Designing your home is always a deeply unique and personal endeavour, but there are always some basic principles of design that all interior decorators or designers must consider. Each principle takes into account elements like space, light, form, line, patterns, texture or colour, with all the principles working together to ensure that your space stays visually harmonious, no matter your style or design preference!


This principle can be generally described as the visual balance of height and weight within a room. Balance in Interior Design can be applied in three ways, through symmetrical balance,  asymmetrical balance or radial balance. Symmetrical balance is a more traditional form of design, where two halves of the room mirror each other. Asymmetrical balance is when colours and visual lines are balanced, without mirroring each other. This works well in rooms that may be slightly oddly shaped or in open space plans. Radial balance is when a room has a focal point like a fireplace or hanging chandelier, and all other design aspects of the room then radiate from that one point.


The principle of Harmony can be described as the co-ordination of objects and colours, in order to create a sense of unified design in a room. It largely occurs when all the elements in a room work together in some semblance of a theme or style. This can be achieved through having a colour scheme, through the types of furniture used, like wood or metal, or the use of materials like throws and rugs to achieve a harmonious feel to a space.


Emphasis in interior design is the method of using an accent in the room; such as a colour, feature, texture or pattern that draws attention. A room where everything has equal importance can be boring, and so the principle of emphasis encourages having a focal point in the room, and then designing the room with that focal pointin mind. Radial balance works hand in hand with this principle, and the rest of the room can be actively used to draw attention to the chosen point of emphasis.

The ultimate goal is a flow between all the elements of your design and a healthy balance between functionality and aesthetic beauty.


Contrast can be a great way to make a room feel far more exciting by taking advantage of colour, form and shape. For example, pairing wood furnishings with white walls and green plants for contrast, can immediately increase the energy of a space and help create a theme as well. Contrast also works well in spaces that naturally carry a lot of smaller accessories, such as kitchens or bathrooms. Accessories can be used to add contrast and colour to these spaces and make them much more lively and engaging.


The principle of proportion is largely to do with the relationship and ratio of sizes between objects in a room. This is to encourage one to take a look at the size of a room and pair it with furnishings that are pleasing to the eye. Smaller rooms may take advantage of more minimalist styles for example, whereas in a larger room, minimalist styles may make the space seem under-utilised. Pairing oversized furniture with other smaller delicate pieces of furniture could also create a feeling of imbalance in a room because proportions are out of place.


Focusing on details encourages one to add distinctive features, and a sense of personal style to a home design space. Details in a space can often be missed by the naked eye, but if used wisely, allow a space to come together in a visually brilliant way. For example, a bright bunch of flowers in a vase, potted plants, or the use of mirrors and artwork, can make a room go from simple to splendid!


Rhythm is the final principle in Interior Design, but is undoubtedly the most important. This principle comes into play the moment your design is done, and you can take a step back to see the big picture. The ultimate goal, no matter what your personal style, is a flow and relationship between all the elements of your design, and a healthy balance between functionality and aesthetic beauty. It is the moment where all the elements not only come together, but work to complement each other in a way that brings the absolute best out of your space.

When all the seven principles are kept in mind when designing your home, the result is a visually harmonious space that becomes a joy to live and work in!

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Article by AluSplash –