Before an interior designer goes ahead with a client, it is important to know how they perceive the 7 elements and principles of design. We will explore these in detail as applying these elements well ensures we can come up with the perfect solution.


This is the foundational building block of any interior. It is fixed. In interior design space is 3-dimensional as you look at height, width and length.Space is divided into two categories:

Positive Space: A space with objects

Negative Space: Open / empty space

-Our job as professionals is to ensure that the two spaces are balanced – weighing up the clients requirements for functionality with our knowledge of aesthetics and the rest of the design elements.


When we talk about lines as it pertains to the elements of design we are referring to elements of a room- architecture, furniture and its perimeter.Lines can be horizontal– as shown in crown moulding and tables, which represent security and relaxation. These can create a sense of intimacy and harmony within a space.They can also be vertical– which raise our eye level and give the illusion of a room being taller. You can see this in an open-to-below front entrance and doorways.

Lines in architecture as depicted by photographer Tapio Koivula
Lines in architecture as depicted by photographer Tapio Koivula,


Form is the shape of the room and expresses linear and non-linear objects seen in artwork and in furniture. Furthermore, they can take two forms- Geometric or Natural

Geometric: These are often man-made and are often represented by hard-lines and squares

Natural: Represented by nature and can be curvy and abstract


Light is one of the first aspects we look at when a client comes to us for a consult. Just to indicate how important it is, try to remember the last time you took a good selfie with bad lighting! Light has the ability to draw attention to flaws in your paint work but can also enhance the atmosphere, accentuating the other elements and principles of design.

This picture shows how Regina Sturrock uses light to accentuate this beautiful tub
Regina Sturrock, one of my favourite Interior Designers, using light to accentuate this beautiful tub

With lighting make sure you consider the area you are working on. If you have a large skylight above your family room, for example, maybe you don’t need many pot lights in the area and would be better off relying on some valance lighting to set the ambiance.


When I think of colour relative to the elements and principles of design, the first word that comes to my mind is the mood. When you think of red, you automatically think of exciting, BOLD and intense. With blue, on the other hand, you think of serenity and peace.The job of an interior designer is to understand what the client is looking to do with a certain space because we want to use the colour in the room to evoke an ideal feeling. Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind what illusions colours can convey. Lighter colours such as turquoise can suddenly make a room look bigger than it is by reflecting colours and darker colours tend to do the opposite as they absorb the light.


Patterns are a repetition of design elements such as lines and shapes. They have the ability to make simple designs in a space pop. In addition, a patterned room brings together elements of lines, textures and colour together quite harmoniously.It is important to understand, however, that if you do not look for a delicate balance you can easily turn a space into a mess by overdoing it or by picking patterns that clash.


This is the feel of a surface or a finish. The easy way to differentiate texture from the other elements and principles of design is if you close your eyes and only had the sensation of touch. Just imagine you’re holding a smooth finished limestone in one hand and a rough faced one in the other.Moreover, Functionality is an important consideration with texture. We have seen far too many clients try to put polished floors in area with high foot traffic, which may look nice but can lead to injury!

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