Learning design principles

INTERIOR DESIGN: The 6 most important design principles

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To be creative is a part of the human psyche. It is one of the traits that sets us apart from other animal species. But Interior Design is more than just being a creative individual. Lets learn about the fundamental principles behind this idea and what defines it as a good design or bad design.

Scale and Proportion

Scale refers to the relationship between two or more objects of design and decor while Proportion is the ratio between the size of one part of the object to the other. They both go hand in hand but they differ from each other too. Together they create a visual hierarchy where some objects come to focus instantly while others getting disguised.

We can see in the above picture that the scale, ratio and placement of al the elements in this setting creates a visual hierarchy thus creating focus on some objects while disguising others. Size and placement of an object is very important to maintain visual pleasure.

Proper scale and proportion of objects in this image make it visually appealing.

Form follows Function

Form follows function is an important design principle in architecture and industrial design which states that the form of an object should be a natural outcome of it function. In interior design, applying this concept could invoke taking into consideration the way a clients lives. 

What does out client first thing after getting up in the morning? Do they eat breakfast? If so then locating the kitchen close to his bedroom makes the life of the user easier. Design should be functional. The decor items or the furniture we use in a space should talk about the activities of the user of the space and not just something ornamental.

The function of the plate guarding the bulb is to stop the light from spreading in all directions. Thus its form is derived from the function it is to perform.

A furniture’s function depends largely on the lifestyle and habits of the people using it.

The Sense of Equilibrium

Equilibrium is the even distribution of weight leading to steadiness or evenness. Good design should create a sense of equality and symmetry our eye loves. There should be a focal point in a design setup around which objects should be evenly arranged.

It is very evident in this picture that one half of the picture looks heavier than the other half. The very contrasting colors used in this interior design setup breaks the balance and harmony due to the way in which the colors are put in this setting, thus breaking the sense of equilibrium.

The decor and furniture used in this home interior design setting and the way the furniture and decor put in the setting creates a sense of balance and equilibrium.

Light and Color

Light, shadow and color might seem very simple and straightforward but there is more than what meets the human eye. Lighting is one of the most important parts of building a good  interior design. Good sense of lighting is what makes the difference. Color on the other hand has a huge effect on how we feel and act. Different colors have different psychological effects on human mind.

Light and color together in this design setup sets the mood and tone of the interior. Such lighting and dark color obstructs the spreading of light in every part of the room thus creating a room which feels comfortable and cozy and perfectly suited to its purpose.

Ambient and natural lighting in this interior design setup defines the purpose of spreading energy and vitality in the environment. The light color used on the walls too compliments the cause and helps in spreading the light in every corner of the room.


Ergonomics as a science strives to bridge the gap between man and its surroundings. It is the application of psychological and physiological principles to the design of products to make a man’s life easier and more comfortable. Good and ergonomic design strives to make our lives easier, likely to increase productivity. Imagine a living room with thoughtfully designed lighting fixtures, placed such that they illuminate adequately the areas of interest within the rooms. Chairs, tables and footstools would be easy to relocate, thereby making the space amenable to a wider range of users, while furniture piece would be able to accommodate persons of every size and ability.

The fixtures and furniture used decreases physical effort of the user, increases efficiency and comfort.

Appropriate size and space is provided for approach and reach in this bathroom, regardless of the user’s body size, posture or mobility.


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