7 Basic Principles of Interior Decorating

Principles of Interior Decorating

Whether you are an experienced interior decorator or an amateur just getting started with an online interior decorating course, you will have to understand the basic principles of interior decorating.

Once you understand these principles you’ll have the fundamental knowledge to turn any space into a warm and inviting, yet practical, home.

So, let’s dive into the seven fundamental interior decorating principles that you need to know!

The 7 Principles of Interior Decorating


Interior Decorating Principles Symmetry

Balance and harmony are the cornerstones of interior decorating.

You need balance to have harmony in any space you want to decorate.

There needs to be this feeling of unity in the space. So, you’re already achieving balance by creating an aesthetically pleasing and comfortable home. It’s all about starting out by assessing the size and shape of the room. You’ll want to ensure that furniture is placed in proportion to the size and shape of the room and that it’s not overcrowded.

Symmetry and repetition are your friends here, as this will help you find balance while interior decorating. It’s also important to consider the room’s flow by ensuring that pathways are left between furniture, and traffic can move effectively throughout the room. While it sounds like it’s more for easy navigation, this is a key factor in creating balance. With a little bit of planning, you can create a balanced and harmonious home that you and your family will enjoy for years to come.

Color Theory

Interior Decorating Principles Color Theory

Color Theory is one of the most powerful tools an interior decorator can use to create a stunning interior.

Color Theory is powerful, as this is going to help create an atmosphere, express a mood, and convey a message.

Color is powerful, and it has a way of showing off this power when enclosed in a space. It’s perfect for creating a sense of balance and harmony when used correctly; plus, it can transform a dull room into a magnificent masterpiece.

Before decorating your space, especially before adding loads of color, you’re going to first want to get a general idea of what each color can do.

For example, cool colors such as blues and greens tend to be calming and relaxing, while warm colors such as reds and oranges are energizing and stimulating.

Of course, this isn’t all in terms of color, as colors have relationships with each other and the light surrounding them.

For instance, a room with a lot of natural light will appear brighter, while a room without natural light will appear duller.


Interior Decorating Principles Lighting

Lighting can transform a space and evoke a certain atmosphere in the room.

While there are many factors that set that mood, the atmosphere and lighting are going to have the biggest impact.

You’re going to want to consider the type of lighting to use for a room, as different styles and forms can have different effects.

For example, ambient lighting is used to fill the room with a general level of illumination, while accent lighting can draw attention to specific parts of the room.

You’ll want to focus on the natural lighting inside your home, too, as this is the best lighting!

During the day, light can help create a bright and cheerful atmosphere, while at night, it can give the room a calming and cozy aesthetic with the help of window treatments.

Last but certainly not least, you must remember that lighting can also draw attention to certain elements in a room. For example, strategically placed accent lights can make artwork or furniture stand out.

Proportion and Scale

Interior Decorating Principles Proportion

Proportion and scale go hand in hand, as you can’t have one without the other.

When decorating a space, you have to consider the relationship between the sizes of objects, their distance from each other, and their relationship to the environment.

Together, proportion and scale will help you create a sense of balance that will be needed in your home or any space, for that matter.

When it comes to finding the right proportions for your home, it’s important to consider both its interior and exterior elements.

This can include things from furniture to artwork. Start by mapping out the space and noting the size and scale of the various items.

Just think about it, if you have a small living room and a large couch, it will automatically make the space feel cluttered and uncomfortable.


Interior Decorating Principles Focal Point

When you walk into a room, your eyes will usually scan the space and pause to notice focal points.

If there is no dominant element, the space will become dull and boring to look at.

For this reason alone, emphasis needs to be put into place. You can have all the finest decor, but if there isn’t an emphasis, then everything will look the same. 

Every room needs a focal point, so the other decor within the space should revolve around this point, guiding the viewer’s eyes to different areas of the room.

By focusing on placement, contrast, and isolation, you will be emphasizing the eyes and the space!


Interior Decorating Principles Texture

Texture provides visual interest; it gives the room a unique and inviting appeal.

It prevents the room looking “flat.”

There are so many different textures to incorporate into interior decorating, and exploring these different textures is a great way to add some dimension and contrast to your space.

You’re going to want to think about fabrics such as velvet, silk, cotton, fur, feathers, and suede, as these give a luxurious and inviting feel to a space.

You can also use texture to create contrast within a room. For example, using texture to create contrast between a rug and the wall can also add depth and interest to a room while breaking up the walls’ monotony.

By exploring the different textures available, you’ll be able to create a warm and inviting space filled with character.


Interior Decorating Principles Patterns

Every space not only needs a splash of color, but it also needs patterns to help break the norm in the space.

Patterns are one of the most effective ways to add texture, color, and dimensions to space simultaneously.

On top of that, it also gives it character, charm, and a unique design that you’re just not going to find anywhere else!

There are so many ways that you can incorporate patterns, such as using patterned fabrics to add a touch of luxury (perfect for adding some sophistication to furniture, too), or you can go beyond that and create a bold statement by incorporating patterns in your art, such as prints.

When considering patterns, it’s important to consider the space’s size, scale, and color palette. This is key for interior decorating, and having a general theme helps too. You’re going to want to focus on keeping a cohesive style. So, limit your pattern choices to two or three colors.

Want to learn more about Interior Decorating?

Here at the Interior Decorating Institute we offer a range of interior decorating courses and an interior decorating certification.
If you’re ready to keep learning, but unsure what course to take, we’ve created our interior decorating course quiz to find out what course is right for you…

Confused about what interior decorating course to take?

We’ve created an interior decorating course quiz to find out what course is right for you…

Interior Decorating Courses

Interior Decorating Career Guides

Other Interior Decorating Blogs

You May Also Like...