Elements and principles of design

Elements of Design

The elements of design are: space, line, shape, color, light, texture and pattern. Space refers to the volume of the room that you have to work with, not just the floor space, but also the height of the ceilings.

Line is the visual nature of the elements working within the space and design. Lines can be vertical which creates feelings of grandeur and formality.

Classic Transitional mediterranean-dining-room
Photo by JAUREGUI Architecture Interiors Construction. See more mediterranean dining room designs

Or horizontal which generally suggests a more relaxed, informal nature.

One Rundle Interior Design transitional-dining-room
Photo by One Rundle Trading Company. See more transitional dining room designs

Diagonal lines create movement and direction and too many can create feelings of unrest.

Real Estate photography in he Bay Area SF traditional-hall
Photo by mark pinkerton – vi360 photography. See more traditional hall designs

Whereas curved lines are more organic and can soften a design.

Contemporary Bathroom contemporary-bathroom
See more contemporary bathroom designs

Shape really refers to the architectural style of the room, i.e. beams, windows, trim etc. And also the shape of the objects within it.

Seven Oaks Showcase mediterranean-dining-room
Photo by JAUREGUI Architecture Interiors Construction. See more mediterranean dining room designs

Color, an obvious one, is the colors used in the design. However what is not so obvious, is that without light, there is no color. These two elements play hand in hand each affecting the other, and so must be considered together.

Florida Beachfront Residence - Vero Beach, USA tropical-living-room
Photo by John David Edison Interior Design Inc.. See more tropical living room designs

Light can also be used to highlight features in a room, and can have a dramatic impact on a design. This is one area, where I feel I haven’t really paid much attention in the past, so I’m eager to learn how I can consider lighting more in my future designs.

Caisson Studios– Interior Designer Los Angeles contemporary-dining-room
Photo by Caisson Studios. See more contemporary dining room designs

The objects you choose in your design have not only color and shape, but also texture and this can say a lot about a room, and add a lot of interest.

Fontana Interior modern-bedroom
Photo by Mark English Architects, AIA. See more modern bedroom designs

And finally pattern, this element can again be used to add real interest to a room and take it from mundane to beautiful.

Denver Highlands Bungalow contemporary-bedroom
Photo by Lauren Mikus. See more contemporary bedroom designs

Principles of Design

The principles of design being: balance, rhythm and repetition, emphasis, proportion and scale, and the end result being harmony. Balance looks at whether a room is structured asymmetrically or symmetrically to create either a more informal or formal setting.

Rhythm and repetition is formed through the use of line, form color or texture being repeated throughout a room to create a flow for the eye and visually cohesive design.

Residential traditional-family-room
Photo by Oscar Isberian Rugs. See more traditional family room designs

Emphasis is provided by a focal point in the room.

Vintage Chic eclectic-hall
Photo by Morgante Wilson Architects. See more eclectic hall designs

Proportion and scale is relative to the object or room that the object is compared with.

Lowcountry Residence rustic-living-room
Photo by Wayne Windham Architect, P.A.. See more rustic living room designs

And harmony is the end result of all of the elements and principles of design working well together in a harmonious design.


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