The Seven Elements of Interior Design

Updated on October 4, 2019
lindacee profile image

Linda is a seasoned writer and home-decorating authority. She loves sharing design trends, decor ideas, and useful tips with her readers.

Once you understand the seven elements of interior design, creating a stunning space becomes fun and easy.
Once you understand the seven elements of interior design, creating a stunning space becomes fun and easy. | Source

We have all been faced with the frustrations of interior design. Whether you decide you want to go in a new direction using existing furnishings or are starting with a blank slate in a new home, there will always be roadblocks to your vision. Interior design may seem daunting, but in reality, it is really not all that complicated. When you break interior design down to its basic components, the process becomes much easier.

Along with the seven principles of interior design, there are seven design elements that must work together synergistically to comprise a visually pleasing room. If you use these design elements as a guide for decorating your home, the results will be nothing short of spectacular!

What Are the 7 Elements of Interior Design?

  1. Space
  2. Texture
  3. Light
  4. Color
  5. Pattern
  6. Line
  7. Form

Space usually informs the other elements of a room's design.
Space usually informs the other elements of a room's design. | Source

1. Space

Space is a simple design element to understand—it refers to the physical boundaries of a room. Unless you are an architect, you do not typically get to choose the dimensions of the room you are designing, so you must find a way to use the area's existing space and layout to your advantage.

Space provides you with limits on how much you can place in a room. If your room is small, don’t overcrowd it with furniture and accessories. If your room is large, don’t skimp on the furnishings.

The wide variety of textures used in this room's design give the space a cozy and intriguing feel.
The wide variety of textures used in this room's design give the space a cozy and intriguing feel. | Source

2. Texture

The element of texture is defined as “the feel, appearance, or consistency of a surface.” It can refer to rough or smooth finishes, glossy or dull surfaces, and soft or coarse textiles. If you have decorated a room, you understand the importance of texture. Everything from fabrics and furniture to decorative accessories brings different textures into a space.

Texture can be used to enhance a room’s existing features or provide added dimension to a space. In a small, dark room, furnishings with smooth, shiny finishes can impart a reflective quality and give the space a sense of natural light. Conversely, in a large, bright room, rough textures can help balance an excess of natural light.

Light is an important design consideration because it can completely change the mood of a room.
Light is an important design consideration because it can completely change the mood of a room. | Source

3. Light

The element of light refers to both natural and man-made light sources. Light goes hand in hand with texture and is also closely associated with color—without a light source, color cannot exist. Light helps to set the mood in a room. Subdued lighting usually imparts a cozy, romantic feel. Rooms that are bathed in natural light, on the other hand, tend to feel airy and cheerful.

Light also plays a functional role in interior design. Light can illuminate working, dining, and reading areas or be used to emphasize certain objects in a room like paintings, sculptures, or other pieces of art.

Hungry yet? Dining rooms often incorporate a lot of red in order to stimulate guests' appetites.
Hungry yet? Dining rooms often incorporate a lot of red in order to stimulate guests' appetites. | Source

4. Color

Color, along with light, is considered by many to be one of the key elements of interior design. It is used to create aesthetically pleasing combinations and also works on a psychological level. You have probably heard that the color red stimulates the appetite. For that very reason, it is often used in dining rooms.

Colors can literally transform a home. A dark, depressing space can become bright and cheerful with a simple color overhaul. Color can also create specific moods and looks. Using cool and neutral colors can convey peace and tranquility. Rich jewel tones can make a drab space feel luxurious and regal. Incorporating reds, oranges, and yellows into a sterile, white room can add a sense of warmth and comfortability.

This colorful pattern could definitely be used to liven up a dull or unstimulating room.
This colorful pattern could definitely be used to liven up a dull or unstimulating room. | Source

5. Pattern

As a design element, pattern often works in conjunction with color. It is used in interiors to add life and interest to a room's furnishings. Like texture, pattern can be used to endow surfaces with additional dimension.

Pattern is typically created by using repetitive designs in fabrics, rugs, tiles, painting techniques, and wallpapers. Just think about how dull a room would be without pattern!

Architectural features like bannisters, molding, and stairs often play into the line element of room design.
Architectural features like bannisters, molding, and stairs often play into the line element of room design. | Source

6. Line

Line, as it pertains to interior design, refers to the "lines" created by the furnishings and architecture of a room. The lines in a room provide it with form and shape. Line is responsible for harmony, contrast, and unity in interior design. It signifies movement and guides the eye through a room.

