Principles of Design

As we discussed in the previous page about Design Elements, design is the informed and organized arrangement of one or more elements and principles such as line or direction for a purpose.

Awareness of the elements and principles in design is the first step in creating successful home design. These general and well-known design principles, which may and can overlap, are used in all visual design fields, including architecture, interior design, graphic design, industrial design, web design, and fine art.

When it comes to modern design, the principles of design in general are as varied as attitudes meaning that they differ both between the schools of thought that influence certain design and between individuals themselves such as residential designers or architects.

These design principles govern the relationships of the elements used and organize the composition as a whole. Successful design incorporates the use of the principles and elements to serve the designer or architect's objectives or visual goals. There are no rules that restrict their use. It's the architect or designer's purpose and intent that drives the decisions made to achieve the appropriate scale and proportion and even the degree of harmony and balance between elements. So in short, the design principles are the technical and artificial methods we use to produce designs; home architectural or interior design beauty.

These principles of design consist of:

  • Unity
  • Harmony
  • Contrast
  • Repetition (Rhythm, Pattern)
  • Variety (Alternation)
  • Emphasis (Dominance, Focal Point or area in a room's decor)
  • Proportion or Scale
  • Functionality
  • Attraction
  • Artistic Unity
  • Genuineness in Media and Form
  • Proximity
  • Color Theory
  • and De-cluttering
  • Organization and Harmonization Of Accessories

The Unity Principle

Unity refers to a sense that everything in the artwork belongs there, and makes a whole piece that, for instance, unity in a home design refers to the visual linking of various elements of the design. It is achieved by the use of repetition and balance. For instance, a quiet passive home by the beach or in the middle of nature, would benefit from an extensive use of horizontal lines.

Look at The Robie House on the University of Chicago campus designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright; can you see how he creates a calming environment to go with quite surrounding nature by using many horizontal lines to create calming environment? This is unity and this is what good designers or architects do, they use design  principals to invite peace.

The Robie House on the University of Chicago campus design by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Extensive use of Horizontal Lines Creates Calming environment.

The Robie House on the University of Chicago

This was just an example of exterior spaces. Another example would be uniting two interior objects like an office and a dining room. They can be unified by designing them with similar features like a shared floor design if they are open to each others.

Also, you can create unity between two far away objects by linking them with a bridge or a road. For example, if you to design a modern house, with flat top level with 2 rooms at each side of the top space, with empty space in between; the design would look "weird" and it will be striving for a sense of unity, but if you connect them with a beam, a thick beam; you will create unity and you will also add a feature that is found in most modern contemporary houses designs.

The idea that I'm trying to get to you is that 1) use your imagination, but let this imagination be guided by informed decisions, and 2) always always, justify things in at least 2 ways. For example, I have a thick large beam because it gives my house a modern look, and it also creates a unity between the two rooms on the top of my house; WOW you are now thinking like an architect.

The Balance Principle

Balance can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical depending on if the right and left sides are identical or not.  Balance in house designs also refers to a sense that dominant focal points are balanced and don't give a feeling of being pulled too much to any part of the design. For example, A large window close to the center of a wall can be balanced by a small window close to the edge of the wall. So balance can be balance by location of objects such as windows on a house, balance by volume or sizes of objects.

Also, we can achieve it by color.  For instance, desired brightness in a room. So balance by color refers to things as as balancing darker colors with lighter colors, or balancing bold colors with light neutral colors, or balancing natural colors and patterns with synthetic colors,etc..

to be continued...