Interior Design Basics

Whether you're redecorating one room or hiring a professional designer to revamp your entire living space, it helps you to understand the basics of interior design and what they encompass. A design is an orderly arrangement of five basic elements:

  • Color, the creator of illusion and maker of mood

  • Form, the overall shape of any object

  • Line, the implied direction or boundary of an object

  • Mass, the bulk of an object that occupies space

  • Texture, the touch me, feel me of matter

All artists, whether painters, sculptors, architects, or interior decorators work with these same basic elements to achieve certain effects, all of which must work together to form a unified whole.

But these five elements alone aren’t enough to generate a successful design. Five components of composition round out the list of designer’s terms:

  • Focal point: This is the point of visual reference to which the eye always returns — a “home base.”

  • Scale and proportion: Scale refers to overall size, while proportion relates the size of parts compared to the whole. Keep these two factors in mind when selecting furniture.

  • Harmony and unity: Harmony refers to the blending of similar elements, while unity refers to the overall sense of belonging together. This is a goal, so keep it in mind as you add each new piece of furniture or accessory.

  • Contrast: Contrast places opposites side by side, such as black and white or hard and soft. The challenge is to balance contrast, so as to maintain a sense of overall unity. Add contrast in small doses; be careful not to overdo it and thus upset a sense of harmony of parts and overall unity.

  • Variety: Variety is the spice of life and the spice of interiors. Include variety within a single room as well as within a whole-house design.

Without sufficient and distinct contrast (which can be subtle), a room can look deadly dull. If a room has too much contrast or too much variety, it looks confused. Your job as the decorator is to come up with a recipe that has just enough but never too much of the elements that make for a beautiful, functional room.

  • Add a Comment
  • Print
  • Share
blog comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement

Inside Dummies.com

Dummies.com Sweepstakes

Win $500. Easy.