Five Steps to Successful Room Design: The Basics of Interior Design

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A well-balanced design
A well-balanced design (homesplusdecor)

Have you ever looked through a decorating magazine and noticed how the rooms just seem to work?  These rooms stand out in all their well-designed glory and you aspire to have rooms just like those in the magazines.  There are basic principles involved when designing a space that make a certain room work functionally and aesthetically.  To really understand how a room works, you need to go back to the basics of interior design.  The basic principles of design are balance, rhythm, harmony, focal point and scale.

Exceptional room design
Exceptional room design (ericahouseofdesign.blogspot)
Beautifully design traditional room
Beautifully design traditional room (3)
An interior that applies the basics
An interior that applies the basics (tarafree.BlogSpot)

 

Here is a selection of well-designed rooms that employ all of the basics of interior design.  Look closely and see how the principles of balance, rhythm, harmony, focal point and scale are employed in these rooms as you learn about each.

A sleek modern space
A sleek modern space (Houzz)
A harmonious room design
A harmonious room design (northsidedecoratingdean)
Well-designed room
Well-designed room (claffisica)

Balance refers to how visual weight is distributed in a room.  Balance can be achieved three ways:  symmetrical, asymmetrical or radial.  Symmetrical balance is when each side is exactly equal, which is often employed in traditional design.  Asymmetrical balance is achieved by placing one large piece against several smaller pieces.  Radial balance is when all items are arranged around a center point.

An example of symmetrical design
An example of symmetrical design (Houzz)
An example of asymmetrical design
An example of asymmetrical design (decorismo)
An example of radial balance
An example of radial balance (humblepedigree)
Symmetrical and radial balance in this living area
Symmetrical and radial balance in this living area (castlery)

Rhythm is the repetition or contrast of patterns throughout a space.  Colors, shapes or patterns should be repeated at least once in a room.  This allows for a smooth flow throughout a room or connecting spaces in the home.  Placing two contrasting items in a room creates interest as well as a sense of rhythm.

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Create A Collage For Any Room
Repetition in the circle shape and yellow
Repetition in the circle shape and yellow (adesignersworld.blogspot)
Repetition of color
Repetition of color (onekindesign)
A well-designed interior where purple is used in repetition
A well-designed interior where purple is used in repetition (Pinterest)
Repetition of pattern and color pull this room together
Repetition of pattern and color pull this room together (Tobi Fairley Interior Design)

Harmony refers to how all of the elements in a design work together and is especially important in today’s open concept home.  Color schemes are a great example of harmony.  The use of color throughout a room or home should flow well.  Harmony is the story that your home tells as you go from room to room.

Harmony in design is important with open concept homes
Harmony in design is important with open concept homes (room-decorating-ideas)
Color creates a smooth flow between rooms
Color creates a smooth flow between rooms (jenniferbrouwerdesign)
This room creates nice harmony with balance and repeated color
This room creates nice harmony with balance and repeated color (terrysfabric.co.uk)
Design that illustrates smooth flow
Design that illustrates smooth flow (imgarcade)

A focal point is a spot in the room where the eye rests.  It is the one area or item in a room to which your attention is drawn when entering.  The focal point can be a fireplace, artwork, a unique piece of furniture or the view.  Every room should have a focal point.

The view is the focal point of this room
The view is the focal point of this room (galleryhip)
The fireplace is the focal point of this room
The fireplace is the focal point of this room (Houzz)
The fireplace makes a great focal point in this room
The fireplace makes a great focal point in this room (lerablog)

Scale and proportion are important to make a room design work well.  Furnishings and accessories should be in proportion to one another.  In other words, a large sofa should be paired with chairs and tables that are the same or close to the same size.

Larger furnishings work in this room due to its size and high ceilings
Larger furnishings work in this room due to its size and high ceilings (Robeson Design, San Diego, CA)
Furniture balances out in proportion
Furniture balances out in proportion (Refined LLC designers)
Successful scale in this living area
Successful scale in this living area (Sara Gilbane Interiors)

Using the basics of interior design as a guide when conquering home decorating projects will ensure success and get you closer to the rooms featured in the glossy pages of a magazine.  Balance, rhythm, harmony, focal point and scale can help bring your dream interiors to reality.

 

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