Principles of Good Design

In this article I will provide you with a basic understanding of the guiding principles of good design.

It is first important to determine the function of a room.

Ask yourself some of these questions:

  • How long do you expect to stay in your present home?
  • Are there any children in the household?
  • Are there any pets?
  • What is the main function of the room?
  • What are the respective needs of each member in the household?
  • How often do you entertain and how many people at one time?
  • Is the overall space adequate?
  • How do you and your spouse/partner like to relax the most?
  • Is there space for leisure time activities for all the members of the household?
  • Is the overall storage space sufficient?

Next, it is important to determine your taste and style preferences.

  • What is your taste/style?
  • Eclectic
  • Traditional
  • Modern
  • Country
  • Cool & Airy
  • Casual Elegance
  • Something else?

Ask yourself some of these questions:

  • Does your partner share similar tastes?
  • What color scheme would work well?
  • What colors make you happy?
  • What intrigues you?
  • Do you have a favorite painting, pattern, area rug or similar item that you want to build the room design around?

Successful Budgeting
When decorating for the first time, it can be extremely difficult to determine how much to spend. Determine the maximum amount of money that you can spend and be sure that you are truly comfortable with this budget.

Next, list the 10 luxuries that would make your home feel more attractive to you and answer how and why will they make a difference. Be clear about your designs, needs, and preference of comfort and also be realistic about your ideas and how it effects the budget.

Helpful Tips
Look through decorating magazines and tag photos of rooms that inspire you. Select items that can be used to create a theme or be of interest for you and your family. Be sure to point out items that you dislike also.

Light defines space, creates atmosphere and sets the mood by which we live.

  • Natural light – daylight
  • Artificial light – general overall, ceiling, wall lights
  • Local; tasks – table lamps, floor lamps
  • Accent; decorative – eyeball, spots, up-lights, candles

Note: All colors and textures should be chosen in Natural light.

Form is that which fills space

  • Rectangles – simple shapes
  • Angles – dynamic shapes
  • Curves – balances the above

Note: Good design should employ a variety of forms.

Lines form all shapes, including furniture, and architectural space

  • Horizontal – great in small spaces
  • Vertical – lines are strong and direct
  • Diagonal – attract attention

In design today, texture is making a larger impact on our interiors than any other design element.

  • Visual texture – what we see without touching
    Ex: a black & white checkerboard floor may be smooth but, because of the contrasting squares, it has contrast depth
  • Wall Coverings & Faux Finishes can also provide overall design with lots of texture

Note: Variety in textures is necessary to keep a room from being boring

Helpful Tips
Select a color scheme that you would enjoy and would work best with your existing colors and compliment the natural light filtering into your home.

Select color chips from your local paint store

Explain how these colors make you feel and why they work best for you

Floor Planning
It allows an objective viewpoint from which to understand the size/scale of furniture placement that will maximize the space

Use graph paper to draw the measurements around the room including doorways and windows. Also, add in existing furniture placement. Consider traffic flow in & out of seating


  • Arrangement – Traffic pattern, obstructions
  • Function – Use of the room, frequent/constantly/seldom, Kids/pets/older adults
  • Proportion – Sized to fit the owners, Sized to fit the room
  • Style – Informal/formal, Cushy/firm/frilly or fancy/plain
  • Quality – Are you planning on keeping this furniture or do you see yourself changing it in the near future

To Accessorize or Not?

  • How does the room feel without accessories?
  • What type of accessories would you add to create a finished look?
  • What type of accessories do the trick?
  • Framed Art
  • Ambient lighting
  • Accent furniture
  • Accent pillows
  • Area rugs
  • Florals/Greenery
  • What purpose do they serve?
  • A well accessorized room can feel inviting while creating interest & conversation

Create interest with:

  • Shelves
  • Clocks
  • Shadow Boxes w/ mementos
  • Mirrors (consider what is being reflected)
  • Silk arrangements or natural greenery

Let’s B. R. A. G. G. About Your Space

  • Black, Brown, Navy Blue – separates color, restful to the eye
  • Rugs – adds warmth, anchors colors, defines space
  • Art & Accessories – Adds your personality & accent color
  • Glass or Glitter – adds dimension & reflection to a room
  • Greenery – adds life to every room


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