Design Considerations- 7 Steps to Your Perfect Space

Design Considerations- 7 Steps to Your Perfect Space

Why Interior Design is so Important to make your house YOUR Home

When we walk into a room we feed of the energy of the space. If it is well designed we feel at peace and calm, we almost don’t notice.

On the contrary, when we walk into a space that feels chaotic and imbalanced it can transcend and effect our mood and even the way we interact in the space, and with the people around us.

The goal of good interior design is to create a harmonious and cohesive space that is personable and feels aesthetically pleasing to you and anyone who enters your space.

Due to the internet and social media we have a huge amount of exposure to design and design elements. We are educated more than ever about what works and what doesn’t.

Interior design does not have to be expensive. You also don’t have to start with an empty space, from square one.

You can design on a budget and you can work with pieces you already have to create a space that feels awesome and representative of who you are.

Personalizing your space has many different aspects though.

It is about your lifestyle, your activities, needs and wants. It is also about your preference for a certain look and style, colors, elements and patters that you like within interior design.

The way you dress, how you cook,  approach your hobbies and who you are as a person can transcend into how you design your space and how you make it uniquely yours.

On the other hand, interior design is not just about personal preferences and style, you can prefer midcentury, traditional, eclectic or a farmhouse chic.

No matter what your style is, it comes down to key principles of interior design and the elements brought into the space to make a space work. 

Besides style and key principles of interior design you have to make sure that you follow a few project steps before you even consider any design and decorating choices.

Without them you won’t have the foundation to make well informed design and decorating choices.

If you have been following along and read the previous posts in this series you know how instrumental these first steps are. 

So far we have looked at the process to decide on how the house should work for all household members (function). The outcome of this step is an agreed upon list of activities, needs and wants the interior design should support.

Then we looked at the importance of looking at all the spaces and architectural details to decide on how each space can accommodate different activities.  

As a last step in building the foundation to make great design choices I gave you a framework of sustainable principles. 

As a result you have a 

  • a list with your agreed upon activities, needs and wants, 
  • a plan to connected them to the suitable spaces, and
  • a list of sustainable aspects you will apply to every design decision.

All this provides you with a  great foundation to determine every decorating choice you make, from where to place the sofa to what color to paint the walls.    

You can get creative and go wild designing all your spaces.

This is the last post in my series, and as far as I am concerned the most fun part, yet it also brings all the pieces from the previous steps together.

Design Considerations

This is the most creative step of the whole interior design process and your  choices can be a direct reflection of who you are.

Play with color, get creative, bring your personality into the process, take risk!

We will focus on the 4 most important principles of interior design. They cover the broadest range of design elements  to create a well-designed space that feels like it is truly well designed. 

The 4 core principles we cover in this post are balance, color, scale & proportion and rhythm & repetition.

There are a lot of rules in interior design as well. But really, they are more like guidelines.

Understanding these key principles of interior design is going to give you that foundation and that knowledge to understand when and how to break these interior design rules.

Balance

Balance is all about imposing a sense of structure onto a room. In a well-balanced room everything seems at the right place with a sense of order. The place exudes a pleasant sense of calm.

Balance can be created in different ways, through symmetry and asymmetry.

Symmetric Balance

Symmetric balance is created with elements that are repeated or mirrored along a central axis. Rooms with architectural elements, such as a fireplace or window that are centered within a wall offer the perfect backdrop for symmetrical design.

Symmetric design comes with pairs of things, an identical mirror or décor on each side of the fireplace or 2 identical bookcases on each side of a window.  

Asymmetric balance

Asymmetric balance is created with different elements, which still have similarity in color, form, or pattern.

A living room with a sofa on one side of the coffee table and 2 chairs on the other side would be asymmetrical. The set will be in balance through a common element between chairs and sofa, such as color, texture, or style.

Different size artwork on each side of the fireplace can create balance through their similar color palettes scheme or subject.

Looking at the floor plan and architectural elements to find the grounding elements in a room is a great start to decide on symmetrical and asymmetrical elements.

to bring it all together to a well balanced room at the end.

A room with only mirrored pairs and complete symmetry would be predictable and can easily feel a bit dull.   

If a room is having too many asymmetrical elements it might feel a bit noisy and restless.

Rooms which are balanced with symmetrical and asymmetrical design elements tend to be more interesting. The room should feel very natural without anything out of place.

Most rooms have symmetrical and asymmetrical elements to bring it all together and create a balanced, yet interesting space.

Type of balancing and style of design go together.

Color

What is your favorite color?

We all have one or a few, it might even have changed over time during different phases in our lives.

