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Elements of Great Interior Design

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Anyone can stage a beautiful photo for a few minutes. Or cover up some bad decisions with a good blanket, but real interior design lasts a lifetime. People can confuse interior design with interior decoration, but they are very different things.

Interior design – designing an entire living space from the ground up, using scientific techniques. Using seasons, emotions and the area itself to produce a final effect.

Interior decoration – Adding furniture to an already decorated interior.

There are some very specific elements that make up the general rules that interior designers live by, and sometimes because they know them so well, that is exactly what leads them to break them. Let’s take a peek at some of them:

Light – This is one of the elements on a room design that has to be manipulated by an expert. While most people will see one window and either think about how to dress it, a designer will see an opportunity to play. Man-made lights and natural light can work in harmony, provided the tone and location of the lights are taken into consideration. The lighting used, either task, accent or mood will also dictate how certain spaces are used at certain times in the day or year.

Color – Psychology and room purpose will play a big part in what the color palette for a room will be. Some rooms will require a tranquil touch, others a vibrant pop of colors and some a plain white as a backdrop to displaying art. Color has three characteristics –  hue, value, and intensity. Come colors will go together, others won’t, and some will give a beautiful ‘clash.’ Often you will find three shades of the same color in one room, a light, dark and medium tone. These will bring depth to some parts of the room, and draw attention to others. Colorwork takes skill and knowledge.

Texture – you might think the texture is just a wood floor or a soft blanket. However, there is so much more to texture than that. Visual texture is as it suggests where the texture is only visible. So look for things like beautiful woodwork, photo frames from high-quality sources like Artware, and wallpapers and paints that look like they have a texture – but they don’t. Secondly, you are looking at Actual Texture – which is where those soft blankets and wood floors come in. Actual texture is the carpets, drapes, pillows, throws, and anything else you can touch. Texture provides a sensory element to a room that requires physical touch making it very powerful.

Space – the single most important aspect too and design. Space, big or small, or a little awkward provides the foundation for everything that follows. Some interior designers flourish with large airy spaces, others have their brightest ideas in the darkest and smallest of rooms. Space, like the other categories, are divided up into a few areas. Firstly two-dimensional space, there are flat surfaces like walls and floors. Then, three-dimensional space which is the living space. You will also hear the use of positive and negative space which play powerful roles in good interior design.

If you decorating a space with artwork, understanding how positive and negative space interacts artistically can guide your aesthetic choices. 

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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