Bare Essentials: The 3 Design Principles Every Homeowner Should Know

Couple designing house

If you’re an avid home decorator, you know for sure that interior design has a lot of rules — get the perfect 60-30-10 in colour schemes, group furniture and fixtures in triads, and don’t push the furniture up against the walls. It’s a longer list of rules when you have an odd layout, such as a narrow living room or a tiny kitchen. It’s hard to keep up with the rules most of the time, and let’s face it, all these take the fun out of decorating. The thing is, you only need to know one thing in aesthetics: the basics. When you know the core principles, you’ll be able to pull off a nice, visually pleasing space. These are the bare essentials you need to know:


A hodgepodge of colours and random mixes of shapes in a room makes a design chaotic. It’s never pleasing to the eyes, but more importantly, it confuses you. When you repeat elements in the room, let’s say, velvet textures in your furniture and rugs and then greys on the walls, floors, or sliding barn doors, Australia-based interior designers explain that you would get the perfect look of having the entire design tied together. It looks like a one, unified whole that offers visual rest and puts you, or anyone who enters the room, at a relaxed, unbothered state. If you think about it, the 60-30-10 rule’s core principle is repetition, replicating colours throughout a space. Use this concept as well in other elements, like lines, shapes, and textures. Even if you don’t have a prevailing theme in a room, it’s a guarantee that no element will go out of place when you abide by this principle.


This principle makes for a visually appealing space precisely because it’s familiar to people. You see balance, at the very least, symmetry everywhere: in lines etched in your indoor plants’ leaves, in your dog’s body, or even in your own face. There’s an equal distribution of elements. When you see balance in a room, you’re able to make sense of it instantly, and therefore, interpret the space as visually appealing. It’s easy to achieve balance in design. You just have to find an imaginary centre line, and on its sides, distribute elements that have the same visual weight. For sure, you’ve done this unknowingly, for instance, in placing two bookshelves on the sides of your fireplace or a coffee table in the middle of two couches. But try to explore asymmetrical and radial balance as well in your decor to break the monotony of pure symmetries.


Modern interior living room with fireplace
This principle means what it sounds like: it’s putting emphasis or spotlight on a particular design piece, like for instance, a furniture, a fixture, or an architectural detail. You need a focal point in a room to catch people’s attention right away and make a great impression that would influence the perception of the entire space. If you want to create a certain mood or atmosphere in the room as well, a focal point can very well do that. In most instances, the “star” in your room is already in that room — a fireplace, a window with a view of the ocean, a drop ceiling. Other times, you’ll have to create your own — a statement piece of furniture, an extravagant lighting fixture, or an accent wall. Arrange your furniture towards your chosen focal point to further highlight it.

Interior design, sans its strict rules, is just about basic aesthetic principles. Remember these three bare essentials as you revamp your space, and you’ll never have to go wrong.

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