Color can mean many different things. It can mean lot’s of different colors, monochromatic with different shades of one color, saturated colors that pop, muted colors like pastels or even a black and white color scheme. 

Color Theory

Color theory is really science and art. It is the concept of how we perceive color, the message it communicates and how different colors evoke different emotions in us. Color theory explains the visual outcome when we mix, match or contrast colors.    

Different colors or color combinations evoke certain emotions:

  • Warm colors like yellows, reds, oranges feel stimulating and lively. A space with a warm color will be energizing and upbeat.
  • Cool colors like blues, greens, and purple feel more serene and calm. A space with cool colors incorporated will be more restful and relaxing.

A color wheel comes very handy when picking your favorite color pallet:

Primary Color Wheel Chart

Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are across from each other on the color wheel. When you choose one dominant color and you like to add a burst of color, try a complementary color to be on the safe side. Complementary colors usually work very well together.

Analogous Colors

Analogous colors are next to each other on the color wheel. Once you decided on your dominant color, add adjacent colors to the right or left to create more depth in your design.

Monochromatic Colors

Monochromatic colors include different shades of one color. Often this is referred to a black and white color pallet, but it really refers to any one color with different intensities and shades. This look can create a stunning design while it is very accessible and easy to use.

How To Get Started

Starting with at least 3 colors and shades will give you diversity to make a room interesting yet balanced and pleasant.

Create an element of interest through color and bring in an accent color and that reflects on your personality. Stick to the basic color principles and the color wheel as your tool.

Less is more approach is a good approach. Artwork, accessories on table and shelves throw pillows and blankets, can be a great way to add color. Any tactile items that can easily be switched in and out.

 E.g. choose a neutral color palette and choose one or two accent colors but don’t use too much of it.

Rather than just an accent color, you can also use color through statement pieces. This is bold and riskier since we are talking about a piece of furniture or other bigger items that are more of a commitments.

Modern, minimalist or contemporary design are great styles for statement pieces because there are not many accessories to work with to create design statements in these styles.

Do you want to have different styled rooms, different moods and color intensity?  Think about how to create a transition or a base color throughout the house to keeping it all together.   

Look for color trends on Pinterest and other outlets to get an idea what is happening right now and get a feel for different color palettes.

But be careful, don’t just go with a trend because you think you should, only go with a trend if it suits your personality. You will live in the space long after the trend is passé.

If you like change and trends, do it with accessories, things that are easily swapped out and don’t hurt your budget too much.

If you plan to do that plan your pieces and color palette appropriately. E.g have a base color palette for the more stationary pieces like furniture or big rugs that goes with different ‘trendy’ access colors.

How often do you want to change and shake up your home? Do you want to design once and be done with it or rather look at your home as a creative outlet (Like me)?

If you like to change out your place frequently, make sure you have places or platforms to give away or sell your “old trendy stuff”. Don’t give it to the landfill!    

Scale & Proportion

Scale and proportion are design elements used to define how the size of the room and that of the elements within the space relate to each other. 

Scale 

Scale looks at how each individual piece relates to the overall size of the room. It considers the size of each individual piece in the room to the size of the room. 

Scale is the bigger picture related to room size as a whole and proportion is relationship of sizes within the room.   

Proportion

Proportion refers to how well one piece relates to another, how different pieces fit together. Proportion is dependent on the other pieces that are brought into the design of a room.

How do the different pieces of a seating area fit together, the sofa, lamps, coffee table and chairs? 

Scale & Proportion is the interior design principle with the most ridged rules and guidelines.

There are set in stone rules that make sure your space feels cohesive. You want to stick to these rules to make sure nothing is too big or too small for the space.

Consider the size of the room and then how pieces of furniture, décor and accessories within the room are going to fit all together based on these rules.

How To get Started

Start with good measurements of floor and wall space. Best to create a floorplan.

Do you have a lot of blank walls, windows, walls interrupted with architectural details? Look at floor plan as well as vertical space.

Start with figuring out what rug size fits your space and zone of a room. One rule is that at least the front legs of the sofa or chairs have to fit on rug.

If a space has a lot of natural light you can be bolder with furniture size but always make sure to look at guidelines to get proportions of furniture rights. 

Never go just for the look. Always keep function and comfort in mind. If it is a space for conversation make sure not just you but people with other body shapes and abilities are comfortable too. 

When putting together groups of objects, use odd numbers like 3 or 5 and vary the height and size of each object, like a tired pattern to create balance and rhythm.

Another big challenge is picking furniture that is too big or too small. Decide on a size that makes most sense for every day and the size of the space, not just one day like Christmas or parties.

