5 Basic Design Principles Every Homeowner Should Know

Go back to basics with these tips and tricks

Photography: Vincent Coscolluela

A beautifully decorated space, much like everything else, starts with understanding the basics. While there is nothing wrong with trying out trends and new techniques, it's always best to know the fundamentals of design by heart before exploring new terrain. Not only that, learning the essentials provides you with a straightforward space that serves as a canvas for experimentation without losing its appeal. 

If you want to learn more about key style elements, here are some important notes to remember: 

1. Layer the lighting. 

Remember, lighting is what gives the room dimension and depth. Start with ambient lighting—preferably yellow—which can help set the mood. Follow it with task lighting for specific purposes like reading and finish off with accent lighting which you can use to highlight an expensive piece or an artwork. 

2. Always consider the negative space. 

The negative space is the area that's not taken up by any subject like a blank wall or an empty nook. Resist the urge to fill every space as this will only lead to a cluttered look. Don't forget, less is more—just because a bunch of stuff fits on a console table, doesn't mean each piece needs to go there.

3. Display decorations in odd numbers.

Similar to the rule of thirds in photography, the idea of this concept is to have objects in varying heights or textures in groups of three. According to designer Cecilia Walker (as told to Lifehacker), objects that are arranged in odd numbers are more appealing and memorable. 

4. Balance is everything.

It is no secret that without balance, a space tends to go sideways—looking chaotic. Achieve symmetry through the use of pattern, arrangement of furniture and color. For example, if you have a yellow statement chair in one corner of the room, balance it out with another sunny piece on the opposite end. 

5. Pay attention to the details. 

Small acessories found in well-designed spaces are the frosting on the cake—without it, the room would be incomplete. Whether it's a printed thow pillow or an artwork, make sure that everything you add contributes to the overall look of the room instead of clashing with your initial composition. 

SOURCES: Lifehacker (How to Use Basic Design Principles to Decorate Your Home), Hatch (Principles of Interior Design Part 1: Balance), Launchpad Academy (7 Principles of Interior Design)

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