mood of the homeowner.

Radial patterns, straight lines, and geometric shapes add depth to your design ideas. Patterns can be implemented in materials of home design as well. They are excruciatingly important in creating a flow in the living space to improve the floor plan in any given square footage.

For instance, you may choose to implement a Scandinavian interior design that follows a very basic structure and colour scheme. But you can add patterns to the curtains, bedding, lighting, or numerous other design trends etc. to enliven the final finish.

Quick Read: 15 Best Interior Design Software

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The 7 Core Principles of Interior Design

The core elements and principles of interior design must always be implemented properly in order to create aesthetics in your design ideas. You must take the following principles into account when implementing the design elements:

1. Unity

Unity should be a focal point of home design. Every piece of furniture, every pattern, and every item of decoration must be complementary to each other. They must fit.

The unity and uniformity of all the design elements together make for a beautiful interior design.

You must always ensure that there is a smooth flow in your use of patterns, colours, textures, etc. otherwise, the entire design project creates a negative space.

Unity office by Kitzig Interior Design Buren Germany

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2. Balance

The second thing that you must pay attention to, is the balance between the objects and colour schemes. Whether you choose to paint vibrant patterns on the walls or hang crystal chandeliers from the ceiling, you must ensure that they fit the theme that the homeowners requested while simultaneously adding a balance to the finish.

You can choose a compulsive symmetrical balance with straight lines, perpendicular placement of furniture, or radial patterns if the homeowners are conservative. You can also choose asymmetrical balance to create a new-age, contemporary vibe with design elements that are complementary but not restricted to basic design projects.

Boho design trends usually follow an asymmetrical balance while minimalist design trends such as Japanese or Scandinavian styles offer a more symmetrical balance.

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3. Rhythm

Although it sounds unusual, interior design does employ the fundamentals of rhythm. Every object in the universe has a vibration and you can use these vibrations to create a rhythm.

As we have discussed above, colours, textures, and shapes add character to the home design. You can use the concepts of progression, alteration, or repetition to instigate rhythm.

For instance, you could use radial patterns on the walls of the living room. Then you can add some radial accent lighting hanging from the ceiling to repeat the pattern but in a singular fashion in a particular living space.

Diversely, you can also alternate between vertical lines or perpendicular placement of a piece of furniture such as a coffee table against a backdrop of floral carpet or abstract artwork for alternating rhythm. Not only is it an excellent way to spruce up a living room but it adds visual interest to homeowners and their guests.

You can also use repeated colours or shapes to create a rhythm while alternating the pace with patterns and decor. Make sure to understand the sentiments of the homeowners before implementing a complementary rhythm to the makeover.

Quick Read: 16 Interior Design Rules Every Interior Designer Should Follow

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4. Emphasis

As interior designers, most of the time you will come across individuals wishing to showcase some of their prized possessions. You need to find a way to emphasize this object so that it draws the attention of anyone who walks into the room without downplaying the other design elements.

It may be a curated piece of art, a DIY project they designed themselves, or even an antique piece of furniture. The object must be placed to emphasize its beauty and effect as a focal point while it fits complementary to the theme of the room.

You can use contrasting designs and patterns or even implement a simplistic design with basic elements in the background with the object as the focal point.

Related Read: How To Choose The Best Materials for Interior Design?

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5. Contrast

While it is pivotal to create a flow in interior design, decorators sometimes overlook the importance of contrast. It is obviously necessary to follow a colour scheme and definitive space planning. But if you keep a single colour or just variations on a theme, then the entire design ends up seemingly monotonous.

That is where contrast comes into the picture. You must always use colours and patterns that are complementary to each other. However, you need to ensure that they also provide a contrasting effect so your design ideas shine without overshadowing each other.

Contrast can be implemented by choosing striking pieces of artwork, decorations, or even lighting. Furthermore, fabrics have a subtle quality of creating contrast in an otherwise dull space without foreshadowing any piece of decor while being inadvertently complementary to all the other design elements.

6. Scale and Proportion

Scale and Proportion are important elements to justify the use of certain items. If a piece of furniture or fitting is too large or too small, it looks out of place. Hence, measurements are pivotal in interior design.

For instance, if you choose a small bathtub for a large bathroom then the rest of the space seems vacant while vice versa can make the bathroom seem smaller. Thus, every design element implemented in your interior design ideas must fit the room for which it is intended, regardless of the desire to decorate with lavish pieces.

You must always find a balance between the right proportion and size of every item and the floor plan in home design. You must scale them properly to ensure that they are neither too big, nor too small. They need to be just right.

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7. Details

Lastly, as you know, ‘the devil is in the details.’ All your design ideas must fit the floor plan while enhancing the visual interest of a particular room as well as the house in general.

While space planning entails considering the details of the size and fit of every piece of furniture, plants, fixtures, and even lighting to some extent, it is the minute details of decor that ultimately finish the design with aesthetic value. Without attention to detail, the interior space ends up looking haphazard and disrupted.

Details entail the patterns and textures used for bedding, curtains, doorknobs, switchboards, the wood used to build the furniture, angles of the lights, placement of hangers, plants, artwork, and all the little things that help tie the place together in a neat little bow.

Also, Read: The Complete Guide To Layering in Interior Design

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Interior Design is intricate work. Using the fundamentals above, can not only help implement your design ideas to perfection but each step will remind you to check the psychological bend of the client and only instil design elements that agree with their expectations.

Regardless of whether your clients request minimalist or extravagant design trends, the form must always follow function and every element of home design needs a perfect place, proportion, and purpose.

We hope this article aids you in creating the most astounding interior design ideas that entice the visual interest of your clients as well as helps you ask relevant questions to understand their psychological expectations from their homes.

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