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To those of us who are creative or feeling creative and have the audacity to do our own home renovations, this is for us. Of course, we are not under any illusion that we could become architects or interior designers, those who studied their craft for years, just because we read an article here and there. But for any DIY  effort, it’s always good to have a few guidelines to help bring our dreams to fruition. Also, if we are hellbent on doing home decorating for budget reasons, success can be so sweet.

In this MyBoysen (Let it B) blog, we have and will provide our expertise on one element and that is COLORS. In fact, if you follow this blog, you will find hundreds of tips, advice, recommendations and inspirations for your home painting ideas. So please go to Let it B and hit subscribe.

The 7 Elements of Interior Design

The seven elements are space, lines, forms, light, textures, patterns, and colors. Design professionals say that if you carefully consider all these seven elements, you will be able to create a beautiful and inviting living space. Let’s give it a try, shall we?

Space

Space is the foundation of a room. It refers to the two-dimensional floor space, as well as the three-dimensional volume in a room. There are walls, floors and ceilings as your boundaries, and you think not only of length and width, but also the height of the space.

classy-house living room mezzanine

Another thing about space is the concept of positive and negative space. A space containing furniture or decor items is known as positive space. Anything else is called negative space. There must be a balance between these two so that your room looks neither crowded nor empty.

You can easily see the impact of the height of a space when you enter a loft apartment or even a restaurant or hotel with a mezzanine. I know someone who has this beautiful condo in a prime location and building. But he had his interior designer close off almost half the height of his condo. The reason he gave was that he didn’t need that space nor did he want to spend on a potentially higher energy bill. My heart was aghast as my mind was imagining all the lovely things that he could have done to make that space really shine.

Height can really impact a space by offering an expansive, open feel to a room. You might be spending more on electricity as well as on window treatments especially if you have floor to ceiling windows. You can even spend more on the many other materials you would need to beautify a home. But can you just imagine the possibilities of having more room, sunlight spilling into your dwelling to light up every corner, and that gorgeous, grand space that would greet you every time you come in the door? There’s that irresistible invitation to BREATHE.

On the other hand, if you have a room that has the standard 2.4-meter ceiling height, you can also have your beautiful and attractive home. Do you want to create the illusion of height? That can be done by using one or more of the elements used by interior designers. Read on to know more about how you can do that.

Lines

There are three types of lines – horizontal, vertical and dynamic.

Horizontal lines come from table tops, shelves, or structural beams. If you think of vertical lines, think of pillars or doorways. You get dynamic lines like from arches or cantilevered ceilings. Lines can also be suggested by the raw materials used in buildings like random lines from stones or the sleek lines of steel beams.

If you want to make a room seem higher, add vertical lines. If you want to make it wider, then add horizontal lines. Paint is the easiest and cheapest way to achieve this illusion in size. You can, for example, paint stripes on the walls in whichever orientation you want.

The different architectural styles use lines to create something typical. For example, in modern architecture, vertical and horizontal lines are used more since the structures tend to be boxy and geometric with flat roofs. In the Spanish colonial style, dynamic lines from arched doorways are often seen and the feeling these give is one of gracious, elegant living.

Forms

Forms are the shapes of the objects in a room, and can either be open or closed. Some shapes are straight and angular while others are considered organic or curvy.

communal-table-bright spacious dining room

In the photo, the pendant lights are considered open while the rectangular wooden table is considered close.

For furniture, curvy shapes are trending now as inspired by the 70s curvy design aesthetic. Below is the lounge chair Scoop designed by Rosenthal. It’s stylish, very comfortable and perfect for those days when you just want to hang out.

 

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A post shared by Rosenthal (@official_rosenthal) on

Light

Lighting can make or break a room because how you experience the room depends on it. It is also the element that highlights the others. Without it, the rest may not even be noticed.

Once I heard an interior designer say in her talk that for her projects, lighting takes at least 30% of total cost! I was floored.

Natural light has many benefits. It can increase comfort and productivity, put people in a good mood, even decrease energy costs. But sometimes, it is better to have filtered sunlight in this country because direct sunlight does bring heat with it.

geometric concrete blocks decorative cinder build
Breeze blocks

Aside from the usual windows on walls, what other ways are there to bring the sunshine in? There are glass doors (also French doors) instead of solid ones. You can have simple openings like slits in a wall covered with glass or not, or breeze blocks that have been around since the 1930s.

There are also skylights which are installed on roofs. Two big drawbacks are: 1) you cannot control the amount of sunlight that comes in, and 2) you increase the possibility for leaks. Skylights are usually found in homes in temperate countries, which require more light especially during the fall and winter months.

luxurious kitchen living room new mansion

Another method which has been used since ancient times are clerestory windows. They are still very much in use in churches today as well as in modern homes. Clerestory windows are apertures on the upper part of a wall which is above eye level.

When you design the lighting for a space, consider the amount of sunlight that you get in the room, then you think about the three kinds of artificial light – ambient, task and accent lighting.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting illuminate the entire space. These are usually found overhead, like flush or semi-flush fittings, chandeliers, even wall lights. It’s best if these lights could be in different circuits so you don’t have to turn everything on. You can also have the lighting installed with dimmers so that it would be easier for you to create the mood you want.