Line refers to the boundaries of both straight and curved surfaces. The dynamic nature of diagonal lines creates drama and movement in rooms with staircases or modern fabric patterns. Curved lines can be found in furniture, windows, and arched doorways. Feminine curves often serve to unite and soften horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines in room design.

Horizontal lines are most often found in furniture such as tables, chair backs, bookshelves, and media centers. They play an important role in interior design by balancing the vertical lines that exist in most spaces. Look around your house for examples of vertical lines and you'll find that they're everywhere. Windows, curtains, doorways, columns, and tall furniture pieces all add to the illusion of height in your home.

Line in Interior Design and Fashion

In this room, the long, rectangular dining table mirrors the shape of the space and instills a sense of unity, while the round, hanging light fixtures provide contrast and visual interest.
In this room, the long, rectangular dining table mirrors the shape of the space and instills a sense of unity, while the round, hanging light fixtures provide contrast and visual interest. | Source

8. Form

The term form is often used interchangeably with the term shape in interior design. It is a close relative to line in that it can be used to produce distinct feelings and effects when applied according to the principles of interior design.

A long dining room table placed in a rectangular room can create a sense of harmony. Add a series of round pendant fixtures above the table and you have achieved contrast and a sense of balance. Be advised, however, that using many different forms in one room can result in a confusing and disjointed design.

Which element of interior design do you feel is most important?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

© 2012 Linda Chechar

Start a Conversation!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      15 months ago from Arizona

      Olivia, there are plenty of helpful articles about interior design on dengarden and other websites. Do a Google search and you'll find a wealth of information on how to create a functional and attractive space.

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      15 months ago from Arizona

      prossy, glad you enjoyed this article and learned a few new things about interior design. Thank you!

    • profile image

      Olivia 

      15 months ago

      I want to have more understanding how creating space works

    • profile image

      prossy 

      15 months ago

      It has been so helpful, actually didn't any idea but av really learnt some thing, good jooooob!

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      19 months ago from Arizona

      Dr. Jaspals, so glad you enjoyed this article and were able to use it for your class discussion. Thank you for sharing!

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      22 months ago from Arizona

      Abubakkar, so glad this article was helpful to you! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • profile image

      Abubakkar 

      22 months ago

      It's very useful article....and very useful for my project works....keep it up

    • profile image

      Priya Khosla 

      22 months ago

      You have very beautifully simplified the elements of interior designing making them layman friendly. Good job! And I had never heard about red increasing appetite for food, but good to know!

      http://www.unitytop.com/best-interior-designers-de...

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      23 months ago from Arizona

      Thank you, Jen!

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      2 years ago from Arizona

      Marcella, a large scale mirror is perfect for contemporary dining room. If the room is on the small side it would give it a sense of space. If the room is large is would accentuate its grandeur.

    • profile image

      samuel 

      2 years ago

      Beautiful article .i believe that light is the most vital since without light all the other elements will be invisible.Please also elaborate further on form.thank you

    • profile image

      Michelle 

      2 years ago

      Very interesting, thank you for great advice

    • profile image

      YAHIA 

      2 years ago

      Perfect article ...

    • profile image

      Shah Gyanendra 

      2 years ago

      It's gives energy to interior design

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      4 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you, Kristen. There's a lot more to interior design than meets the eye. Glad you enjoyed the Hub!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Linda, this was a real interesting hub to know the 7 elements of interior design. It's so useful and filled with knowledge to do it at home. Great hub!

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      Tamara14, so happy you enjoyed this Hub. "Less is more" is actually a good rule to follow when decorating a room--that way you can add furnishings/accents gradually until you strike the perfect balance. Colors definitely affect one's mood and can evoke strong feelings one way or another as to the overall beauty of a space. Color is the most subjective design element. What appeals to one person, might be totally revolting to another! :)

    • profile image

      Tamara14 

      5 years ago

      This was very nice read, thank you. I always try to follow that old rule "less is more" but I guess colors are what really makes me like or dislike any interior. I don't like too much white on the wall and I like floors to be a bit darker, especially wooden. Etc, etc, etc... :)

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks myplacesg, glad you enjoyed this look into the elements of interior design. Feel free to share these concepts. I would appreciate attribution if you use actual excerpts from my article. :)

    • myplacesg profile image

      Singapore Interior Design 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      This is amazing, i would like to share some of your pointers with my readers.

