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The 7 Principles of Interior Design

The 7 Principles of Interior Design: Interior design is actually the art or science of decorating and enhancing the overall interior of any building that creates a healthy and aesthetically soothing and pleasing environment for the inhabitants residing in that particular space. The man who plans, coordinates, researches, and manages such enhancement, and décor projects are called interior designers.

It doesn’t matters, whether you are wishing for a DIY makeover for any part of your home or looking forward to making a complete glamorous construction, it’s very important for you to know the basics of interior design i.e. the 7 principles of interior design before the embarkment of your dream project. “Save 20% on orders w/ ManoMano Discount Code

A profound article on the seven principles of interior design will assist you in understanding all the inspiring designs that you are considering for your interior.

So, the seven principles of interior design are;

  1. Balance
  2. Harmony
  3. Rhythm
  4. Proportion and Scale
  5. Emphasis
  6. Contrast
  7. Details

Let’s go through a brief detail of all the principles of interior design.


 In a well-designed and well-decorated room, it is the visual balance of all the elements that are used in the construction of the home ( from lines, colors, and shapes to the lighting furniture, and décor), that plays milestone importance in the hallmark of that building. A well-balanced building is a basic thing in the interior décor of the building.

  • Types of Balance

To understand the principle of balance in a proper way, let’s just look at the three basic kinds that are employed in the interior décor of a building.

  • Formal of Symmetrical Balance

The most frequently employed and crucial approach to balance is symmetrical or formal balance in interior design in which a space is divided into two equal parts and mirrors each other.

For example, a pair of sofas or dining chairs facing each other and a center table in between them is a good example of symmetrical balance.

But, as, excess of everything is bad, in the same way, too much symmetry in any space feels very boring and rigid.

  • Asymmetrical Balance

In the interior design of a room or space, the most flexible approach to balance is an asymmetrical balance in which instead of using identical objects or applying a mirror effect, a balance is achieved in the visual weight of the things that are usually similar in dimensions, shape, and size.

Example: Placing a large sofa opposite a set of wingback chairs creates a visual balance.

  • Radial Balance

The most difficult approach to balance in interior design is the radial balance and in smaller spaces, it’s not an easy nut to crack. In radial design, a focal point is allocated and all the designs and objects are arranged around it.

Example:  A focal point, take it as a chandelier or a dining table, and all the things are decorated around it.

  • Tip for Interior Design

In interior design, balance also covers negative and positive spaces in any area. If in any room, there is a lot of negative spacing, then it will create an unfurnished and uncomfortable impression. On the other hand, filling your room with too many décor items and furniture would clutter the room creating an overcrowded and messy look.

By reducing the negative spaces between the objects, the room will look more inviting, more comfortable, and cozier.


In interior design, harmony is the sense of creating cohesion in theme, aesthetic, style, mood, and even in the personality of the space. In harmony, it doesn’t mean using similar things in the room that are of the same category, rath    er it means arranging and planning the things and elements in such a way that they complement each other.

Example: Use of the theme color of the room and décor elements of the same hue in such a way that they beautify and add complement to each other,  creates harmony in the style of the room, and spreads a glamorous vibe.


As in music, harmony cannot be achieved without maintaining rhythm, in the same way, in interior design, to achieve harmony, rhythm is necessary. Rhythm is actually a repetitive use of textures, colors, and patterns in order to create movement and visual interest that takes your eye along the room.

  • Example:

Using the same color in space at different steps and intervals creates rhythm. Yellow cushion covers on a sofa placed against a yellow color wall, compliment the beauty of the wall. A piece of art with a yellow hue looks amazing.

  • Rule of Three

“Rule of Three”, is a general rule in which a base (primary or neutral element) is picked and paired with two smaller textures, patterns, or colors. The best way to practice rhythm is to invest money and time in smaller things like photographs, cushions, artwork, and other accessories.

Proportion and Scale

The basic principle of interior design after going through harmony and balance is—Proportion and scale.  The scale actually deals with how the size of one element or item in the room affects, contrast, and compliment all the other objects in that room. Proportion is a more relative term and it deals with the general relationship among objects of different sizes.

Yes! It may seem a bit mathematical and scientific to you, but you just have to focus on the bigger view and rely on your own eyes that would guide you correctly.

  • Example:

If a large wingback chair is placed in front of a stubby coffee table, your eyes will give your brain an alarm, that it is not placed in the right order.


As balance and harmony, are the mainspring in any interior design, but if we follow just these two, our décor will become rigid and monotonous. So, to avoid all this, we use the principle of emphasis. Emphasis is just using a focal element (point) that anchors all the area. For e.g. it may be a beautiful chandelier in a common room.  

The principle of emphasis can be implemented in many ways in an interior design as;

  • A statement wall with bright colors and textured wallpapers.
  • A beautiful designer coffee table
  • A corner decorated for some special purpose as placing a rug and setting chairs on it.
  • A large window in the living room, with a beautiful scenic view.

In modern interior décor styles, accent lights are used in order to follow the principle of emphasis as they accentuate or focus on some particular point of the room, emphasizing it.


In the principle of contrast, there comes a sense of variety, playfulness, drama, and visual interest. There may be contrast in color combinations, the contrast in styles, the contrast in textures like glossy and matte paints, and contrast in patterns like florals with stripes. If the basic principle of contrast is missing in the room, it will give a dull, rigid, flat, and one-note look.

You must consider the size of the space while exercising contrast in different elements. Never use varying or large patterns for a small room. For a large space, you may use contrasting and clashing patterns.


In the basic principles of interior design, details come in last. Details all refer to the finishing touches in any interior design without which the design looks untidy, incomplete, impersonal, and boring. This principle requires the experts’ supervision as it demands high skill and talent.

This last step of interior design matters a lot. It gives to the freedom to make your living according to your interests, nature, personality, and mood.  The little things like the size and shape of switchboards, door knobs rugs, and throw pillows add life and character to your interior.

Detailing plays an important role in interior décor and should be implemented in a very keen and careful manner because if you don’t panic much and do it haphazardly and hastily, it will no doubt result in a space unfinished, and lacking in finesse.


These are the seven principles of interior design that are the mainstay in the décor of a home. I have tried my best to explain and cover all of them in an excellent manner. So, when you’re considering any interior design, you must keep in mind these basic principles on which the interior design relies on. Visit officedesigner.com for amazing interior design services. 

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