5 Principles of Interior Design - Part I

by Wendy Holtorff - Date: 2006-12-21 - Word Count: 342 Share This!

Let's get back to basics, shall we? So many design resources jump right into picking the right color for your space. But I haven't seen many resources online that really start at the beginning. This series of articles will summarize the five principles that all designers learn in Interior Design 101. These are the first stepping stones to great design!

The first principle is Balance.

There are three styles of balance: symmetrical, asymmetrical, and radial.

Symmetrical balance is usually found in traditional interiors. Each side of a room is an exact mirror of the other. This symmetry also reflects the human form, so we are inately comfortable in a balanced setting. It lends itself easily to creating a focal point in a room, since wherever the "mirror" is placed, the eye will focus there. Since symmetry is so easy to achieve, be careful not to fall into a habit of laziness, which can lead to rooms that are dull and monotonous.

Asymmetrical balance is often used in contemporary rooms. It is more informal that symmetrical balance, and is sometimes referred to as active balance. As defined in "Inside Today's Home", asymmetry

"results when visual weights are equivalent but elements differ in size, form, color, pattern, spacing or distribution on either side of an invisible center axis."

Nature itself is never symmetrically balanced. Using asymmetrical balance in human spaces achieves a harmony with nature -- note the designs of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Falling Water, in particular, demonstrates this principle.

Asymmetry suggests movement, and leads to more lively interiors. There are no rules, per se, so it is much easier for the do-it-yourselfer to achieve. And frankly, it is more convenient in that it allows you to design the space more efficiently.

Finally, radial symmetry is when all the elements of a design are arrayed around a center point. The Guggenhem Museum in New York is an excellent example. A spiral staircase is also an excellent example of radial balance. Though not often employed in interiors, it can provide an interesting counterpoint if used appropriately.

Part II of this series talks about Rhythm.

Related Tags: design, balance, interior, principles, focus, rhythm, scale, series, harmony, proportion, emphasis

Wendy Holtorff is an interior designer living in Omaha, NE. Her passions include design, art nouveau, crafting and movies.

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