15 Interior Design Rules You Must Follow

January 11, 2022

15 Interior Design Rules You Must Follow

Do you want your home to amaze your friends and family with your home decor and decorations.

Your home interior should reflect your character and personality.

But in order that there is a nice flow and sense of space and design about your home there are some rules you must follow to create a liveable space. 

Living Room

1. Always Measure Your Space

Be sure to measure your space

Measure twice, buy once

Scale can make or break your space. 

Pay close attention to the size of furniture pieces in relation to the room. Always map out the larger items, such as sofas and rugs, before purchasing.

Always confirm the measurements of prospective furnishings in your home. Looks can be deceiving; just because something looks like it's the right size online, doesn't mean it will work in your space.

You don’t want clutter or a room to be disorganised but for it to have a nice flow for your traffic.

Use the 2:3 rule, otherwise known as the 'golden ratio' 

Ideally, every room should follow this. 

Start by dividing a room into two sections – the larger one should measure 2:3 of the space, and be the area for big pieces of furniture such as your sofa, bed or dining table. The smaller section will house secondary pieces such as storage or an extra seating area.

Furniture should also follow the 2:3 rule. 

This means your largest piece of furniture – for example, a sofa – should measure 2:3 of the area. Then work your way backwards from there. 

The coffee table should be 2:3 the size of the sofa, and so on. Once the bigger pieces of furniture are placed, it's easier to work smaller, decorative pieces around them.

2. Choose a hero

Every room needs one hero piece – something that will surprise, delight and make an impact. It might be an oversized piece of furniture in a bold colour, a fabulous rug, a work of art, or a feature wall 

Your hero piece is designed to steal the limelight. It should be the thing you fell in love with the moment you saw it, and that you might be prepared to splurge a little more on. 

Remember to make sure it has space to breathe.

3. Mix up shapes

Most living rooms will have a lot of rectangles and squares – it's simply the nature of those bigger furniture items such as sofas, sideboards and shelving units. 

If you notice your space has lots of lines and right angles, think about adding some circles. 

A round coffee table, a pair of round side tables, a round rug, a round wall hanging – the options are endless.

A round mirror is a great way to break up all those straight tile lines in a bathroom. Go as big as you can. Large-scale mirrors make a real statement and can visually enhance the sense of space in a small bathroom too.

4. Hang it right

A beautiful painting or artwork will look far better when hung at the right height. Also, having a consistent centre line throughout your home helps create a sense of harmony.

As a general rule, the centre of the artwork should be at eye level, which for the average person is 145 centimetres from the floor. Remember, that's 145 centimetres to the centre of the art, not to the hook.

A top tip is to centre the first piece – your statement artwork – at eye level and spread smaller pieces outwards from there.

Living room

5. Create height

Do you have low ceilings? 

Choose low-profile furniture such as sofas and coffee tables to create the illusion of room height. 

Boost this with tall, slim bookshelves that draw the eye upwards and make walls and windows appear taller.

Mixing different heights in this way will also help create a relaxed vibe in your home.

To create an illusion of more space, paint the walls, skirting boards and ceiling in the same colour. This will blur the lines of where the walls end and the ceiling begins.

6. Anchor your room

Rugs help anchor a room, plus they're a great way to add colour, texture and softness. 

Need to carve up a large, open-plan space into separate zones? A rug is your number-one tool.

Rugs are also relatively inexpensive for the impact they create.

Size matters! Be generous with the size of your rug. Remember the on-the-rug rule for your living room: go bigger to ensure that at least two legs of every furniture piece in the living area are sitting on the rug.

Make sure the rug extends at least 15 to 25 centimetres from either side of the sofa to create a balanced look. 

And remember, a rug is not wall-to-wall carpet – never lay a rug right up against the wall or window. Aim to leave at least 25 centimetres of visible floor around a rug.

Don't forget about your dining table. It's a great place for a rug too. And if you're worried about little-people spills, go for a reversible rug for double the lifespan.

7. Take a step back

Can't put your finger on exactly what your room needs? 

Step back and see the room as a whole.

Viewing a room from a distance often makes it easy to see what needs to be replaced, added or removed; whether it's the empty wall that needs to be filled, the wall that needs colour or the corner that's crying out for a tall plant.

Cream sofa with red cushions

8. Off the wall

A sofa need not be right up against your wall. 

If you have the space, pull it out a metre or two and put a shelving unit or console on the wall instead. 

This not only offers styling opportunities behind the sofa, but it breaks up the room and can make it feel cosier and more inviting.

9. Mix Textures

Adding different textures via accents like rugs, throws , or accent cushions. "

Always mix materials and add texture metal mixed with wood, or rattan or natural woven fabrics with lacquered furniture or walls, 

10. Lighting

Lighting has the ability to change the whole look and feel of a room. Lighting will elevate the mood of any room.

Be sure to have light coming from multiple sources, not just overhead.

It's a known fact that darkness can have a negative psychological impact, so make sure you invest in a well-lit space.

Lighting should be both practical and pretty. Consider what you use the room for and what kind of lighting you need .

