Interior Design: The Basics

Although interior design is a constantly evolving craft, some basic principles inform all design. These principles are so fundamental to good interior design that they form the basis of all our design projects.

By observing these principles, everything from a single room to an entire building can feel cohesive, balanced and functional. Norton Bespoke avoids chasing interior design trends and instead focuses on a timeless sense of style. To achieve this sense of eternal style, we focus squarely on the building blocks of good interior design. To give our clients a better understanding of our interior design choices, we’re sharing the rules of design that we always follow.



In any design – but especially in interior design – balance is a sense of equilibrium. We achieve equilibrium through patterns, colours, textures, and of course, through shapes.

There are three schools of thought on achieving balance:

-       Symmetry

Formal and traditional spaces often employ the symmetrical concept of balance. Symmetry is achieved by having a room evenly split into sides that mirror one another.

-       Asymmetrical

Asymmetrical or informal symmetry would seem, on a surface level, like a rejection of symmetry. However, the concept is trying to achieve the same sense of balance through the use of lines, colours and textures rather than through exact duplication.

-       Radial balance

This is a design choice that emphasises building a space around a central focal point. For example, in a dining room, the table will be the natural focal point. Therefore the rest of the design should be informed by this table to ensure an adequate sense of balance.



In the context of interior design, rhythm refers to the creation of contrasts and repetition to create a visually stimulating environment. This is often achieved by repeating the same colour or shape at varying intervals. Good interior rhythm should encourage a person’s eyes to move around a space. Good interior rhythm in a sitting room, for example, could be achieved by having the colour of the sofa cushions reflected in the choice of artwork and used again in a rug or in a separate piece of furniture.



Harmony is the process of having all the disparate elements in a room tied together to create a unified sense of space. While rhythm creates excitement and dynamism, harmony creates a sense of restfulness. A simple technique to ensure harmony is to use just one colour in a room. This creates a unified space even if the room is filled with different shapes and textures.



Not every feature of your room should be considered equally important. A room filled with attention-grabbing pieces will likely appear scattered and worse still, boring. Spaces need a point of interest like a fireplace or window area.


Proportion and Scale

Proportion is the size difference between objects while the scale is the relationship created by this size differential.  Some proportional relationships just work while others simply don’t.


The above is just a quick introduction to the fundamental rules of interior design. While individual principles are easy to understand and follow, interior design incorporates all these principles into an interior space. If you’d like to discuss the needs of your space with our Kilkenny Interior designer we invite you to get in contact with Norton bespoke today.


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