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      You are so welcome Beltane73! Hope the information helps! :)

    • Beltane73 profile image

      Holly Kline 

      6 years ago from South Jersey

      I was looking for something like this! Thanks for the article.

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      JanMaklak, how exciting it is to redecorate! Do feel free to stop in for more tips and advice. Good luck with your home décor projects! :)

    • JanMaklak profile image

      JanMaklak 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Wow! This will come in handy as my wife and I redecorate our house. I'll be checking bacl for more !

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks, alifeofdesign! I like to try to keep things simple to inspire more people to trust their individual design styles. You're exactly right. I do think people are intimated by design until they become familiar with the basic concepts -- then they can have fun with it. Thanks for your comment!

    • alifeofdesign profile image

      Graham Gifford 

      7 years ago from New Hamphire

      I enjoyed your hub, lindacee-thank you. I've worked in several design fields and always enjoy reading what others have to say. You've outlined the basics very well and in a way, I think, that won't scare people away. I think that many people shy away from formulated their own home designs simply because they doubt themselves. I hope that you have provided a few with a little inspiration to give it a try.

      Best Regards,

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Meloncauli, so nice to hear from you! Using neutrals as the basis for a room gives you a great deal of latitude. You can easily introduce other colors through accessories. It is also less expensive to change a color scheme. Thanks for reading! Take care.

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Watergeek, interior paint color combinations bring out interesting moods and feelings. Color is the most important interior design element, IMO. So pleased you enjoyed this Hub. Thank you for reading! :)

    • meloncauli profile image

      meloncauli 

      7 years ago from UK

      As ever Linda, a wonderful hub. I am a neutral person too, a minimalist. All my colour is in the accessories to the room usually.

    • watergeek profile image

      Susette Horspool 

      7 years ago from Pasadena CA

      I discovered, when moving into my current apartment, that I love the color combination of red and green. It's both restful and vibrant, which gives me a great sense of security, for some reason. Interesting hub, lindacee.

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Leah, if you tackle each of the elements separately, you can put together a great looking room over time. It's just like putting the pieces of a puzzle together! :)

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 

      7 years ago from Western New York

      I love the way you broke down the seven elements of design - I don't have an eye for interior design, but this really helps me understand how the elements come together to create a beautiful, cohesive layout!

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Teaches, space is always a major sticking point. Either there is too little or too much and the oddly shaped spaces, as in your case. Unfortunately, we have to deal with the space configurations we have and try to be as creative as possible. Hopefully you can conquer your space issues! Take care!

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Greatstuff, hope this article can help your son with his apartment décor. Yes, budget is definitely an element for many people. He is smart -- shopping for bargains and getting free ideas from the home exhibition! Tell him I wish him luck with his endeavor. I'm sure he's having fun!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      All great advice for when you redecorate a home. Space is one area that I struggle with in remodeling our home. It has some odd shaped areas. Thanks for the ideas.

    • greatstuff profile image

      Mazlan 

      7 years ago from Malaysia

      Useful reading for my son who is now decorating his apartment; will forwad this article to him. I have to add that in his case, another element is budget. So he has been shopping around buying things that are on sale and going to home exhibition to get good deals!

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 

      7 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      It must be because I'm always here! I have to tell you, I love the chaise lounges too! I have two of them in my house! GO HA!

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      I'm a color junkie too, K. I tend to go more neutral with the walls and large, upholstered pieces (mainly because I can't spend the money to change them all the time) and add color through artwork, pillows and accessories. Is being a colorholic is similar to being a Hubaholic! ;)

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 

      7 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      When I walk into a space I immediately look for a color source. I think I've decided that I'm a color addict. First step is to admit it right? My house isn't neon pink. It's actually fairly neutral only because I can't commit to designing a room - too scary. Awesome hub. -K

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you so much for you kind words, Angela. So glad you enjoyed the article! It was my goal to put these concepts into a concise, easily understandable format. It takes some of the mystery out of the interior design process and makes it accessible to everyone!

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 

      7 years ago from Central Texas

      Excellent article -- I've done both residential and commercial design/décor for years and your information is basic and very necessary to the decorating cause -- mostly, getting that point across to one's client and making it definitely understood. Seems color is everyone's bug-a-boo and to me that seems the most simple of all. Super read and thanks! Best/Sis

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)