The 7 elements of interior design
It’s said that when designing a space, there are seven elements that you should consider: space, form, line, light, colour pattern and texture. This week, we sat down with the team at Lauren Gilberthorpe Interiors to discuss the 7 elements of interior design, and how they impact how a room looks and feels. Read on to discover more about each of these these seven elements and how they impact a space, as well as some invaluable interiors advice and interior design tips from the experts!
“Living..not just existing” is a conscious or unconscious pursuit for the vast majority of us. Research has shown that the amount of time people spent at home has increased dramatically in the last year, driven by pandemic-based changes to work routines. This has led to an increase in the attention given to our homes and the spaces we choose to live in. At Lauren Gilberthorpe Interiors we understand the importance of providing a home to make you feel energised and alive…and not merely existing. There are many aspects to be considered when designing a home, which we will look at in more detail in this blog, but on top of all of these is the idea of creating something individual and personal to the space and those living within it.
As already touched upon, an understanding of the space that is going to be designed is essential to creating a successful interior. The size and shape of a room largely determines the limitations of what can be designed in that space, although there is sometimes the possibility to adapt this, for example by knocking through a wall. It’s important to note that not all space needs to be filled, but it is very important to think about maximising the space available when choosing a furniture layout. Using a L shaped sofa in a corner would be an obvious example of this. When designing a space and creating design drawings, we look at it from a 3 dimensional perspective, accounting for height, width and length. This allows us to explore the different ways of using the space.
In interior design, form generally describes the shape of features or objects within a space. These are usually sub-categorised as geometric forms, such as a lampshade with clear lines of definition and natural form which refers to the use of plants or other more natural materials. Using form well provides a space with great personality and character. It is very important to get the right balance of geometric and natural forms when designing a room and the over-use of form can lead to a space feeling confusing and overwhelming.
As you enter a room, your eye is naturally guided by the lines that exist in that space. These may be the natural lines of the walls or those by design, from furniture and other features. Vertical lines from door frames or wardrobes can help give height to the room, while the horizontal lines of a table or bed can draw the eye into a focal point. Like with form, and all the other elements, the balance of the different lines is crucial in creating the right feeling within a room. Zig zag lines such as those provided by stairs can hold our attention longer but should only be used sparingly.
Light is another integral element to interior design and something that is closely intertwined with the other elements. The first aspect to be considered is the natural light. This can be affected by the direction in which a room or building faces because this will dictate at which points during the day it will get the most sunlight. This is important because the quality of natural light will vary throughout the day. Morning light is cool and blue, noon light is clearer and afternoon/evening light turns redder and warmer. As designers, understanding the natural light of a space helps inform the choices we make for other aspects such as colour schemes.
Artificial light is also an important consideration when designing a room. Light sources such as ceiling lights, wall lights or table lamps can be used not only as aesthetic features but also to light a particular area or bounce light around a room.
Colour is perhaps the single most important element in creating the desired mood in a room. The classical colour schemes involve mostly primary and secondary colours but as interior designers it is important to use more subtle colours and tones too. Colours are often used differently within a room too. Darkest tones tend to work well on the floor to represent the ground and pull of gravity, mid-tones on the walls to represent the distant horizon and lightest tones on the ceiling to represent the sky overhead.
Colour can also be used to draw attention away from almost any architectural flaw. It can disguise awkward angles or sloping ceilings, large beams or girders, and unattractive items such as radiators can be camouflaged by painting them the same colour as the walls.
Patterns are everywhere in nature. When we look at using patterned fabrics it is important to ensure that they don’t overpower the other elements in the space, because it is easy for pattern to become the dominant focus in the space. Having said that, in a larger room the introduction of pattern can provide a useful bridge between plain blocks of colour, allowing the room to flow.
Patterns can be effectively used on details such as cushions or to cover larger areas in the cases of wallpaper or rugs. It is always important to consider how these patterns will be viewed in their context and perspective. For example some patterns work better vertically on a wall than they would horizontally on the floor and often also better in one direction than another if using an arrow based pattern for example.
Texture makes reference to the tactile surface of an object or of the finish on a piece of furniture, and is often the most easily overlooked element of interior design. It is the interaction of colour, light and texture which provides a room with enduring visual interest, so we’d strongly recommend considering texture within a room design.
Light-filtering textures such as slatted blinds, shutters, and sheer fabrics help to diffuse the light ,which tends to give colours greater delicacy, while light-absorbing textures such as matt paints, linens, tweeds and most wools absorb the light and so make the colour more impactful. Bold textures can be used to make a feature of smaller objects or styling items.
For more detailed information on considerations when designing different aspects of your own home please follow our new Home School Interiors page on Instagram @homeschoolinteriors, or if you think we would be the perfect team to help you design your home get in touch via our website laurengilberthorpeinteriors.com.