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What Are the Core Elements of Interior Design?

The art and science of interior design is still evolving, and the experts do not all agree on what the core elements are or even how many core elements exist. So, this article should not be considered to be an all-inclusive treatment of a massive subject. There are, however, some major principles of interior design that most people agree on. These are the ones that we will discuss here:


Harmony in design means that things work well together and look like they belong together. It is what gives a room or series of rooms or home a polished look. Harmony is difficult to achieve for the amateur, and one of the main reasons why one consults with a professional interior designer.

Focus or Emphasis

Focus or emphasis means what is (or are) the main parts of a room that one’s eye should be drawn to when you enter a room. For example, do you want people to notice your magnificent view of the ocean or a hand-tiled fireplace? When planning rooms, designers consider carefully the focal point of the room and use design to move your eye toward that point.

Proportion and Scale

Proportion and scale are slightly different but related concepts. Basically, how does something look in relation to something else. For example, if you have giant pillars at the entrance to your driveway, you would not put tiny lamps on top of the pillars because the scale is wrong. The lamps would need to be the right height and width to complement the pillars.


Function in design refers to parts working the way they are supposed to work. For example, a kitchen may be spectacular, but if the refrigerator is too far from the sink then the function is less than ideal. Counters need to be the right height for the occupant, and there needs to be enough space to walk around a table and chairs. A design does not work if the function does not work.

There are many important parts to interior design, and we have not even mentioned color or space or balance. A good understanding, however, of these four concepts, above, will have you well on your way to beautiful interior design.

Abstract Homes and Renovations Inc., is an award-winning custom home builder based in Vancouver, British Columbia. With 30 years of experience, Abstract Homes builds and renovates homes on the Lower Mainland with efficiency, integrity, and quality in mind.

If you have any questions about this article or would like to talk to us about building or renovating your home, please call us at (604) 220-5665.

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