The Chinese have known this for thousands of years, making it one of the guiding principles of Feng Shui. But for designers, Feng Shui is more than just mystical rules about improving energy. In fact, the four pillars of any successful interior design closely mirror Feng Shui’s basic tenets.
Whether you’re looking to improve your own home, dress up a space to help it sell, or make interior design your business, you would do well to remember the following four principles that make up the pillars of successful interior design.
Pillars of successful interior design #1
Let the space dictate the design
Too many people – amateurs and professionals alike – come into a space with preconceived notions about the things they want to do. This, however, is a mistake. In order for a design to truly work within a particular space, it needs to be planned around it.
In practical terms, this can mean any number of things for designers. If the space is limited or full of odd angles, you may have to think creatively about what kind of furniture is possible and consider unique pieces. It may even be necessary to have things built specifically for the space.
Lots of natural lighting may mean that fewer lamps and overhead lights are necessary, but it also means that you should plan around those spaces where the light enters to avoid blocking it with too many objects. It might also mean that the space ends up having excessive shadows if you’re not careful about where you place things.
Pillars of successful interior design #2
Allow everything to flow
Turn on HGTV or read any design magazine and you’ll see lots of talk about open space and open design. Most of the time what these people are really talking about is flow.
In interior design, flow is the idea that there should be a clear path through your living space and that everything should be highlighting this path and guiding people toward it rather than blocking their access.
It not only incorporates things like avoiding clutter and keeping windows and doors clear, but also not placing furniture or other objects in such a way that they become obstacles to moving through the space.
Pillars of successful interior design #3
Work for balance
Balance in interior design means a number of things. Practically, it means that you need to plan for the needs of the person living in the space without overdoing it and leaving them with nowhere to relax.
Aesthetically, balance shares similarities with your practical concerns in relating to the physical amount of objects in the space. Too few possessions and an area can feel cold, empty, and unlived-in. Too many and the very busyness becomes off-putting by being too cluttered and “full.”
But, of course, there are other aesthetic concerns with balance. If possible, it’s always advisable to strive for symmetry in object placement, since this creates a literal balance and a way to frame different parts of the room to convey a pattern.
Color is another important aspect in balancing a space, because you don’t want your choice to overwhelm the other elements of the design, but you also don’t want it to be so subtle that it blends into the background. Generally speaking, complementary colors are best, so that furniture and walls work together to enhance each other.
And finally, balance refers to the type of furniture or objects you use within a given space. While it’s possible to mix and match styles, take care that you do not make one area feel especially “heavy” when other parts of the room have smaller, daintier furniture. The distribution needs to feel even.
Pillars of successful interior design #4
Above all, your goal as a designer should always be to draw people in. Depending on the shape of the space, the available light, and other unique factors, there is no one right way to do this, but there are overall guidelines.
Warmer, softer colors and those that are more neutral tend to work better than colors that are very dark or very bright. People tend to find those colors either dreary or glaring, making them want to turn away.
Furniture can help to create an inviting feeling by appearing plush and comfortable, practically begging you to sit down and take a load off. In contrast, hard furniture with sharp angles tends to lead to perching and maintaining a sense of alertness and wariness.
And one of the best ways to create an immediately inviting space is also one of the easiest: keep lots of open space around your entrance. Depending on the design of the space, this might be more difficult (if, for example, a stairway greets visitors, or a narrow foyer), but a large number of modern homes open directly into living spaces. If this is the case for the space you’re working on, try to organize furniture and other objects in such a way that they keep a wide berth from the door.
Follow these four design pillars and you’ll be well on your way to having a space that looks and feels good.