Discussing the 7 elements of interior design

Discussing the 7 elements of interior design

We cannot deny that form and design exist in everything around us. Nature is filled with things that boast of creation's perfect symphony. It's astounding to see how everything has its unique shape and function. Each is different from the other yet blends in to create an exquisite harmony. We've always drawn inspiration from nature, from aerodynamics and buoyant force to colours and shapes that have made us create complex structures using construction principles found in nature. 


When thinking about interior design, words like creativity and flair immediately spring to mind. Interior designers follow informal rules based on specific interior design principles and elements. As a minimum, the following elements should be considered in creating any interior. These elements include space, line, forms, light, colour, texture and pattern. Keeping them balanced is the key to creating an aesthetically pleasing interior. Let us go deeper in understanding these elements – 


1. Space

The fundamental concept and key foundation of an interior design is space. Understanding the space and ensuring that you take the best advantage of what is available to you. It is a luxury to work within a three-dimensional space (length, width and height). However, this three-dimensional "canvas" is divided into negative and positive spaces. A place filled with furniture or decors is a positive space, and an empty space is known as negative space. Striking a balance between the negative and positive spaces of a room is essential to avoid overcrowding or sparseness on the other end of the spectrum.


2. Line

Horizontal, vertical and dynamic lines help to shape a room and guide the eye. Creating lines using the room's furnishings and structural design can form harmony, unity and contrast. Both the structural features and the room's furnishings can create lines that greatly influence the feel of the space, and they can also be used to bring attention to a focal point. Horizontal lines, created by cabinets, tables and other surfaces, give a sense of stability, formality and efficacy. In any scheme, a balance between horizontal and vertical lines is essential. Dynamic lines refer to diagonal, zigzag or curved lines. Stimulating the eye, dynamic lines capture our attention longer. However, too many dynamic lines in one room can distract and overpower horizontal or vertical lines. Ideally, interior designers will strike a balance by incorporating different lines.


3. Form

Generally, forms refer to the shapes or 3D objects used in the interior. Forms can be made of other elements like colour, texture and patterns. The key with forms again is striking a balance within the available space. Another thing to consider with form is the proportions and scale of the room compared to the objects being placed within it. Adding forms of similar shapes can create harmony and balance, while adding too many different shapes can have a confusing result. Space is typically more pleasing if the dominant form is repeated in minor objects throughout the room.


4. Light

Light is a critical aspect of any space - natural or man-made. Without it, all of the other elements would not be able to shine to their full potential. Light can be broken into the categories of task lighting, accent lighting and mood lighting. Beyond its functional purpose, light can set the mood and atmosphere of space while defining colour, line and texture. Plus, any good interior designer also knows that the lighting fixtures are a visual feature in themselves, which can add the right tone to any design. The vast majority of interiors make use of both natural daylight and artificial illumination. While the quantity and quality of daylight might seem fixed, it's worth remembering that it can be filtered with drapery and window coverings.



Colour is a science all on its own and is another crucial element that interior designers master. It can create mood, define unity and alter the perception of how large or small a space is. When considering the colour of a room, first think about what the room will be used for and the activities that will occur in that space. Secondly, consider how both natural and artificial lighting will affect your selected colour across the day and night, given that light can alter our colour perception. Finally, consider the size of the space. Interior designers will often incorporate lighter or brighter colours in smaller spaces to give the illusion of more space. Darker colours can give a powerful dimension to a larger space. Whether it's seen in natural light or artificial, the hour of the day will affect a colour's properties, so success in using it means considering this before making a selection.


6. Texture

Mixing textures and contrasting them add to the depth and interest of the room scheme. Texture refers to the tactile surface of an object or finish. It's an element that is often overlooked but really does have the ability to bring a unique dimension to the room. Just like mixing colour and pattern, an interior designer mixes the textures within a space to give a subtle sense of depth. Think glossy, coarse, and smooth. From furniture to accessories to fabric, texture has the ability to add interest and detail, making it visually pleasing to the eye. In essence, it gives a room feeling. Texture comes in two forms – visual texture and actual texture. Visual texture refers to the texture that is perceived by the eye. In other words, this is the impression of texture one gets by only viewing an object. This effect is usually found in the form of a pattern. Actual or tactile textures can be seen or felt and has 3D characteristics. For example, a fluffy, colourful cushion can be appreciated with the eye and touch.


7. Pattern

When implementing a pattern, it's best to consider the size and style of a room. Paired with colour, the pattern offers a similar use to texture in that it can add appeal to a room. A pattern is created by using a repetitive design and can be found in wallpaper, soft furnishings, rugs and fabrics. Patterns come in various types, such as stripes, geometric, pictorial, organic, motif and animal prints. Introducing patterns in a small room should be done sparingly to avoid overwhelming the space. However, as discussed in the element of line, patterns that create vertical or horizontal lines can be used to give a heightened sense of space. Complex patterns are made up of contrasting colours, and lines can liven up a room. However, they are best used in the form of a feature wall. Large scale patterns can flourish in a large space and become a distinct focal point in the room. For example, traditionally styled rooms incorporate organic, floral prints. For a contemporary touch, geometric and abstract prints should be experimented with.

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