Basic Principals of Interior Design

Hey everyone, Darcy K here! It’s been a while since I sat down and wrote for the blog, so I thought I’d do a little refresher on some of the basic principals of interior design. Today, I’m going to briefly cover focal points, balance, scale and proportion, and flow. Whether you’re brand new to design or you’re an expert interior designer, it’s always good to remember the basics.

Focal Point

Having a focal point in your room is essential to the overall design. It is your base point from which to plan your placement of furniture. A focal point can be a structural feature like a fireplace or picture window as well as an integral piece, like a television or the bed. If you’re working in a bedroom, typically the bed wall would be your focal point. In a lounge or TV room, the TV ranks highest as a focal point. It’s important to determine the focal point or emphasis of the room first; this will give you a great starting point for working the furniture items into the space, keeping this focal point in mind.

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Balance Is Everything

Balance in a room gives it a feeling of equilibrium. This comes from being able to determine the visual weight of objects and how they balance each other through careful distribution. There are two basic ways of creating balance in a room: symmetrical and asymmetrical.

Symmetrical balance is the easiest and most commonly used method for creating balance. Symmetrical balance is foolproof but can be rather boring. For instance, if you have two dining chairs on one side of the table, you put the same two chairs on the opposite side of the table and voila!

Asymmetrical balance, on the other hand, takes a little more effort, creativity, and an eye for what is visually balanced and what is not. I’m here to lend you my “eye.” Now, instead of the same two chairs on the opposite side of the table, you could consider a bench instead of the two chairs. Visually this will create a space that is ‘heavier’ on the side of the table that has two chairs because the chairs are larger, higher and the bench will hardly be seen since it’s under the table most of the time. In order to balance this, you could place a sideboard or buffet behind the bench and create a much more balanced room. This is just one example, but with a little practice, you will get the hang of it.

When looking at the placement of furnishings, ask yourself; “Is this visually balanced or is it heavier on one side?” If so, then get creative and find a way to balance the room visually.

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Scale Matters

When something is clearly out of scale in a room it can be one of the most overpowering design flaws. (This is why careful planning is essential.) If an oversized sectional was placed in a small room with little room to walk, you would say that the room is out of scale.

Proportion is the ratio between the size of one part to another. Scale is how the size of one object relates to another or to the space in which it is placed. So, a large piece of furniture in a small room would be out of scale with the proportions of that room.

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Create Flow 

You’ve probably heard this word before and maybe you didn’t quite get it, but flow is simple with regards to space planning. You simply need adequate space to walk around from door to door and room to room. With respect to open great rooms, you want your areas to connect to each other and your furniture pieces to be spaced properly so that nothing feels tight, squished or out of place.

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Now that you know the basic principals of interior design, you’re ready to get started with your design project! Still feel lost? Contact us, we’d be happy to answer your questions. Looking for a more personalized approach? Schedule a 30-minute complimentary consultation here.

1 Comment

  1. Leslie jordan on October 21, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Could Darcy tell me if the fabric of old movie scenes on dining room chairs is available for purchase?. It was featured in San Diego home and gardensmagazine oct 2019 issue page 26

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