Interior Decorating Basics

Learn interior decorating basics and pull together a room that looks amazing and impresses friends and family.

Learning interior decorating basics is actually pretty easy as there are just a few “rules” to keep in mind and then you can let your own creativity and instinct run wild. And remember that the rules aren’t hard and fast, they’re basic guidelines so if you want to break one or two then go ahead.


Proportion is one of the interior decorating basics that is almost a feeling for most people. If you’re in a room where the couch is way too large for space you may feel instantly confined or overwhelmed. On the other hand, a large room with tiny furniture may seem almost comical. It’s also important to know room dimensions to make sure your furniture actually fits into the home.


Balance is another interior decorating basic that can be felt by most people. If all of the furniture is against one wall that side of the room will feel heavy. A wall that is covered with windows and receives a lot of light that is across from a dark wall with dark furniture will feel much lighter and airy and you’ll again have a balance that’s askew.


Creating some contrast in a room is important. Usually, this is done through colour but it can be done in a number of ways. White on white rooms are almost timeless but can be very boring if texture, height, depth and pattern isn’t introduced to create a contrast. Make sure your room isn’t boring by playing with all of these elements.


It seems strange to mention harmony as an interior design basic after just saying that contrast is important but it’s true, a successful room will have both contrast and harmony. Imagine our white on the white room above, it’s got harmony through colour.

Now imagine that room if every piece of furniture and wall and accessory were a different colour, suddenly you’ve got a visual cacophony that would drive anyone a little batty. Harmony is created through a good colour scheme, similar furniture styles, and relating elements together.


Rhythm is the interior design element that blooms out of contrast and harmony with almost no effort at all. Once you get the proper levels of contrast and harmony in your home then you’ll sense that the rhythm will carry your eye through and around the room, never lingering too long in one place and never completely glossing over anything.

If a room in your home feels uncomfortable or like it’s just not working aesthetically, step back and try to determine what feeling it creates in you or what interior design element is missing. Then use the basic interior design principles to fix the room and create the effect you desire.