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Elements and Principles of Design

Interior Decoration

  • Interior design is the art and science of enhancing the interior to achieve a healthier and more aesthetic environment for the user.

  • An interior designer is someone who plans, researches, coordinates, and manages such projects.


Types of Design

1. Structural design

Structural design is the structure of the object made by size, form colour of an object. It should be beautiful simple proportional and suited for its purpose.

2. Decorative design

Decorative design is the surface enrichment of the structural design by adding any colour or material to luxury. It should be used in moderation and with proper emphasis.

Elements of Design

  • It is designed as the visual components used in interior decoration

  • These elements are:

- Line

- Form

- Texture

- Colour


1. Lines

  • Lines gives birth to forms and shapes

  • Lines are categorised into three types-

- Horizontal lines (resting lines) adorn structures like tables, chairs and beds

- Vertical lines (ready to act lines) can be found on windows, door, almirahs

- Dynamic or (movement lines) add drama and can be seen on structures like stairs, floors.


2. Form

  • Forms mean shapes, an outline of any three-dimensional object in the space.

  • It is created by combining two or more shapes and can be accentuated with the help of other elements like texture, patterns and colours.


3. Texture

  • Texture refers to the roughness or smoothness of the surface of any object.

  • Textiles such as pillow cover, bed spreads or drapes, wall paint or wallpapers have a texture.

  • Silk, damask satin gives a formal texture while muslin, furs, tweeds gives informal texture.


4. Colour

  • Colours establish an aesthetic connection between objects and set the mood.

  • Colours must be chosen based on the psychology of the guest.

  • Eg; Red is an excellent choice for dining room as it encourages appetite and blue for bedroom as it helps in destressing.


Principles of Design

  • Ways of arranging and organising elements of design is called the “Principles of Design”

  • Elements of design are used according to the principles of design.



  • It stresses on the fact that there should be a sense of uniformity or harmony among all the elements used.

  • All the elements used should complement one another.

  • A good understanding of alignment of objects, similarity of colour/ pattern/ texture, proximity (spacing) of objects to be kept in mind.



  • Balance refers to equal distribution of objects in a room to create visual balance

  • It is created by grouping shapes and colours around a centre that there are equal attractions on both sides from the centre.


Types of Balance

  • Symmetrical/ Formal Balance

  • Asymmetrical/ Informal Balance

  • Radial Balance


A. Symmetrical/ Formal Balance

  • Formed by placing objects of equal weight on each side at equal distance from the centre.


B. Asymmetrical/ Informal Balance

  • Formed by placing objects on either side which are unmatched but still visually balanced.

  • These balances are lively, more energetic and natural

  • Informal balance is more creative than formal.

  • Informal balance lets us stay interested.


C. Radial Balance

  • Objects are placed around a central focal point either outward or inward.

  • They are mostly circular and used in round rooms, dining rooms, swimming pool, atrium, conference room or staircases at times.



  • The principles of scale and proportion ensure that objects placed in a space look like they belong to each other. Be it the size, dimension, shape or colour of the objects, a harmony should be established between them and a proportion has to be maintained.

  • Example: A high ceiling environment implies that high rise furniture should be preferred over low-rise furniture like ottomans.



  • Also known as Focal Point.

  • This can be achieved by placing central piece of art, unusual texture or furniture that grabs attention of a space.

  • Elements must be used in such a way that the focal point dominates the rest of the décor items and pulls the room together.



  • Rhythm refers to movement.

  • It is a visual flow that makes the eye move smoothly across the room.

  • It may be rhythmic or organised.


Rhythm may be attained by:

A. Repetition

  • Repetition of elements of design like colours, line, shape, texture in an organised way.

B. Alternation

  • This is created by placing two or more elements in alternative platform.



  • Accessories are additional furnishings needed to make room viable or attractive.

  • It includes small objects both functional and decorative.

  • Eg; Richly coloured vases



  • Books and magazines

  • Clocks

  • Lamps

  • Pictures

  • Mirrors

  • Wall hangings

  • Small art objects

  • Flower arrangements



  • Wall – paintings, masks, carpets

  • Shelves – ceramics, toys

  • Floors – planters, statues, pots

  • Tables – ashtrays, vases

  • If figured or decorated place against plain wall



  • Use accessories in moderation

  • Use according to season and theme

  • Use paintings at eye level

  • Use bright colours to create a focal point

  • Place mirrors in case of empty space

  • Keep balance in mind

  • Plain surfaces – place patterned accessories

  • Patterned areas – plain accessories

  • Shiny textures – dull textures

  • Room with straight lines – curved lines

  • Calm room – bright and bold accessories

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