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7 Core Principles of Interior Design

Empower your spaces – Explore the 7 unparalleled principles of interior design

Interior design is not just the creation of visual art; it involves systematic planning and use of scientific principles to create visually attractive and well-functioning spaces. In this article, we have listed the seven core principles interior designers use to create a stylish and cohesive space. So, let’s take a look.


In interior design, balance refers to the creation of a visual equilibrium. All accessories and furniture are distributed equally in a balanced space, and every part of the room carries the same visual weight. When aiming to create balance, pay special attention to the placement of objects, their shapes, size, texture, and colors.

Depending on personal preference, you can achieve three different kinds of balance:


  • In symmetrical balance, designers aim to create a mirror effect by placing the same objects on each side of the room. Symmetrical balance gives the room a formal and disciplined look and is ideal for study or living room.

One example of symmetrical balance is the placement of identical lamps on both sides of the bedside tables. Or placement of the same number of identical chairs across a conference table.


  • Asymmetrical balance creates equal visual weight across the room without a mirror effect. This approach allows designers to decorate the space with different objects without duplication. Asymmetrical balance creates a more chic and contemporary design. To visualize asymmetrical balance, think of placing an ottoman next to a three-seater sofa.

Radial Balance

  • Radial balance refers to the placement of objects around a central focal point. In radial balance, all objects appear to radiate from the focal point. A fireplace is a good example of a focal point. To achieve radial balance, place all the furniture and accessories front-facing the fireplace.

Unity and Harmony

  • Unity and harmony refer to creating a cohesive effect so no single object stands out. To create a harmonious effect, all objects should work together and complement each other. Analyze the texture, color, style, and size of the objects. The objects should complement one another and work together to enhance the theme of the room. The placement of objects also matters in creating an integrated design.

For example, a vintage grandfather clock will appear odd in a colorful boho-themed room. It would disturb the natural flow and harmony of the room.

  • You can create a harmonious living space by grouping furniture, using similar colors and textures, and creating a focal point. This ensures a smooth flow throughout the room where nothing sticks out.


  • In interior design, rhythm can be described as a visual repetition of a pattern. Experts opine that every object in this world has a vibration. Interior designers use these vibrations to form a collective rhythm that creates a harmonious living space. Rhythm is usually created by repeating a decorative design strategically throughout the room.

Listed below are some simple ways to incorporate rhythm in your home:

  • Decorate your wall with a radial patterned wallpaper. To compliment it, add radial accent hanging lighting accessories.
  • Use the same tapware finishes in the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Place the same cabinets in all rooms to create consistency throughout the house.
  • Use similar wood tones for all your furnishings.
  • Use the same type of finish across all polished spaces. Choose between brushed brass, brushed gunmetal, brushed copper, matte black, or white, depending on your taste.

You can create a beautiful and functional living space by incorporating balance, harmony, and rhythm. A professional interior designer understands how to implement these principles in individual spaces.

Proportion and Scale

  • While decorating a room, interior designers aim to create a balanced look where all objects are proportionate to each other and no object appears odd. To achieve true balance, the objects’ size, shape, color, and form should be in coherence with each other.

Think of proportion as the relationship between two objects, while scale describes how one object’s size relates to the other. For example, the kind of furniture you choose will be determined by the room size. Bigger rooms with high ceilings can accommodate bulkier furniture; however, a large coffee table in a small kitchen would look disproportionate.

  • Proportion and scale can be achieved with colors and patterns as well. For example, interior designers use different shades of the same color for rugs, cushions, and accessories to create a sense of balance.


  • principles of interior designThe concept of emphasis is similar to creating a radial balance. To create emphasis, designers choose one focal point that instantly captivates the attention. Depending on the theme of the interior decor, a focal point can be created with a large piece of abstract art, a magnificent coffee table adorned with bright-colored accessories, a dramatic fireplace, or vivid wallpaper that drapes the accent wall.

Both color and texture can be used to create a focal point. Emphasis gives a sense of balance to the room and gives it a chic character.


  • Contrast is the practice of pairing polar opposite colors and textures to create visually striking spaces. Contrast adds drama and intrigue to a monotonous space. To create contrast, designers combine light or dark, warm or cool colors. Contrast can also be created by grouping big and small objects.

Contrast is usually the opposite of balance and symmetry, so it is important not to overdo it. Too much contrast can make the space disorderly. Usually, for the average room, designers aim to pair contrasting colors and objects in only part of the room.


  • Until now, we have discussed the principles that focus on space planning and macro designing. Now, let’s talk about details, which can also be considered micro-designing. Attention to detail ties the whole design together, gives it a finished and polished look, and enhances the aesthetics of the space.

Attention to detail requires special focus on the colors, patterns, and textures of bedding, curtains, switchboards, doorknobs, tapware, cabinet handles, kitchen and bathroom accessories, door handles, lighting fixtures, placement of indoor plants, accessories, artwork, etc.

  • Details add a personal touch to the home and give it its unique appearance. To enhance the beauty of your home, pay attention to minute details and how elements can be united to create a more synchronized effect.

You can create a beautiful and functional living space by incorporating these seven principles of interior design. A professional interior designer understands how to implement these principles in individual spaces.

House and Harmony is a professional interior designing firm. We offer full-service interior design services in San Diego and Carlsbad, California. Fifteen years of industry experience and hundreds of happy clients are proof of our excellent interior home design services. We offer turnkey solutions and care for all interior home design project components. For more information, call us at (858) 432-6800 or visit our website.

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