What Are The Elements Of Art And Principles Of Interior Design?

There are two families to memorize when designing your home. There are the elements of art and the principles of design. A lot of people get these two confused and sometimes even merge them. 

 Principles Of Interior Design

But they are separate families that can both be implemented into interior design, creating the elements of interior design or the principles of interior design. Both of these are very useful so we’re going to talk about both of them.

However, the principles of design are more in-depth and used more often in interior design, while the elements of art are often used passively. Let’s break them each down and take a look at them. 

Principles Of Design

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These principles of design can be implemented in any area of life. In fact, you can actually use them in your life outside of the design world as they do have psychological correlations. But today, we’re sticking to design. 

When it comes to interior design, there are just seven primary principles to memorize. While memorizing them isn’t necessary, it can help you when you make that checklist when beginning to design your space.

Balance

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Let’s start with one of the easiest points to comprehend. This is balance. Imagine you have three pieces of furniture and you need to place them. Do you place them all on one side or find a way to “balance” them?

  • Outside Example: balance is used in every area of life. But the perfect example of balance is the yin-yang symbol. Though it is perfectly balanced, you can also use balance that isn’t perfect and it can still be balanced. 
  • Implementing: it isn’t just a scale of items or weight that need to be balanced but color and bulk as well. You also don’t need to balance items on either side of the room but balance the interior design throughout the room.

Unity

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This is also a fairly simple one. Because unity is simply the way everything works together. Another word for this is flow. This is all about the cohesiveness of everything working together and it affects the entire room. 

  • Outside Example: most of the time, unity refers to how different aspects of artistic design work together, despite their differences. The greatest artists understand how unity works and use this to their advantage. 
  • Implementing: you can implement unity by making sure everything goes well together. This doesn’t mean each piece goes with each other piece, but rather that as a whole, the design is cohesive and has a nice flow. 

Variety

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This can also be called contrast but the two follow similar rules. The contrast in art is a difference, a stark difference in tones or colors. Variety is also important in interior design, and the two work well together. 

  • Outside Example: those who play with photoshop much are definitely familiar with contrast. Because adjusting the contrast adjusts the difference in the lightness and the darkness. This is related to balance. 
  • Implementing: implementing variety and contrast is easy. You don’t need to use an eclectic or out-of-the-box design either. You can start by ensuring you have opposing colors, even if the opposition isn’t 100%. 

Emphasis

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Emphasis is an important part of the Principles of Interior Design. This is the focus of the room, the priority of the design, and the first thing that people notice when they walk into the room. This is where you put emphasis. 

  • Outside Example: imagine that you are creating an ad for social media. What is the first thing that needs to be focused on? The one thing that you would want someone to take away from the ad and stick with them? This is emphasis. 
  • Implementing: one of the easiest ways to implement emphasis is to either choose selective coloring or a feature piece. Feature pieces are unique pieces of furniture or art that you use to draw the eye to a certain spot. 

Movement

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This isn’t about your furniture moving on its own, but rather about controlling the eye. Movement in interior design is about controlling the movement of the eye. Not just where it first lands, but where it goes next.

  • Outside Example: movement works especially well in art because you can create a story. You choose where the eye lands first, second, and so on. You create a story while turning the pages before their eyes.
  • Implementing: movement is a little difficult to implement without training. The easiest way to do it is to walk into the room as if you were seeing it for the first time. Then ask yourself where your eyes land second, third, and so on. 

Pattern

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This is even more straightforward than you think. It’s simply the patterns in the room. Not every room needs patterns, especially if you prefer the least busy room that you can get. But even simple patterns are still patterns. 

  • Outside Example: patterns are found everywhere. In crafting, in scrapbooking, and just about everywhere else. You can even find patterns in cars. Patterns are repetitive designs, and that’s it. Much simpler than you’d think. 
  • Implementing: implementing patterns is the easiest principle to implement because all you have to do is buy something that has a pattern. That’s it. Then you can use that pattern in your room and voila! 

Proportion 

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Proportion is usually fairly natural but it does help to have training. Because there is an extent to how much your natural instinct can work here. But in general, you can’t mess up too bad using that instinct. 

  • Outside Example: proportion comes into play in everything in life. It is very similar to balance only it’s about the size of the room in interior design and anything architectural compared to the size of the items within it. 
  • Implementing: implementing proportion isn’t difficult because you’re not going to naturally choose a large sectional for your small apartment. So you can go with what you feel works and don’t overwhelming with a tiny table or too large a sofa. 

Elements Of Art

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The elements of art are one of the first things you learn in art school. Because art itself is made up of these seven things. They are put in a much simpler form than the principles of design but are closely related. 

Use all fourteen elements and principles for best results, despite a few of them overlapping in their implementation into interior design. These are the elements of art and what they mean to interior design. 

Elements

  • Color – color is simple enough to understand. Color is simply color, using the color theory. Every color and shade you use goes in this category. Even if you use monochrome, there will likely still be some color that makes up the color portion of the art. 
  • Shape – shape is also important. It doesn’t have to be geometric shapes, but shapes are two-dimensional “forms” that are used to give character to a room or work of art. Shapes are often used to represent something more detailed. 
  • Form – form is very similar to shape only it is three-dimensional. Anything that is three-dimensional and shapely is a form. This can be statues and all sorts of home decor as long as it has that third dimension. 
  • Value – value is very important. It is also simpler than it seems in layman’s terms but it is a deeper meaning to artists. Value is similar to contrast in that it is the darkness and light of the art working together. 
  • Texture – texture is simply the textures of the art. In interior design, this can be different materials working together. From drywall textures to corduroy couches, textures are seen in almost every room. 
  • Space – space is simple enough. In art it can be more complicated to achieve but since you’re working with real 3-d spaces, space is easier than you’d think. It is used to create the illusion of more depth and open space than there actually is in the room. 
  • Line – yes, just line. Lines are used to create sharp edges that create barriers in the room. From changing floors to contrasting crown molding to a rug without frills, these lines don’t break up the room,m but give the room an outline. 

Should I Hire An Interior Designer?

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Now you’re probably wondering whether you can take all of this on or not. Should you hire an interior designer or should you go at it yourself with the information you’ve been provided today? This is a difficult question. 

Most interior designers know all of this and more. There are a select few who were not taught the principles of design or elements of art. But most of them will do a wonderful job with your space given their career.

You can always look at their reviews and ask for references. But most importantly, take a look at their portfolio. If you like what you see then give them a try. Just remember, you’re always allowed to work with them.

Interior design isn’t usually done by one person but by the professional and the homeowner together. Because it’s important to add your taste and perspective as you are the one who will live in this beautiful new space.