Interior Design 101 – A Beginner’s Guide

interior design

interior design

If you’re reading this article, chances are you already have a natural draw towards the world of interior design. You know how the mood, color, lighting and furniture choices in your surroundings can affect your mood and productivity. Interior design takes basic elements of organization, design and art and combines them into one seamless tapestry suitable for comfortable living. Fill your new home with light and space, and learn the basics of interior design so that you are truly a master of your domain. After reading this guide and applying the concepts within, don’t be surprised if your friends start asking you for the name of your designer.

The Inner Style

Interior design takes from within and puts it on the outside for the world to see. Your design taste is an intimate reflection of who you are. Before starting your project, it’s helpful to find visual guides to give an example of the type of design you want for yourself. Read design articles like this one, collect visual reference materials, frequent fabric stores and attend showrooms and houses to see how the pros do it. Take lots of pictures, and continually review your own home for areas that could use improvement.

The Concept of Balance

Balance in your life is often a reflection of balance in your home. Visual weight is a concept that refers to the type of shapes in a room. These could be symmetrical, asymmetrical or radial in shape. In Kyoto, there is a famous shrine with two windows. One window is in the shape of a circle, and one window is in the shape of a square. The goal is to look out into the garden and see the garden from two perspectives. The shape of the window changes the perception of the landscape. This is how interior design works. Balance a room by using heavy objects or use several lighter objects that are visually about the same size. Avoid the tendency to mix large and small objects together, unless the large objects are symmetrically placed or intended as a focal point.

Understanding Harmony and Unity

interior designHarmony and unity can be established through your use of colors. The choice of color is a highly individual aesthetic. But, when you choose a color, use varying shades of it to create a sense of dimension. Use varying shapes, sizes, textures and other dimensions to make it possible to create a common style and theme throughout the room. You want to avoid having too many clashing colors. This will only create a feeling of anxiousness and over-excited energy in a room. Keep things similar, pick a theme and avoid the tendency to show the world everything you’ve got in a single room or shelf. Keep things simple, and not overdone.

The Rhythm of the Room

Use patterns and repeat objects through a room to create visual interest. You can do this by using pillows that have a similar color scheme to the walls or floor. Use paintings that help reinforce objects or other colors in the room. Consider a rug to expand upon the room and give the place an extra bit of warmth. One simple example is to set up a collection of small figurines that range from smallest to largest in a single line. You could also set up a line of candles. If you use large candles at the front of the room, and smaller ones toward the back, you can give the room extra depth. Use opposite elements to help create some contrast. For example, black and white bed sheets create rhythm through contrast.

The Focal Point

fireplaceYou need a main focal point. Decide early on what that focal point will be and design the rest of the room around it in a cascading fashion. The majority of the visual excitement and activity should center around the object. Fireplaces are a good focal point. Windows are also another example of a focal point. Additionally, you might make a table, bed or piece of art the focal point for the room. Just try to create one main focal point with various subservient focal points for the best contrast. Anything out of the ordinary, unusual or large can make excellent focal points.

Get it to Scale

The ratio of the elements in your room matters. You don’t want to put a king size bed in a small room. The proportions will be all off. Group items according to their size. Save the largest items for the largest rooms, and use your smaller objects in smaller rooms. This helps maintain a ratio between the size of the room and the elements in the room. You can also do things like use plates that have the same shape as the table. Use a tablecloth that has a design that matches artwork on the wall.

Color Matters

The colors you choose for each room can help to create emotion. Here are a few of the most common colors and how they affect mood:

  •  Brown: Create a sense of nature, strength and comfort.
  • Green: Supports the health of the mind, and it has a calming effect.
  • White: Symbolizes purity, innocence and sterility. It can create an illusion of additional space.
  • Blue: Calm, peace and tranquility are a few characteristics of the color blue.
  • Red: Vibrant, energetic and strong emotions are the domain of the color red.
  • Orange: Energy, optimism and vitality are exemplified by the color orange.

Putting it Together

Study the way other designers use these principles in their own interior designs. Pay attention to color, form, balance and rhythm. Take what you like from other examples and leave the rest. The most important thing is that you’re creating a room and style all your own. Nobody can take that away from you. Your own designs should be infused with all that make up who you are as a person. Use the elements of design as a guide to help get your ideas across.

Jessica Kane is a professional writer who has an interest in interior design and home decor. She currently writes for Designer Drapery Hardware, a leading vendor of all types of drapery hardware such as rods, finials, and brackets.