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Principles of Good Interior Design

In one of my earlier blog posts I wrote about the The Ten Elements of Good Design and how they are often part of the first classes taught in any type of design education. We have covered off very key elements of interior design including texture, pattern, line, form, shape, space, colour , lighting, contrast and variety.

This week I will expand on these important tools for decorating and discuss the The Principles of Good Interior Design.

The principles include emphasis or focal point, balance, proportion or scale, harmony or unity, rhythm or movement.

Lets get started!


The focal point or emphasis in design is the centre of interest. When we are decorating a room we can create a focal point by arranging furniture around a picture window with a view, a work of art, a fireplace or even a television.


In design, balance  is the way the parts of a design are placed together in relationship to each other.

There are three types of balance:

1. Symmetrical

2. Asymmetrical

3. Radial.


Does something seem off in the above photo? That is exactly the time when you know that the proportion or the scale is off on one of the elements in the room!

In the case of interior design, proportion is the relationship of objects to each other within the space.

Everything in the room above is well proportioned and in scale to each other.  Can you imagine this large room with a small, lightly scaled heavy light fixture? The scale and proportion would be completely wrong.


Harmony is in play in a well design room when all parts of the room come together to give the feeling that each of the pieces form a cohesive whole.

You can tell immediately when you entre this kind of room. Often a feeling of peacefulness settles over you. Everyone look at the photo above and repeat after me “Ooooohm”.


In last weeks blog The Ten Elements of Good Design, I wrote about the use of colour, shape, line, pattern etc.

Rhythm is created by using elements in a repetitive way and by using them to direct the eye throughout a space. Notice the use of line and pattern in the photos here to move the eye along?

Ok, there you have it. Between the my blog on the Elements of Design and this weeks blog on the Principals of design, you are now privey to some of the most vital secrets of the design trade!

Both the PRINCIPALS and the ELEMENTS are an essential part to designing any room. Do keep these in mind from the very start of each and every project. It will be your stepping stone for a successful and rewarding decorating project.

In a world full of beauty….

Gail K Allen

Interior Design Consultant

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