5 Tips Simplify Interior Design

5 Tips to Simplify Interior Design

Color schemes, contrast, value, spacing, balance, repetition, alignment, sizing, rhythm, etc.  When it comes to design, there are so many principles that it can become extremely stressful.  Where do you start?  What do you need to know?  How do you make good design that’s still in your budget?  All of these things might be overwhelming but below I am going to try and simplify things a bit so that you aren’t left confused.  Here are 5 Tips to Help You Simplify Interior Design.

The 60-30-10 Rule

You have a room that you want to decorate but you don’t know where to start.  Color is always a good starting point. What emotions do you want the room to evoke?  Do you want the room to be very bright and friendly feeling?  Do you want a more modern look that’s neat and tidy?  These questions are up to you and they will determine your color scheme for the most part in terms of where to start. Lets take a closer look at the 60-30-10 rule.

The 60-30-10 rule is basically that in any room you design, your main color should be 60% of the room, your secondary color should be 30% of the room, and your accent color should be 10% of the room.  If you follow this rule, and you have the right colors to evoke the right emotion in your room, you are well on your way to an amazing design.  As you can see here, this room follows this rule very well with 60% whites, 30% blues, and 10% tans.

The Eye Rule

The eye rule isn’t an officially coined term in the design world but it is a rule that will help you in your design process. The eye rule is basically this, “design is visual, and therefore your design needs to take the eye where you want the eye to go”.

Essentially, the eye rule involves a few things. Your eye is going to be drawn to the most interesting and stimulating thing in the room. So if you are designing a room and you really want the table to be the most visually attractive thing in the room, then you need to make the table stand out by making the most contrast between the table and its surroundings as well as making sure that other objects in the room seem to lead to the table. In the example here, you can see that the city mural is where your eye goes to because the chairs in the room are pointed at the mural, and the mural has the most contrast in its color scheme compared to its surroundings.

The Balance-Imbalance Rule

The Balance-Imbalance Rule or what some people call asymmetry is that you basically need to have everything in the room have complete balance, and then just throw off the balance with one or two elements in your design. In the example pictures directly to the left, everything in the room is completely balanced, there are chairs on the right and left, the TV and table are positioned in the middle, and the support beams at the back add great balance to the picture. Here, however, the balance was thrown just a little bit into imbalance by making part of the back wall pink, and having the green plant in the back as well. What this does for your design, is it creates curiosity. Your brain loves completion and sense and when it is thrown off a little bit, it becomes very interested and intrigued. That is why this design rule has so much power.

Texture and Pattern Differences Are a Must

Texture and pattern are something that aren’t incorporated enough into interior design schemes. Textures and patterns can give you some of the best bang for your buck in the design industry. Textures and pattern won’t detract from any of the other design principles save color, but if you incorporate texture and pattern as part of your color scheme it then all three will work together in perfect harmony.

What I mean when I say this is that, if you want to add a focal point to your design scheme, you will place different objects in a room that kind of lead to your focal point. This can throw off the balance in the room you are trying to design. However, if you have a pattern on a wall that leads the eye to the focal point based on its pattern, you won’t throw off the balance in your room. The pattern essentially did the same work that placing objects would have without throwing off the balance in the room.

In addition to this, textures and patterns are so effective because they are a brain hack. They create subtle differences in a room that add a lot of interest. They quickly add a lot of elements that your brain has to take in and this makes it curious and intrigued which is what design is all about. Think Pillows, layered rugs and other elements such as wallpaper and decor.

Bringing Everything Together with Harmony

All of these things can be really confusing if you think about everything all at once. This is where harmony comes in. You know that feeling you get when you walk in a room and say to yourself “Wow, It’s really nice in here.” That effect is what harmony is. Harmony is how well everything works together. Harmony is essentially a sum of all of the other design elements. If you are confused if your design elements aren’t working, just walk out of the room, walk back into the room and ask yourself if everything works well together. If it does, you have incorporated many elements into a good design. If you think it doesn’t work well together, then you should rethink and recalibrate your design elements until you get a good sense that everything goes well together.

Design can be a difficult and complicated process.  Industrial design, nautical design, farmhouse design, urban modern design, and mid-century design, are just a few types of residential interior design styles out there.  With so many different types and ways to do interior design, it can be very confusing.  These tips should help you simplify your design to achieve that end look you’ve always dreamed of.



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Tyler Dahl


Tyler Dahl is a freelance writer who has been writing for various design websites including fashion design, interior design, and graphic design for the last couple of years. In his free time, he loves spending time with his family and going camping.