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Essential Elements of Interior Design

You may think of interior design as a creative and artistic endeavor, but it’s much more than that. Expert interior designers combine psychology, science, and art to create stunning living spaces. They do it all following a set of interior design principles. But what are the elements and principles of interior design?

Read on to find out 10 basic “rules” every professional interior designer considers when modeling your home!

10 Basic Elements and Principles of Interior Design

  1. Space
  2. Color
  3. Form
  4. Line
  5. Pattern
  6. Texture
  7. Light
  8. Harmony
  9. Flow
  10. Contrast


Space is one of the most vital elements of interior design. All rooms in your house have limited space. A good interior design plan will make the best possible use out of every last inch of available space in your home.

Interior designers consider both two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) space. 2D space includes only the width and length of a room — think of it as looking at a floor plan from above. 3D planning, however, also accounts for the height of the living space.

There’s also something called “negative space.” Despite the name, negative space isn’t a bad thing — it’s simply empty space without any furniture or decoration. A good interior design plan strikes a balance between negative and positive spaces to create a comfortable living area that doesn’t feel cramped.


Simple changes in colors can completely change the mood and ambiance of a space. Some colors, like greens and blues, inspire calm feelings, while intense reds and oranges create a sense of action and movement.

When picking colors for your home, you need to consider more than your color preferences. Think about what kind of mood you want to cultivate in every room.


Every object in your home has a form. In more regular speech, form is often called shape. The forms of objects fall into two general categories — natural and geometric.

Natural forms are soft and curved, while geometric forms feature hard, straight lines and sharp corners. The former often inspire tranquil and soothing feelings, while the man-made, industrial look of geometric forms can spur action and productivity.


Lines are a rather abstract concept. Essentially, lines describe the way your eyes follow the shapes and forms of the objects in a living space. There are three basic categories of lines:

  1. Horizontal Lines: Tabletops, beds, and chairs form horizontal lines. They can make a room appear wider and create a feeling of stability and security. But they can also make a space look dull.
  2. Vertical Lines: Doors, windows, and tall cabinets create vertical lines. They create an illusion of a taller room and give it a bolder atmosphere.
  3. Dynamic Lines: Dynamic lines are zigzags or diagonal, created by elements like staircases. They can add some dramatic flair to your home. 


You’re most likely to find patterns on wallpapers or textiles. But any repeating form, line, or other design element forms a pattern.

Patterns can add life and motion to your home and maintain continuity between different rooms. But they’re best used sparingly or your home might end up looking chaotic!


Texture is related to the perceived surfaces of objects and furniture. It can be visual (for example, a printed faux wood pattern) or realistic (real wood texture where you can feel the bumps of the surface).

Textures are often overlooked, but they’re crucial for your home’s atmosphere. For example, the right choice of textures could give your home a vintage rural feel — even if all your furniture is brand-new!


They say light is life, and that’s also true for interior design. Good lighting choices are essential for a comfortable home. Both dim and bright lighting can cause their own sets of problems.

Good interior designs consider factors such as the color of the light, its intensity, and the source. The perfect lighting plan brings a mixture of natural and artificial light to your home.


Harmony refers to the feeling of unity of all design elements in your home. You don’t want some parts of your home to stick out like a sore thumb — although drawing attention to a centerpiece can be an important element of harmony!

Interior designers create harmony by combining all the aforementioned elements in an appealing manner. Harmonious interior designs result in a feeling that everything in your home is in its place.


Think about your current home — does it feel like every room connects to each other smoothly and naturally? If so, your home’s design has a good flow.

Flow ensures that design elements and the moods they create form a natural continuity from room to room. You can improve the flow of your home by having the same patterns or textures in all spaces, for example.


Harmony and balance are crucial in interior design, but so is contrast. Well-planned disruptions to a room’s general look can draw attention to centerpieces or impressive furniture. This helps create a space that feels alive and is exciting to look at.

Without any contrast, a room may look too uniform and — frankly — boring. Think of a white-painted room with all-white furniture and decorations. Your eyes wouldn’t have anything to focus on! Introducing contrasts to interior design stimulates your senses and keeps you interested in your home.

Refresh Your Home with Expert Interior Design

Even if you’re not a professional interior designer, it’s good to know the basic elements that create a comfortable living space. When you decide to change the look of your home, it’ll be much easier to tell your interior designer what you need and want when you’re speaking the same language!

At CDB, we have more than a decade of experience in employing the principles of interior design. We’ve helped more than 200 happy customers create their dream homes.

Our expert interior design team accounts for both 2D and 3D plans and will suggest creative ways to make the most out of the available space in your home. As a family business, we’re keenly aware of how crucial a well-designed home is for a happy life.

Get in touch with us today and ask how interior design services can improve your home.

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