Task Lighting

As the name says, task lighting is to light up specific areas where you want to do something. Examples of these are a desk lamp for a working area, a reading lamp on the bedside table, recessed kitchen lights for the food prep counter, cabinet lighting that turns on when you need to get something inside, or a picture light for your favorite wall painting.

Accent Lighting

letter in neon light
Photo by bridget bartos on Unsplash

These are the lights that give character and beauty to your space. It could be those pendant lights that give your dinner table a rich flair, or a favorite quote in neon lights installed on your wall. The function of accent lighting is primarily to create that ooh la la factor you’d like in your home; providing illumination is a secondary function. If it can do both in equal measure, then give yourself some brownie points!

Textures

Photo by Shiraz Khan on Unsplash
Photo by Shiraz Khan on Unsplash

Textures are described as physical texture or visual texture. Physical texture involves tactility, meaning that when you touch an object, you get the feel of it, whether it’s rough or smooth, cold or warm, soft or hard, and so on. It is about the variations and feel of a surface.

Visual texture, on the other hand, is the illusion of the textures of a surface. For example, you have an oil painting of a hot summer day at the beach hanging in your living room. It may feel hot and humid when you look at it, but when you touch it, the painting is actually flat, may be smooth and cool to the touch.

Photo by Yasmine Boheas on Unsplash
Photo by Yasmine Boheas on Unsplash

Both physical and visual textures add to the depth, interest and detail to a room. Combining different kinds of textures give character to a space. For example, you can have a rough wooden headboard, soft linen sheets, a warm woolen blanket, the coolness of the metal lamp or table legs, the roughness of the dried flowers, and the smoothness and warmth of a polished wooden floor. The mix of textures in this room gives a very comfortable, warm and welcoming vibe that invites you to get into bed and snooze.

Combine contrastive textures so that your space does not feel monotonous. Can you imagine if your bedroom had a marble floor, mirrored side tables, metal lamps, walls coated with metallic paint and satin sheets? How inviting do you think that would be?

Patterns

personal japanesestyle indoor environment

Patterns are repetitive designs that are composed of lines, forms and textures. What comes to mind are our traditional Filipino weaves. Try going to a Habi Fair if you have not done so yet. There is the solihiya and rattan weaves, banig, tinalak, hablon or inabel and so many more. For homes, these materials can be used for furniture, bed linen, drapes, table cloths, upholstery fabric, rugs, even floors, ceilings and walls.

The photo above shows a home with a Japanese aesthetic. Look at the living room on the right and you will see so many patterns – on the doors, floors, ceilings, rug, woven furniture, window jalousies. If the blinds were not rolled up, we would also be able to see its pattern. The reason why the design looks coherent is because there is a dominant color that ties it all up.

Patterns should be used with care because if you overdo it, you may feel the clutter that having all those patterns create in the room even if you have fully Marie Kondo’d the whole space.

When used well, patterns create interest and beauty, and could provide the continuity from room to room.

Colors

Now we’ve reached the seventh element – colors. Saving the best for last.

Colors is the element that can set the mood, either liven it up or tone it down. Colors create the ambience in a room. It is also the element that unites all other elements in the room, or highlights a particular texture, pattern, line or form. Do you like to have a space that gives you a feeling of balance with just a glance? Colors. Do you want to make a room seem brighter or darker? Colors. Do you want to make a space larger or smaller? Colors. How about giving a space the feeling that the vertical dimensions are higher or lower, or that the horizontal dimensions are wider? Yes, color again.

What can we say about colors? Or if you’ve been following this blog or the Boysen FB page, perhaps the question should be what more can we say about colors? We have written about so many painting ideas, color inspirations, wall paint designs. From hallways to living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, home offices, bedrooms, bathrooms and whatever rooms there are in a home, we’ve written about room paint designs, paint colors and wall design. Suggestions, tips, and video tutorials abound in this blog, not only for walls and other surfaces but also for furniture and decor! There is also a load of advice on technical matters about paint, if you’re that far ahead with your DIY.

If this is the first time you’ve visited the blog, these are the following painting ideas that can hasten your learning about colors –

Beautiful House Color Ideas and Combinations that Fit Your Ideal Home
Boysen’s Latest Paint Colors in 2019
Painting Ideas: How to Use Cool and Warm Colors
Borrow the 60-30-10 Rule of Interior Designers for Your DIY Painting
Tips on How to Use Paint to Make Your Condo Look Bigger

Here’s our ever-helpful and easy-to-undertand Painting 101 video!

There you go, the seven elements of interior design explained for us DIYers who want to boldly start projects to make our homes as beautiful, comfortable and inviting as they can be to shelter our beloved families. Remember that to create beauty, we don’t have to spend so much money. But we definitely need to learn, discover, experiment and do.

In the words of a sportswear company, JUST DO IT!

Annie H Adlawan
Author

Annie is an unrepentant workaholic, who runs this blog and her own company Talking Lions. She thrives on collaborating with people who are good at what they do, and working together with them to create something special.

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