The art of interior design is all about combining and balancing the core elements of form, space, line, light, color, pattern, and texture. Put together, these elements do not just create an aesthetic but also feelings and experiences. The following is a brief description of the core design elements and their applications in interior design.
Form is another word for shape, and it is a fundamental design element. Each item in a room has its own shape, of course, but the combination of items also creates a shape within the space of the room. Studies have shown that rounded shapes, like a Fombag, create feelings of comfort and happiness, while squares and rectangles tend to make people feel stable and safe.
Space is like an artist’s canvas for an interior designer. Every piece of furniture or item of decor has to fit into a three-dimensional space bounded by walls or the invisible borders of other rooms. When designing space, it’s important to consider how the arrangement of objects can facilitate movement through the room.
The next core element of interior design is the line created by any visual element in a room. Lines are made by planes (like tabletops, walls, and windows), and they interact to form angles. Line influences perception and feeling. For example, horizontal lines are stabilizing, and they can draw the eye to a focal point. Vertical lines make people think of freedom and aspirations.
Whether it comes through a window or shines from a carefully placed lamp, light is a crucial element of interior design because it not only determines the functionality of the space, but it also affects how the eye perceives colors. In addition to natural sunlight, several other types of lighting contribute to interior design. Task lighting increases visibility for working or reading, while accent lighting draws the eye to an element of decor. Mood lighting provides a warm or cool tone that adds to a room’s ambiance.
Color is perhaps the most obvious design element and the first one non-professionals tend to think of when they picture designing a room. Color can have both obvious and subtle influences on interior design. In obvious ways, color dominates an aesthetic and evokes strong emotions. But it also serves to pull together many disparate elements to create a unified look.
Pattern is a design element that complements color. Patterns are made of color, shape, and repetition, and they can add not only a pleasing variety to the visual appeal of a room, but they also create feelings of abundance and joy. Patterns need to be chosen with an eye to the size of the space as a busy pattern in a small area can be overwhelming.
The final core design element is texture, the surfaces of the objects that people experience through touch. Surfaces can be rough like tweed, soft like old linen, or smooth like glass. Textures influence the way people interact with a room, and they also contribute a visual element, adding depth to a superficial perception of color.
Whether working on your own or with a professional, you can express your personality through interior design and create your ideal living space. When the core design elements are in balance, any room is a pleasure to inhabit.