DIY Design 101 – 7 Principles of Interior Design

There are seven principles; balance, emphasis, contrast, rhythm, scale, details, and unity. In this post, we are going to discuss the principles of design.

In the previous post “DIY Design 101 – 7 Elements of Interior Design,” we discussed the seven design elements. The elements of design are fundamental factors that contribute to your overall strategy. As standard guidelines, they help you create visuals, bring organization and clarity to space. The elements are needed to maintain a balance, and when you apply these elements (along with the principles of design), they create a very comfortable and pleasantly appealing atmosphere.

Now that we understand the elements of design, we are now going to cover the principles. The design principles are the rules that specify how the elements of design can be applied to create an appealing atmosphere. There are seven principles; balance, emphasis, contrast, rhythm, scale, details, and unity. In this post, we are going to discuss the principles of design.

(As we further redesign, I will update this and the previous post with pictures to provide a visual example of each element and principle).

Principle #1 – Balance (Visual)

Balance is the process of distributing the elements evenly in a design. With balance, you give the onlooker comfort when he or she enters your space. There are three types of balances; symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radiance. Symmetrical (Proportional) balance visually the same on the left and right side. Asymmetrical is not the same visually, but it is from a weighted perspective. For example, you can have two small candles on one side of a candle holder and a big one on the other. Radiance is a balance equal in length from the center, for example, a picture of the sun or moon. Out of all of these balances, symmetrical balance is the most commonly used balance for the design.

Principle #2 – Emphasis (Focus)

Emphasis is the process of creating a focal point within a space. Working hand in hand with balance, the emphasis is used to grab the attention of the viewer. A focal point can be a fireplace, wall, or even furniture placed in a particular space. Some of the ways you can emphasize an area are by using light, color, and placement with objects.

Principle #3 – Contrast

This principle is the arrangement of contrasting elements. It is the principle that makes your space more interesting by bringing focus. It’s like applying a black accent wall to a white room. Contrast helps you grab attention and brings notice to a particular object or area.  

Principle #4 – Rhythm (Movement)

Rhythm is the principle that determines how the eyes move through the room. Rhythm is created by using various colors, lines, textures, and shapes. The purpose of rhythm is to give the viewer the feeling of flow or progression in a design.

Principle #5 – Scale (Proportion)

Scale is the principle that focuses on size and the relationship to another object. When you are trying to draw attention to a specific item or area, you can modify the objects’ scale within that space. A good example of scale in interior design is placing larger furniture in a room to give it a fuller or cozier look, or if you place a six-foot statue in a corner, it becomes a focal point in that area.

Principle #6 – Details

Detail is the principle that applies objects or elements to a space to enhance the interior’s appearance. Using details to a room helps establish the function. The number of details that you want to apply to an area depends on your preference. The key is to make sure that you don’t go overboard and make the space crowded.

Principle #7 – Unity (Harmony)

Unity is the principle that helps space flow and works well together. With unity, you create a comfortable, relaxing space that is a reflection of you.  

In closing, when both the principles and elements are applied together in a design, it can create a space that is clear, creative, and a reflection of you. Now that we have discussed both the elements and principles of design, now it is time to get started on my design style; Afrobolistic Design. 🙂

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