The 3 Primary Interior Design Principles - Vanilla & Ebony
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The 3 Primary Interior Design Principles

16 Jun The 3 Primary Interior Design Principles

A beautifully decorated interior space should be highly functional but also evoke a mood and show off the personality of its inhabitants. By adhering to the three primary interior design principles of function, mood and personality, you can ensure styling success.

Prior to painting and redecorating, first consider your family’s lifestyle and design preferences. Gather inspiration from magazines and websites such as and and save ideas that appeal to you. Study your favourite items from around the house for colour hues and perhaps hues to the mood you’re hoping to inspire in your home. This is the beginning of a well-planned living space.

primary interior design principles


Home styling is more than just eye appeal, it’s about making a room work for you. From ensuring the placement of furniture doesn’t impede foot traffic, to creating a focal point, a room’s function is important.

Sometimes rooms have natural focal points such as a fireplace, a bay window with a view or maybe even a large built-in bookcase. If the room doesn’t have one of these natural focal points, create one with a dynamic piece of art or a dynamic rug.

Determine whether furniture satisfies the functions you have imagined for the room. If a piece is too large or too small for the size of the room, trade it for something else around the house that may fit more appropriately.

Lighting should be chosen for the functions of the room along with visual appeal. Every task requires either direct lighting from a lamp or indirect lights that simply brighten a room for general activity. Accent lighting, such as recessed spotlights and track lighting, enhance texture, colour and room details.

primary interior design principles


A room’s mood is created by light, your choice of colours, style of furnishings and accessories. Because there are so many design elements to consider when creating a mood, establishing a theme through the selection of an inspiration piece can make this part of a decorating project more interesting and fun.

Consider an inspiration piece. The easiest way to decorate is to begin with a single source of inspiration. A decorative pillow, magazine photo or statement armchair are examples of good places to begin. This item will become the basis for choosing the room’s theme, colours, textures and patterns.

Analyse your inspiration piece and develop a theme name for it. For instance, a geometric tribal printed pillow may inspire a title like ‘modern tribal.’ Or a swatch of fabric with a botanical design on a black background may make ‘formal botanical garden’ come to mind.

Vary patterns and textures, as too much of the same pattern can become tiresome to the eyes. Mix prints up with stripes, florals, checks, geometric and plaid. Some prints even look dimensional and textured and therefore add depth. When using multiple prints, just be sure to keep background colours the same and vary the sizes of the patterns.

primary interior design principles


Now’s your chance to put your personal stamp on a well-designed room. Here are some strategies:
Try the unexpected. Interest doesn’t have to be whimsical, although it certainly can be; it can simply be something unexpected in a room, like a timber ceiling and a polished cement floor. Throw visitors a curveball in an otherwise sterile environment with unexpected fun elements.

Use vases, pillows, personal photos, international purchases and rugs as an integral part of a great decorating plan. Usually they should support your theme, but allow more flexibility here; an antique picture frame could add wonderful variety to a contemporary room. Accessories can be found anywhere in a room, from shelving to walls to floors.

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