For example, kitchens and laundries should be bright throughout, while studies and home theatres will have more focused lighting.

Use natural light where you can, it's higher quality and far more energy efficient. You should also try and get creative with different types of lighting.

Floor lamps are great for gloomy corners, while overhead lights are a must for dining tables. 

Mood lighting may not offer as much brightness, but the ambient glow works wonders in a lounge area, or installed along dark hallways.

Don't forget that the lamp itself can also act as a highly stylish decorative element in your home.

Add different types of lighting, with floor lamps, sconces, or a small table lamp to create a subtle glow.

Green accent wall

11. Styling a small space

If you have a small space doesn't mean you should have teeny-tiny furniture. In fact, oversized floor lamps , carpets or art can actually make your room look larger. 

And the inverse is also true.

If you're blessed with huge open-plan spaces , don't just select large furniture. Ensure you pair your big couch with small, clustered side tables.

Create vignettes of little treasures on your bookshelves and buffet. 

Group artwork together in a striking gallery wall rather than relying on one huge piece. 

Place rugs to anchor chairs and tables and create living 'zones'.

12. Plants bring life

Plants bring life into a space and make it feel like home. All stylists worth their salt will include plenty of greenery into your newly styled home – but it's so simple to do yourself!

Select a plant that suits the amount of light in your home, and whether you're going for height or low and leafy.

There are loads of incredible indoor plants to suit your exact needs.

And don't forget that not only will plants look great, they are also great for our mental and physical health

13. Form and function

Things should look good, but they should be practical too. 

So before you plan the design of your room, these are the two things to keep in mind.

Starting with your furniture. You might fall in love with the style of a sofa, but is it comfortable? 

And sure, that desk is practical, but is it clunky and outdated? 

There's no point ruining the whole look and feel of a room for a piece of furniture that doesn't quite hit the mark. 

Same goes for a piece you may have bought on a whim, only to discover it never gets any use. 

So before you buy, always question if it has great form and is also functional. 

Colour wheel

14. Know your colours

When it comes to colour, there's a few things to consider. 

Firstly, choosing your colour scheme. Start with one shade that you love – you may already have it picked out.

Once you've decided, it's time to use a colour wheel. This is the biggest tool used by interior designers when working on colour schemes. 

What is the 60-30-10 Rule?

It's a classic decor rule that helps create a colour palette for a space. It states that 60% of the room should be a dominant colour, 30% should be the secondary colour or texture and the last 10% should be an accent.

How to Use the 60-30-10 Rule?

The 60% is the overall color of the room, the background colour if you will. When you look at the space you'll say, it's the "gray" room, or whatever colour you choose.

The next number in this rule is your 30%. It will become the secondary colour in your space and will support the main colour, but be different enough to give the room interest. Think of it this way, you'll be using half as much of this colour as you did for your main colour.

The fun percentage is your 10%; your accent colour. It can be more bold or more subtle depending on what look you want. The 10% can be what gives the room character or keeps it that much more neutral, it's really up to you.

To choose the three colors for your space, a colour scheme based on the color wheel is the simplest method. 

Monochromatic 

Choose only one colour and use lighter and darker variations of that colour in your space. This works best with a neutral colour such as gray, cream, white, or greige.

Complimentary 

Select two colours opposite from each other on the colour wheel. One will always end up being a "warm" colour and the other will be a "cool" colour giving you a nice balance.

Analogous 

Select three colours adjacent (next) to each other on the colour wheel, having the middle colour being the more dominant colour. An example of this would be blue-green, green, and green-yellow; do you see how green is showing up in all three?

Split Complimentary 

Similar to Complimentary (listed above) but you add in a third colour. 

So you select a main colour, find it's complimentary colour across from it on the colour wheel, and add in one of the colours adjacent (next) to the complimentary colour. 

An example might be, Blue as your dominant colour, then orange as your complimentary colour and red as the third colour.

Break the 60-30-10 Rule?

You have three options with this:

a) Score 110% 

Add a fourth colour to the mix by doing something like 60-30-10-10. This will be done by adding a second accent colour in your accessories such as throw pillows, vases on shelves, picture frames, etc.

b) Go Completely Monochromatic 

Select one colour and go wild and crazy from there by including several darker and lighter shades of that same colour throughout your space. 

This can be done with wood tones as well. You may end up with an entirely gray room, but it will have dimension because of the variation of tones you use.

c) Create Your Own Formula 

If you are feeling like you have an idea for colours, go with it! It may end up being something like 40-30-20-10 or 40-25-15-10-10 or even 75-15-10.

living room

15. Keep it fresh

This last rule of interior design is something to keep in mind for the long term. 

Keeping your home on-trend doesn't have to mean a complete overhaul every season. Instead, focus on small changes that can help you stay up to date and love the space you're in. 

Get rid of that dusty old bookcase, replace cushion covers with a fun new fabric, or revive a tired looking table display.

 

These rules will help you keep the interior of your home looking fresh and vibrant and a wonderful place to live. 




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