Learning and Applying Interior Design Basics
The process of learning to understand and properly apply interior design often takes years of formal study, or on-the-job training. Many people attempt it only to fail miserably. The sad thing is that, unfortunately, many of these people don’t even realize what they are doing. They are just happy to hack away. Understanding the basic principles and elements of interior design is a critical first step to succeeding. Whether you do or not really comes down to who you ask. In most people’s minds, the bottom line is whether you successfully create living spaces that you are comfortable in. Someone else will always have a different idea of what a successful design should look like. There will always be someone who thinks your design doesn’t work. And as in most other endeavors, it is nearly impossible to please everyone.
Interior design is not an exact science, but there are principles to pay attention to along the way. As you learn to apply those principles you’ll notice that you start to look at your rooms differently. You will start to notice symmetry, or the lack thereof. You will find yourself paying closer attention to the details, to how art pieces, sculptures, chairs, vases, bookshelves and other things are located in a space. Your eye will develop a keenness for arrangement, orientation, shape and color.
One of the best ways to remember the principles of interior design is to try to apply what you learn to the specific spaces in your home or some other location that you are familiar with. Think about something you see or know where that principle is in use. This will help cement the concept in your mind. This may go without saying, but it is always a surprise to me how many times a person will learn something from a book, or from the internet, or even from a live teacher and forget to make application to their own life or surroundings. Don’t be one of those people, apply what you learn so it sticks.
One of the basic principles of interior design is balance. It is how things feel. If you look at a room that has symmetrical balance you would find that the feeling in the room is achieved by the way things are placed on each side of the room. You will likely have an intuitive sense of whether a space is in balance or not. In extreme instances of symmetrical balance you will find an almost mirrored reflection of one side of a room to the other. I was recently in an office where there was a fireplace on the far wall. To each side was an identical bookcase. In front of the fireplace was a desk with two identical large vases on each side. In front of the desk were two identical chairs. Draw a line down the middle and you have extreme balance. This is a very formal and traditional approach.
On the other hand, asymmetrical balance uses weight and color to achieve the desired result. This is a wonderful way to achieve balance because it lends itself to a larger variety of mixed objects. You could, for example, place a bronze figure on a surface with a balancing painting on the wall. No need to mirror, just compliment.
Because interior design makes our living spaces more comfortable and pleasing, it is certainly worth learning a little bit about it on your own, and when desired, involving the help of an expert.