The 7 Principles of Interior Design are guidelines for creating a well-designed space. Designers incorporate these principles into every design plan to create interiors that are both beautiful and fully functional. While each principle is important on its own, in a truly successful design, all 7 principles work together and complement each other.

The 7 Principles of Interior Design - balance

Balance in interior design requires an equal distribution of “visual weight”. Visual weight refers to how heavy or substantial an object appears to the human eye. Items that are large, solid, dark, or colourful will seem heavier than objects that are small, thin, open, or light in colour. To achieve a good balance, divide a room into four equal quadrants. Each quarter should appear to contain roughly the same volume of furnishings and objects.


The 7 Principles of Interior Design - rhythm

In music, rhythm occurs when a repetitive beat (or combination of beats) creates a musical pattern. Rhythm in interior design helps create a cohesive space with good flow by using repetition to help move the eye around the room. Repeated elements can be anything from a colour or pattern, to finishes and materials, to shapes and styles.


The 7 Principles of Interior Design - emphasis

Emphasis in interior design refers to a central element that acts as the focal point of a space. Common focal points include architectural features such as a fireplace or picture window. If a room does not have any noteworthy architectural features, a piece of art or furniture can also be a focal point.

The focal point should be the first thing you notice when you enter the room and serve as an anchor for space. Once you have identified the focal point, you can create emphasis through furniture placement and with the use of colour, light, and texture.


The 7 Principles of Interior Design - contrast

Contrast and variety create visual interest and prevent interiors from feeling boring. Contrast provides drama and draws attention while the variety adds personality and diversity.  Create contrast by placing elements of striking difference next to one another. You can achieve this effect with the use of colour, shape, and space. You can also use different colours, fabrics, and finishes along with unique furniture pieces to add variety to space.


The 7 Principles of Interior Design - scale

Scale and proportion work together to ensure that objects in a room look like they belong there and also relate to one another. Scale refers to the size of objects within a space, while proportion refers to the size of one object in relation to another.


The 7 Principles of Interior Design - unity

Unity and harmony create a space that feels cohesive and ensures that all the elements in a room feel like part of a whole. Unity is achieved when an overall theme is followed that guides the design and ensures that all pieces relate to each other. Decorating with items that have common colours, patterns, shape, or style will help create a harmonious room.


7 principles of interior design - details

Incorporating the above 6 principles will create a space with good flow and balance that feels well put together. But the details are what makes a room come to life. The details are easy to overlook but can have a big impact on the overall look and feel of a space.

Decorative details include items such as trim and embellishments on textiles, architectural accents, and hardware, handles, and flourishes. Other less obvious details involve common features such as wires from lamps and electronics, faceplates for outlets, and quality of workmanship

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