6 Ways to Use the Principles of Interior Design in Your Room

In order to come up with the design plan, an interior designer has to apply the principles of design to the work. In this article, we will show each design principle in details.

Principles of Interior Design

1. Understand Proportion and Scale
Proportion refers to the relationship between each part. Scale covers both physical size and visual size of the design. The most important thing about this principle is that an interior designer should choose the decorative items that are in the similar size or in the similar pattern.

The selection of material can make a furniture look heavier than it actually is. For example, a solid wood table looks heavier than a glass table, even though they are exactly in the same size.

A busy pattern looks a lot heavier than the plain pattern. Strong color also looks heavier than the bright color.

The easiest way to determine the scale is to determine the number of people in a particular space.

2. Balance Your Room
Balance is how we arrange the furniture that is visually stable. There are 3 types of Balance as below,

- Symmetrical Balance: It's also known as Formal Balance. It can be created by placing the same object on both sides.

- Asymmetrical Balance: It's also known as Informal Balance. The way to create this type of balance is to place the different object at different distances from the center. 

- Radial Balance: This balance can be achieved by placing furniture or decorative items in circle form.

3. Use Pattern to Create Rhythm
Rhythm guides the eye along the path using the design elements such as pattern, line, color, texture or molding. You can create rhythm by using,

- Repetition such as repeated colors, a set of books with matching binding

- Progression such as color schemes from a dark color to a light color

- The transition such as molding or an arched doorway

- Contrast such as the use of angular furniture

4. Emphasize With Center Piece
Emphasis refers to the focal point of the design such as a grouping of furniture or a fireplace. In the larger areas, there can be more than one focal point.

You can also create a focal point by using artwork, beautiful carpet or china cabinet.

5. Create Harmony in Your Room
Harmony is the beauty of the overall design. It can be achieved by creating,

- The design that is consistency in color scheme, style, type of furniture, fabrics, and accessories. This is sometimes called "Unity"

- The design that contains some contrasting elements such as furniture, colors, texture, and accessories. So it doesn't look too boring. This is sometimes called "Variety".

6. Incorporate Color Scheme
Color theory is considered one of the most important theories in interior design. Anyway, the most important color theory is the Standard Color Wheel Theory aka Prang Theory or Palette Theory. The section below will show you 6 major color schemes that you can use,

- Primary Color Scheme: use Red, Blue, and Yellow which are 3 primary colors (because they cannot be made from other colors) as your color scheme.

- Secondary Color Scheme: It is the result of the mix of 2 primary colors such as
Red + Yellow = Orange
Yellow + Blue = Green
Blue + Red = Violet

- Tertiary Color Scheme: Tertiary is the result of the mix of 1 primary color and 1 secondary color. For example,
Yellow + Orange = Yellow-orange
Yellow + Green = Yellow-green
Blue + Green = Blue-green
Blue + Violet = Blue-violet
Red + Violet = Red-violet
Red + Orange = Red-orange

- Analogous Color Scheme: Analogous is basically a color scheme consists of 3-6 colors on the color wheel that are close to each other. Under this color scheme, there will be one main color, one supporting color and 1-4 accent colors. Color intensity and lightness are so important for the Analogous scheme. For example, 
Blue + Green + Blue-green + Yellow-green

- Complementary Color Scheme: Colors that are opposite to each other. There are many types of complementary scheme as below,

Direct Complement or 2 opposite colors such as Blue vs Orange, Yellow vs Violet and Red vs Green
Split Complements or 1 primary color plus 2 tertiary colors such as Red vs Yellow-green and Blue-green
Triadic Complements or 3 opposite colors such as Red, Yellow, Blue or Yellow-green, Red-orange, Blue-violet.

Do you feel these are something you can use in real life?

- Dodsworth, Simon, and Stephen Anderson. The fundamentals of interior design. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015.

Related Article
- 5 Human Factors in Interior Design

Last review and update: August 27, 2018

About the Author

Patty Benjabutr is an interior design enthusiast. She loves to write about actionable home decor knowledge because she believes interior design content is something much more than a collection of beautiful photos. You can contact Patty via e-mail.