Feel your home needs a bit of a shake-up? Applying these core 7 elements of interior design will do the job!
By Lora O’Brien
The problem with Interior Design is a lot of people confuse it with Interior Decoration. While the former refers to designing an entire living space from scratch, the latter refers to decorating an existent living space with added furniture and upholstery. Interior
Interior Design is practically a science, and isn’t as simple as you might think! Generally interior designers go by the 7 Elements of Interior Design. And you can, too!
Using these 7 Elements of Interior Design can really transform your living space. Some are easier (and cheaper) to implement than others, but all are good to know if you’re aiming to make your home more beautiful.
Image source below: MyHouseIdea
How To Use The 7 Elements of Interior Design
Space is, of course, one of the most important elements of interior design. It acts as a foundation on which the entire interior design plan is built. It’s always essential that the designer is well aware of the space available, its dimensions and its utilities.
Space is divided into two types. Two Dimensional Space covers the floor (and includes length and width). Three Dimensional Space which forms the living space (and includes length, width and height). A space that is essentially filled with furniture and decor items is a Positive Space and an empty space is a Negative Space. An equilibrium has to be maintained between the two kinds of spaces. Either overcrowding or skimping on the furniture/décor items is going to affect this balance.
Suggestion: How does your space feel? Too crowded? Remove non-essential items and donate them to charity. Too vacuous? Add large floor plants or decorative items like baskets or book shelves to add volume and life to the room.
Image: Shoko Design
Enter a room in your house. Where does the eye immediately go to? Is it the ceiling, noting beams and room height? Or is it furniture or windows, noting the horizon?
Lines establish a sense of harmony, contrast and unity in a living space. They define shapes and act as visual guides of an interior space. Lines are broadly categorized into three types – Horizontal, Vertical and Dynamic. Usually, horizontal lines adorn structures likes tables, chairs and beds. On the other hand, vertical lines can be found on windows, doorways and almirahs.
While horizontal lines add a safe and secure feeling to the space, vertical lines emote free and expansive nature. Dynamic or angular lines, which are action-oriented, add drama and can be seen on structures like stairs.
Suggestion: While it’s not that easy to change the lines of your home, you can do so with a few easy touches. For example, you could add a tall plant or pendant lamp to draw the eye upward, increasing a sense of space in your home. If your space feels too large and cold, adding artworks on the walls can force the eye horizontally, warming the space up.
Image: @dallasbonds on Instagram
‘Shapes’ is one of the most important of the 7 elements of interior design, but it just refers to forms in general. Forms can be created by combining two or more shapes and can be accentuated with the help of other elements like texture, patterns and colour. A well-defined form establishes harmony, and additional forms add balance to the space. There are two types of forms – Geometric (man-made) and Natural (organic).
Forms can also be classified as open or closed. While open forms can be looked into, closed forms are actually enclosed by a closed surface.
Suggestion: Have fun with shapes! And feel free to mix them up. For example, while there are many round, open forms below, there are also closed rectangular and cylindrical ones there, too.
Image: @hub_of_designs on Instagram
Light is one of the most obvious of the 7 elements of interior design. It can come from natural or artificial sources. Light sets in the mood and ambience into a living space and highlights the every other element including space, line and forms.
While smart placement of doors and windows should take care of the natural light, that’s not so easy to do yourself if you want to jazz up your home.
Instead, consider the three main kinds of artificial lighting to improve your living space. These are: Task Lighting, Accent Lighting and Mood Lighting.
Task light as the name implies. It includes light sources like table and bed lamps. These are dedicated to a specific task. Accent lights, on the other hand, are meant to highlight a particular piece or item like art, bookshelves, or sculptures. Mood (or ambient) lighting basically set the mood of the living space. For example, floor lamps offer softer evening light, while overhead lights are usually harsher and colder.
Suggestion: Choose warm tones, like yellow, for areas you relax in, and brighter colours, like cool blue, for rooms like the kitchen. The ability to dim lighting is perfect for adjusting the mood in your home easily.
Image: @fab_marion on Instagram
Colour has a powerful effect on mood, and establishes an aesthetic connection between how you feel and objects in a room. You need to trust your gut when it comes to which colour scheme you choose for your home, as this is highly personal. But of course, there are some fundamentals surrounding colour you should know, too.
For example, red is associated with passion and stimulating appetite: perfect for the kitchen! Green, on the other hand, represents tranquility, so works for bedrooms. Yellow is thought to be cheerful, and touches of this colour are wonderful for conservatories and lounges.
Each colour also has a hue, value and intensity. Interior designers are aware of this, and use these characteristics to perform various effects. For example, while red splashback tiles in a kitchen could be a bright cherry hue, you wouldn’t want to over-intensify the colour of the kitchen by painting all four walls red.
You should also become familiar with the colour wheel to know which colours complement each other. For example, dark shades of green, blue and brown work well together, while brighter hues of orange, yellow and red do.
Suggestion: Find a room you feel is ‘blah’, boring. How do you want that room to feel instead? Add touches of colour through accessories, or by painting a feature wall, and see if it changes the mood.
Image: @studioartaelgarve on Instagram
Texture is, in my opinion, one of the most important of the 7 elements of interior design. It mainly deals with surfaces and determines how a room looks and feels. It adds depth and interest into a living space, too. Texture is broadly classified into two types.
Visual Texture defines where the texture is only visible. Actual Texture defines where the texture is both seen and felt. Anything that has to do with textiles such as pillow covers, bedspreads or anything to do with coverings, like drapes, wall paint or wallpapers, have a texture. While there should be a dominant texture to define a mood, a contrasting texture should also be included to create a more interesting room.
Suggestion: Add texture to a room with the use of objects, like vegan leather sofas, fluffy pillows, or soft throws. Carpets, wallpapers, and plants also add a variety of textures.
Image: @leuvia_home on Instagram
Another of the 7 elements of interior design is pattern. Patterns add interest and life to interior design and work along with colours. Patterns add an element of continuity to a living space. These could be of any kind, but if you mix up patterns, make sure the colours at least match.
Suggestion: Take a room and create a statement with the use of wallpaper. Then you can style the room with accessories that complement the colours without repeating the design and feeling claustrophobic. If you’re not a fan of pattern at all, simply make the pattern more subtler, such as fine stripes.
Image: @roomes_furniture on Instagram
Main image: @avalonshutters