#38 The 7 Principles of Interior Design

A well designed interior is one that follows the 7 basic Principles of Interior Design. These are time-tested guidelines for creating a unifying and harmonious space. The 7 principles are:

  1. Balance

  2. Emphasis & Focus

  3. Contrast

  4. Rhythm & Repetition

  5. Scale & Proportion

  6. Details

  7. Harmony & Unity

Often, these principles go hand-in-hand so that when you apply one rule to the design, you often end up simultaneously adhering to another. With an open space plan (like ours) it is crucial that these design principals are considered in order to achieve a cohesive flow between the rooms.  We wanted to share how we used one of our favorite principles, Rhythm & Repetition, to subtly repeat a gorgeous “X” shape throughout our main level.

Let’s start with our kitchen. We balanced the obvious X shape at the end of our island and on the upper glass cabinets with more subtle X shapes on the chandelier (the little sunburst detail), the angled supports of the chandelier, the table base in Angie’s office, and the woven seat pattern on the island stools.


How many “X” shapes can you find in this photo? We see 11!

Now let’s take a look at our Mudroom and Foyer. Do you spot the “X”? Of course the X shape is obvious on the barn door and chair back, but do you see how we chose rugs that repeated the X shape in the pattern?

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Even our hallway lights cast X shaped shadows on our ceiling. We are smiling with pride.


Our dining room chandelier offers the “X” shape on a different scale. With all of the angled lines it creates hundreds X shapes. This sunburst shape is repeated on our rug on a larger scale. You can also see that our wood chairs have the same beautiful “X” design on their backs.


Above the sunburst chandelier in our dining room, check out our largest and most obvious “X”. We love that the scale and proportion of this shape is different, to offer contrast as well as emphasis and focus. And guess what? Those design elements just happen to be 3 additional Principals of Interior Design.


Here is a close up of our living room rug. What shape do you see? That’s right, another “X ” pattern!


Our end table base has the same starburst X pattern as the dining chandelier and Angie’s office table. This balance makes us really, really happy. And balance just happens to be another of the 7 Principles of Interior Design.


Of course we couldn’t resist bringing the “X” to the exterior as well. The repetition of these little details, scattered throughout our home, ensure harmony and unity in our home’s entirety. As you might have noticed, we inadvertently nailed all 7 Principles of Interior Design, just by our deliberate application of one of our favorite design “rules”, repetition and rhythm.