For those cases plan on extra seating that can be stored or used in other rooms and brought in.

There are a lot of rules of thirds or pairs of threes because it is aesthetically pleasing. Nevertheless these rules of scale and proportion create a flow where everything comes together.

Rhythm & Repetition

Rhythm and Repetition is all about creating a sense of movement and harmony throughout a space, allowing your eye to move through the space seamlessly.

It’s easy to identify a room that has great rhythm and repetition because your eye knows exactly where to go.

Repetition

Repetition means to use different elements, color or pattern throughout a space to create some sort of cohesion. 

Rhythm

Rhythm is the way your eye moves through the space. Rhythm relies on repetition because the eye is going to look for similar elements to draw it through a space, whether it is up and down, around the space.

Neither color nor pattern or texture should be the exact same but similar, so your eye creates the connection. Your eye is looking for these similar elements constantly. Create it so it creates a great sense of rhythm.

Vary the size of patterns is important. Use a larger pattern and then a small element, small dots, small stripes etc. To avoid that the space gets too busy you can introduce a solid element, a neutral piece.  

How to Get started

Choose a pattern you really like and start creating vignettes of pillows with similar patterns. Get bolder in your choices over time.  

Mix a floral with a more geometric print, like a strip or polka dot. Floral is very organic and fluid and contrasting that with something that is structured and geometric works very well. It’s the idea of opposites attracting each other.

Embrace variety and don’t do too much of the same thing. It’s going to look too one dimensional. Use the rule of threes to mix it up, have three different elements that have some similar principles is going to be a easy way to create that sense of rhythm in your space.

Look for patterns and repetition and rhythm in your current space and pieces.

Gather all your small pieces, pillows, artwork, accessories and start to identify patterns. You might find the same one color or pattern that you obviously like and have been using to decorate your room 

You can also find out where you have some gaps in your design this way. Add friends for lonely design elements, colors, patterns.

Finding your Personal Style  

Before you can apply these four core principles you have to know what your personal style is and how these principles fit into it.

How to find your style combine it with other styles and grow your personal style. Havenly, a online design service, has a great blog post with links to tons of images per style.

Interior Design Types: How To Find Your Perfect Style by Staci Sturrock. 

They also have the Havenly Style Quiz. By choosing images of designs you can identify your parent style and the substyles that will create a cohesive design overall four your personality.

It is rare that one person identifies with just one style. To figure out which styles to combine is to figure out first with which styles do you identify with the most. 

The type and mix of balance, color and rhythm & repetition you prefer is a indication of the style you like.

Style and these three core principles go together.

Your style can steer you to a certain color, preference in balancing your space and rhythm & repetition.  And the same is true vice versa.

Scale & proportion don’t rely on style but on the size of the room , same for all styles.

The rules for scale & proportion are set in stone and they are the same no matter your design style.

How To Get Started

Identify your style by looking around Pinterest, Instagram, other peoples homes. What pieces make you feel at home and peaceful yet invigorated?

Create a scrapbook in Pinterest of what you like and what you don’t like. Take a hard look to figure out what it is in each space that you like best.

Is it the architecture, a color, texture, patterns, specific piece of furniture? Create a list with what resonates with you and what not.

Don’t be too focused on a style at first just because you think that is what you like. Look at different rooms like living, bedroom or kitchen as a whole and not by style.

You might be surprised to find new design facets you are drawn to and it could open your eyes to embracing a new design style.

Go to the Heavenly website they have great design ideas by style and room. 

All the information we have gathered in the previous interior design process steps we incorporate into the Design Brief and add additional detailed information about budget and timelines. 

One of the best ways to complete a design brief is to start with a template that will help cover all the topics that need to be discussed.

The design brief needs to be very detailed to avoid any ambiguity later on in the project.  Both the designer and you need to be very specific to make sure everybody involved has the same understanding of  the desired results for the project.

If you don’t work a designer, the design brief is still very valuable as a project management tool. There will be times when it will be a big help to refer back to the information and decisions you laid out in the design brief. 

All design consideration should always link back to all details we gathered in the design brief: Function, Space, Sustainability and Preferred Style(s) and all other details.

I recommend  to hire an interior design professional that

  • has a great sense of aesthetics and good knowledge of the style and mood you pursue, and
  • is experienced in using sustainable design principles and pursues a holistic approach to their practice. 

Ask for references and samples of their work.

There are online services now as well. The extend of service can be adjusted to your budget.  Not only do you get professional advice but they also have so much insight in choices for furnishings and finishes.

Finding the right materials and products is always daunting. Let somebody help you…

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