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To create a functional and beautiful living environment using design basics, design elements and design principles.

Interior Design Principles

Principles of Design

  • Size
  • Scale
  • Proportion
  • Harmony, Unity, Variety, Contrast
  • Balance
  • Rhythm
  • Emphasis
  • Pattern and Ornament

  • Size

    Things are large or small in relative terms. A large living room is smaller than a large church, but appears large in relation to an adjacent small entrance hall.


  • It is the proper proportion of an object to all other objects, to human beings and to the space to which it belongs.
  • Small pieces of furniture often look lost in a large space, while large objects may seem overbearing when crammed in to a small room.
  • Good scale is indicated when things look so right that the issue does not even come to mind.

  • Proportion

  • It is the relationship of parts of a design to each other and to the whole.
  • A well proportioned room looks visually right. A bad proportioned room may seem too long and narrow or an element such as a door, window, or a piece of furniture may appear awkwardly placed.
  • Harmony Unity Variety

  • Harmony is the relation of varied components of an interior to each other and to the overall theme of the design.
  • Unity allows the viewer to experience a design as a whole rather than seeing it as a collection of elements.
  • All the parts of the design will relate so well as to create a unit in which, nothing can be added, taken away, or altered without changing the totality.
  • Variety and contrast can relieve monotony , giving the eye a number of different shapes, textures, colors or details to look at. Contrast heightens values through comparison.
  • Harmony Unity Variety


  • A patterned surface has visible presence in every part of its extent.
  • The fact that pattern is usually repetitious gives it rhythmic qualities on a small scale.
  • The elements of a pattern can convey messages.
  • Little flowers and regular stripes create very different moods.
  • Geometric squares and naturalistic curves imply different attitude.
  • Pattern has the ability to hide or minimize soiling and visible traces of damage.
  • Pattern


  • Ornament refers to visual extras unnecessary for practical reasons but added to show off craftsmanship, introduce variety, and enrich a uniform surface.
  • Good ornament emphasizes what is important, draws attention to what is significant, and tells something about the materials and workmanship involved.
  • Moldings at a cornice or baseboard strengthen the line of intersection of walls, floor, and ceiling.
  • Moldings and motifs of classical designs the carved columns and leaves are examples of ornaments showing the craft skills.
  • Ornament


  • Balance - is a feeling of visual equality in shape, form, value, color, etc. 
  • Balance can be symmetrical or evenly balanced or asymmetrical and un-evenly balanced. 
  • Objects, values, colors, textures, shapes, forms, etc., can be used in creating a balance in a composition.
  • Formal/symmetrical - Both sides are the same, mirror image
  • Informal/ asymmetrical - Sides are different but visual weight is still equal
  • Balance


  • Rhythm relates visual elements together in a regular pattern.
  • It can be achieved by Repetition, Gradation, Opposition, Transition, Radiation.
  • Repetition — a design tool (usually one of the elements of design) is repeated.
  • Transition – how one part of the design changes to another part. Usually a distinct curved line will guide the eye.
  • Radiation — moves your eye out from a central point
  • Gradation—moves the eye from light to dark or from small to large with one or more of the elements.
  • Opposition - an abrupt change in color or line that keeps moving the eye.
  • Rhythm


    Contrast is the difference between two values. It offers some change in value creating a visual discord in a composition. It can also be used to create an area of emphasis.



  • Emphasis ensures that important elements look important and trivial elements look subordinate.
  • The focal point of a room.
  • Architectural emphasis (using windows, staircases, fireplaces, etc.) is a great way to create a focal point in a room.
  • Emphasis
    Interior Design Basics    |     Interior Design Elements    |     Colour