The art of interior designing might appear to be simple, especially since most homeowners add personal touches to their home’s décor without even a second thought to the impact it makes on the overall appeal. But if you talk to a professional interior decorator, they’ll generally tell you that there are seven major elements of interior designing and you should always create the right balance between them for the best results.
The 7 Elements of Interior Designing
The seven primary elements of interior design are:
Let’s discuss these 7 elements of design in detail below.
Space is one of the most important interior design concepts. It refers to the three-dimensional living space that needs to be decorated, including a room’s height, length, and width. The available space should be filled with furnishings based on the purpose of the room and the functionality it is supposed to offer. However, space can be both positive and negative. Positive space is filled with furniture and décor, and negative space refers to empty spaces and bare areas. Ideally, you need to strike the right balance between these two to get the best results for your home’s interior.
A balanced space is neither overcrowded, nor sparse, and there is room for flexibility based on the interior style you choose. For instance, minimalist interiors focus more on negative space, while eclectic décor leans towards positive space. However, the right amount of either space is ultimately dictated by the functionality you want the room to offer.
The boundaries of your room’s furniture and its structural design combine an array of horizontal, vertical, and dynamic lines. Each of these types fulfils a purpose, and together, lines help shape the room and guide your eye through it, making it aesthetically pleasing using unity, contrast, and harmony.
Horizontal lines are often created by tabletops, beds, chairs, and other surface areas, and can make a space look wider while drawing your eye towards a focal point in the room. However, an excess of horizontal lines can make a space seem uninspired or boring. Vertical lines are reflected by windows, doorways, and cupboards, and often make the room appear taller than it is. However, use vertical lines with care as not everyone appreciates sitting under an illusionary high ceiling. Together, horizontal lines give a feeling of stability, security, and efficiency, while vertical lines add a touch of freedom, strength, and spaciousness to the room.
Meanwhile, dynamic lines include angular lines, often created by a staircase, which add a touch of drama to the interior, as well as curved lines found in couches, windows, or archways, which serve to soften the harsh angles and rigidness of the other furnishings in a room. You’ll need to use dynamic lines sparingly, though, as they tend to catch the eye more than horizontal and vertical lines and can overpower the room.
Most interior designers will usually choose one type of line as the dominant feature based on the feeling that you want to create in a particular room.
In easier terms, form is one of the seven elements of interior design and refers to the three-dimensional shapes of objects in a room as well as the shape of the room itself. Forms are generally divided into geometrical forms, which are manmade, with hard lines and square edges, and natural forms, which are more soft and fluid, relating to how things are found in nature. They can also be accentuated using some of the other elements of interior designing, like colours, patterns, and textures, all of which we’ll discuss below.
Forms can also be categorised as open or closed. An example of the open form is the shape of the room itself, which you can walk into, while the solid furnishing inside the room is an example of closed form. Shapes or forms can be used to create harmony in interior designing, but add too many forms in one room, and you’ll create a confused and conflicted space.
Whether natural or manmade, light plays an important part in your home’s décor and is thus, one of the most obvious elements of interior design that you need to focus on. A play of light is what enhances the effects of other elements, like patterns, colours, and textures. It is also what sets the mood and ambience of a room.
Natural light is generally given entrance into a living space with the clever placement of windows, doors, or mirrors, and can make the space feel airy, open, and cheerful. However, no room is complete without manmade light fixtures, which are broadly divided into three types—accent lighting, mood/ambient lighting, and task lighting.
Accent lights usually illuminate a particular piece of wall art or sculpture to bring your focus on it. Mood or ambient lights basically set the tone of the overall space. You might use bright lights for a home office to stay alert while you work, but softer ones for a cosy den or home theatre to create a more relaxed ambience.
Meanwhile, task lighting is all about throwing light onto a surface area where you require illumination for a particular purpose/task, such as desk lamps in home offices, under the cabinet lights in a kitchen to illuminate the countertop, or bedside lamps to help you find your belongings at night.
Ultimately, the choice of lighting depends on the functionality of the room you’re decorating. You will then need to choose the right light fixtures for your home accordingly, keeping in mind that each fixture will also add an additional visual element to the rooms.
Adding to the aesthetic appeal of any interior, colours need no introduction. We all have our favourite colours that we love to wear or decorate the house with. Still, if you take a look at colour psychology, colours impact the mood and the personality of the residents, leading us to the conclusion that some hues are just more appropriate for a harmonious interior.
For instance, red often enhances appetite and is, therefore, more appropriate for your kitchen or dining area, while blues and greens induce calmness and tranquillity, making them perfect for bedrooms.
Colours can be categorised into primary and secondary colours, with further sub-classifications as well. Moreover, each colour has varying hues, intensity, and values that have the ability to affect a person’s moods, emotions, memories, as well as the size of a room. Before choosing the colour scheme, define the room’s function and factor in the light in the interior space because dark rooms with darker colour schemes can become brooding or claustrophobic, but the same colour scheme with bright lights can actually seem energetic.
Textures enter an interior design via the surface area of any object or furniture. You can get glossy and smooth textures via marble countertop and glass tables, soft and cosy textures using fur rugs or throws, or even coarse and rough textures with the use of fabrics for your upholstery. Textures, however, do not just refer to the actual texture of a surface when you touch it.
We also identify with textures visually, especially when they are combined with patterns. For instance, a bed with a silk bedsheet and a cosy quilt is not just soft to the touch but also looks soft, comfy, and inviting. Primarily incorporated into homes using fabrics, every room needs at least one contrasting texture to avoid monotony and give the room an additional depth.
Pattern is the last of the seven major interior design concepts, but it is what gives life to an interior. Stripes, plaids, florals, animal prints, geometric patterns, and motifs all add their own soul to the room, irrespective of whether they are used in fabrics, wallpapers, paints, rugs, or wall art. Patterns are also often repetitive, offering a smooth transition across the room, but can vary in colours and textures.
The best way to incorporate patterns into your home’s décor is to know exactly how much is enough. In small rooms, small patterns, used sparingly, can brighten up the space, but large motifs will overpower and dominate the area, making it feel clustered.
You’ll also need to choose patterns based on the interior style of the house, as modern interiors connect with lines, stripes, and geometric patterns. In contrast, traditional interiors are big on floral prints. You can also use patterns to create a focal point in your room; however, it is ideal to use no more than three patterns in similar colour schemes for a harmonious appeal.
Now you know all about the seven key elements of interior designing and how to create a balance between them for a harmonious interior. Remember that each individual might think that one of these elements is more important than the rest, so be sure to leave your personal preferences aside for the best results.
One of the major benefits of hiring a professional interior designer is that they will be aware of all of these elements and how to balance them in the best way possible according to your interior without being partial to any one element. Professional designers are also aware of some of the top interior design styles that you can incorporate into your home and can help you out in that regard as well. So, you can consider seeking professional help in the matter.