Jessica | Balsam Hill Designer

Basic Principles of Interior Design

Basic Principles of Interior Design
Image by mrpuen /

Hiring design professionals allows you the luxury to sit back and witness your dream home come to life. But how well you communicate your vision of this dream home entails your own understanding of the language of interior design.

With these basic principles, homeowners can widen their vocabulary as they recreate their space:


The principle of harmony allows different design elements to converge into an overall look. In creating a theme for your home, ask yourself whether you want the design aesthetics to be classic or contemporary; or the décor to be timeless or trendy.

Furnishings and color schemes need not be the same in every room, but they do need to complement each other in order to exude harmony. For example, you can paint the master bedroom in the calming shade of Columbia blue, and accent it with off-white décor; then paint the baby’s room in a quirkier periwinkle, and accent it in white. The rooms may look different, but their color schemes match each other. This way, your eyes are not jarred by unexpected changes, but are instead eased into each room.


Balance is about arranging items equally within a given space. You can achieve symmetry by having two items mirror each other, such as matching lamps on similar end tables. This technique is usually seen in homes with a traditional style.

Asymmetry, on the other hand, is about placing two equally important objects that contrast each other, such as an ivory white sofa in one area of the living room and an ebony grand piano in another. This often adds a twist to contemporary homes.

The principle of balance allows you to take in various elements within the same space without being overwhelmed.


You can make each room memorable by repeating visual elements, such as accent pieces, throughout the space. If you want to create a rustic feel in your kitchen, for instance, place items that bring in the look and rhythm of country life, such as an old country kitchen cookie jar or a classic cuckoo clock.

Rhythm also lets you see traces of your theme in each room. For instance, individual vintage pieces, such as an old globe in your study and a cozy armchair in your living room, may adorn different spaces, but their resonance contributes to the old world charm of the entire home.

Focal Point or Emphasis

Anchor the design of your room on a specific point of interest. Living rooms can use large windows or the fireplace as their focal point.

The anchor may also be the exquisite chandelier in your foyer, the mural in your bedroom or, during the holiday season, the beautiful Balsam Hill Christmas tree in your living room. Standing out amid other furnishings, the focal point also serves as a good conversation piece.

Scale & Proportion

Scale and proportion refer to the size and shape of the objects against the size and shape of the space they occupy. Having large items in a small room, for instance, only serves to shrink the room even more. Scale your furniture relative to the size of the room, and ensure that the pieces do not crowd out each other. Instead of feeling claustrophobic every time you enter a living room with a daunting set of furniture, examine the scale and proportion of the room, and re-adjust your furnishings.

By keeping these principles in mind, you can learn to appreciate all the more the language of interior design. This, in turn, helps you communicate your design ideas and preferences easily to any professional.

About the Author
Inspired by my passion for the visual arts and my years of experience in the field of design, I enjoy a life of style and artistry. I am a devoted follower of minimalism and I believe in the marriage of form and function. I try to live by these principles, from my subtle but classic fashion sense when it comes to clothes and jewelry, to the various projects I manage and work on in my professional career Influenced by the refined grace of Coco Chanel, the timeless beauty of my favorite city, Stockholm, and the new ideas and trends I read from design books, I try to infuse my life with elegance and sophistication. Join me on Balsam Hill’s blog to get my tips and advice on home design and personal style.

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2 thoughts on “Basic Principles of Interior Design

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