Welcome back to the Daniels Design & Remodeling blog! You join us in the midst of a blog series discussing the fundamental principles of interior design, as the title no doubt already revealed. Part one saw us highlight just three principles of interior design: the rule of threes, the 10-30-60 rule, and the 3/3 vertical rule. 

Each takes a bit of explanation and context, so we’d recommend you stop what you are doing, go back, and read part one in its entirety before proceeding with part two. Of course, you can be a rebel and read part two first. You can also eat dessert before dinner, take a shower before you work out, or revise your resume after a job interview — but we wouldn’t recommend it!

In today’s blog, we have two distinct parts. The first is a list of general principles to keep in mind while decorating and designing. The second will be much more specific in that we’ll take a few elements of interior design and describe what we at DD&R believe is best practice. Of course, at the end of the day, this is your home we are talking about — not ours. Take what you like and discard the rest! Although, we have to say, we are confident you’ll find applying a good portion of these tips and rules to your own project will leave in good stead down the road. There is a reason we are calling these suggestions fundamental

General Principles

Let’s start with a few general principles that should be applied no matter the specifics of the setting you are designing, decorating, or both. 

  • Repetition – In all areas of life, repetition is key if you want people to notice something positive. Just like in marketing, you need to repeat a theme numerous times if you want to capture attention. In addition, repetition is not just for the sake of your houseguests; repetition is a familiar, comfortable idea which instills a subtle harmony to your room. 
  • Alternation – Alternation is variety in moderation. This moderation is key because too much variety creates chaos, and not enough is just plain boring. In order to keep from being too messy and random, alternate! If you need more help, go back and read up on “the rule of three” in part one!
  • Progression – In the same way that not enough variety is monotonous (by definition), our minds automatically are drawn to progressions in theme. Stark contrast is possible and might work well, but abrupt, arbitrary switches in aesthetic theme are discouraged. Our minds like a world that makes sense, so unless you are going for an Alice in Wonderland vibe, steer clear of the madness when it comes to colors, sizes, accessories, and pretty much any other topical category you can think of.  
  • Contrast – Contrast is a key element of any kind of design, with the interior variety being no exception. Of course, most of us think of your standard black and white contrast when conceptualizing contrast, but it doesn’t always have to be so stark. Likewise, contrast exists beyond color; think of shapes, sizes, and other elements. Just be careful to be conservative, otherwise we might head back down that rabbit hole…
  • Scaling – We see this rule broken far too often; finding large furniture in little rooms and the like. Keep small in small and big in big. Apply this rule when thinking of patterns, decorative accessories, furniture, etc. 
  • Consistency – When designing a singular room, such as a bathroom or bedroom, it’s easy to get caught up in the unique theme of the setting. While it’s completely acceptable for individual rooms to have their own feel, it’s crucial to remember that each room is a part of the greater home. The home should have a theme, however subtle it might be, so remember to incorporate patterns, color schemes, and other design elements when remodeling your kitchen, bathroom, or whatever the case may be. 

Specific Guidelines

If the above was general, we’ll be more specific, if not arbitrary, below. Again, there’s no real need to think of these as permanent law, but it’s worth considering when creating your own interior design strategy. 

Be Goldilocks About Curtain Length

Not too long, not too short — but just right. You want to be particularly mindful of curtain length when designing your room. “Measure twice, cut once” certainly applies in this instance. 

That sounds well and good, but if you are asking yourself, “How do I know what is too long or too short in the first place?”, fear not, for you are about to be informed. First, you want to hang your rod level at a minimum of halfway between your ceiling and the top of your window. Measure twice, then cut your panels so they barely touch the floor once they are hung. Of course, you could leave this to the professionals at Daniels Design & Remodeling, but the choice is yours nonetheless!

How To Hang Artwork Correctly

Here’s a pet peeve of ours: beautiful artwork incorrectly hung. Because of this, we implore our readers to not be hasty when hanging pictures or artwork! The rule of thumb is eye-level, which is a rule which a surprising number of people elect to forgo. Once you’ve got that taken care of, we’d recommend going with either a set of uniformly sized frames. If that sounds a bit boring to you, go with a focal piece surrounded by smaller, complementary frames. 

Light Source 101

This principle is simple in theory but can prove difficult in practice to execute: vary your light sources. When all of a room’s light comes from a single window or lamp, you are leaving a surplus of ambiance on the table. Varying light sources is a classic way to develop a warm, dynamic atmosphere. What’s more, if you’d like the option to have a more subdued mood in your room of choice, having the ability to turn off a handful of light sources is never a bad thing. 

You don’t have to blow out a wall to make room for an extra window either; sometimes an extra lamp or two is all it takes!

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Daniels Design & Remodeling is Northern Virginia’s premier boutique home remodeling company because we emphasize customer experience in terms of both process and outcome. We take pride in collaborating with our clients to bring your unique vision to life. If you are interested in working with us, feel free to browse our website or reach out to us if you have any questions. We’d love to hear from you, so schedule your conversation with us today!