Elements of interior design

The principles and elements of texture in interior design are essential methods and tools for designing spaces as Chip and Joanna Gaines know. Some of the world’s greatest interior design elements disregard the principles and home design elements of interior design and are praised for proving them wrong. However, unless you are confident in taking such risk, it is best to abide by the rules so that you too can create stunning interiors that sweep people off their feet!

In this article, we will discuss the 8 elements of space in interior design: space, form (shape), pattern, line, light, texture, scale, and color. We’ll also dive into the 5 principles of design: balance, emphasis and focus, rhythm, proportion and harmony, and unity but we are saving that for another article.

My approach is through the use of examples featuring Jonna Gaines’s design work from HGTV’s, Fixer Upper,  followed by a brief description of each principle and element of design as well as how it was implemented and why it made it a difference!

Contemporary interior design involves much more than deciding which pillows and drapes tie the room together — although those elections still matter. At Frankel Building Group, we believe interior design is both science and art! It has to do with how our brains and bodies react to the space around us. And it’s the job of an interior designer to shape those feelings or sensations in a positive direction that makes someone want to spend time in a room.

To do this, interior designers utilize certain artistic methodologies that “trick” our minds or, at the very least, reshape how we perceive interior spaces. It’s much more of a mind game than people realize.

Luckily, you can utilize the 7 core principles form in interior design to decorate your home.

  • Space
  • Lines
  • Form or Shape
  • Pattern
  • Light
  • Color
  • Texture

Let’s discuss these building blocks and how they can help you begin your journey to creating the home interior of your dreams.

The 7 Elements of Interior Design

The main elements of interior design are well documented. But some have been forgotten about in the rush to discover a new product, designer or business. Today we’re going to look at the seven elements of interior design that you’ll need to look at when designing any room or property.

So in no particular order, let’s get started…


What space do you have? Negative or unfurnished space is as important as the furnished. You don’t have to fill every available space of course, and it’s wise not to overpopulate a room with furniture and accessories.

In small spaces you can put large objects in, to fool the eye into thinking it is larger space. You see this a lot in the hallways. Large pots in corners, Huge artwork, etc.

In long rooms consider splitting up the room to create different areas of interest. Also, think of what the room gets used for.

If a spare room is mostly used as a study, despite having a spare bed, put the desk in the area with the most light.  Be practical.  You need to be able to move around each object and sit down without knocking into things.  It’s simply ergonomics but it does need to be thought about.


How much light do you have in the day (sunrise, midday, and dusk)?  Really evaluate where your light is coming from.

Then you can look at what color applications will enhance that space.

Consider ambient lighting at night (the most important part of the day) for some. When I think of light I often think of shadow.  The light streaming in is great for every room but where doesn’t it hit?

If you are going to light places with no direct daylight, you need to work out what works best –  wall, floor, or overhead lighting. then plan accordingly, early on in the scheme.


The Basics of Decorating in Contemporary Style





What does the room lend itself to – furnishing wise?

How can you accentuate good shapes with color and hide bad shapes and other flaws?

Alcoves, fireplaces, L-shaped rooms can all appear in awkward places within a home.  Most alcoves are tailor-made for bookcases and it’s rare to see either side of a fireplace not populated with built-in joinery, heaving with books.

Larger alcoves make perfect places for TV screens, either with a base of fastened to the wall behind. Utilize what you have.


This is harder to work with but in essence, you can enhance good lines (beams, windows) with furniture running along the same line.

Roche Bobois Paris - Interior design & Contemporary furniture

Blocking these lines can jar the eye as diagonals generally make people feel uncomfortable!

Working on the right angles is a very simple way to make things appear symmetrical even if they aren’t.

Accentuate the furniture with rugs and artwork running along the same lines as the furniture.


As important as lighting, color is often the defining attribute of a home.  Some go overboard. Some stick to neutrals.

If you go for the latter, think about applying three shades to different walls to project some depth and keep the space interesting.


elements of interior design

Color effects size so apply it carefully. Use a darker color to bring walls closer and lighter tones to widen a room.

Don’t forget to paint woodwork and especially ceilings which are often called the fifth wall.

Choosing a different color for these areas as opposed to white is one of the best decisions you can make.

It can really change a room’s feeling but not in an abrasive way.


Not as easy as people think.  The pattern can be about texture too but more of that in a moment. Think about prints and patterns and use the ‘repetition in design’ trick.

Radiators with vertical finishes can be duplicated by using stripes in window treatments, cushions and rug designs.

Don’t be afraid of using print with print either.  It takes guts but can be very rewarding and unique. Not every pattern has to have symmetry or indeed match. Leopard spots and freckles work naturally and they both have a non-symmetrical pattern.


What Is Your Decorating Style? Take the Interior Design Style Quiz ...


If curtains, sofas, cushions are all silk and shiny, for example, the overall harmony is not as good as multi-textured. When considering texture, try and bind the scheme together to give a uniform look throughout the house, so it looks like one.

Similar to a hotel suite – the bedroom and sitting room work seamlessly together, despite being for different uses.

Texture can be many things. Leather, fur, wool, felt,  silk, cotton, bouclé, sheer, wood, porcelain, mirror, marble, metal, concrete, paper, or glass.


elements of interior design


Make good use of them all and don’t stick to the same things in each of your designs.

Actual Texture

This is how a material truly feels. For example, silk feels smooth, whereas linen can be crisp and rough. Leather, on the other hand, is also smooth but looks completely different from silk.

Visual Texture

Visual texture is how something appears to feel to your eyes. For example, stone wallpaper isn’t exactly the same as actual stone, but it gives the illusion of stone, which is more rustic and traditional than it is modern.

High-quality interior design will always be based on some combination of these 7 factors. When you know how to mix, match, and balance colors, lines, and space effectively that’s when you can truly transform your home into something you would have never imagined.