Using Key Design Principles When Renovating

by | Dec 3, 2020

Renovating your home is an exciting process. There are so many styles and themes to choose from, and I’m sure you’re ready to start researching (browsing Pinterest) and shopping. The first step of the process, however, should be understanding the key interior design principles that will guide you in your decision making.

So what are the key design principles and elements you ask?


When renovating you need to look at the space that you have available to you. Look at the room empty to see what you have to work with. If you don’t have a lot of room to work with, there are ways that you can create an illusion of more space.

The size of the room also dictates the size of the furniture that goes in it. Obviously, you can only put items in the room that are going to fit, but there’s more to it than that. You need to look at the different sizes and styles of the furniture you want to use and work out if they’re going to be in proportion to the room, if they’re going to fit comfortably with other items in the room, and if you’re going to still have enough space to navigate around the room.

Before making any purchases, measure the items and then go back to the room and map out where you plan to place them. You need to think holistically. Just because you love a particular sofa or coffee table, doesn’t mean it will work in your room.


banner image with circles - images of lines in the circles.

You can do a lot with a room by focusing on lines. Using vertical lines gives the illusion of the room being larger, while horizontal lines will give the effect of it being smaller. When you look at a built house many times you will see that a lot of straight lines are used. This is the norm, as we build square or rectangle-shaped homes, however, adding a curved line in a room gives a calmer and more relaxed feel to the area.

You can use these different line elements during the design phase by choosing furniture or décor that has lines included in it. You can change the whole look of a room by adding vertical blinds, a curved rug, or a lined feature wall.


This is the fundamental structure created when enclosing lines together. The shapes of the pieces of furniture that you have within a room can help to create the look and feel of the space.

For a traditional style, choose pieces of furniture that are detailed and have tufted fabrics, and keep the layout symetrical. For a modern room, keep the lines sleek and straight. Simplicity and clean lines are the way to achieve a modern look. If you want an eclectic look, you can mix pieces together both in colour, texture, style, and pattern. This is probably the hardest style to pull off well.

The shape of items in a room can create a completely different look and feel. By having a round coffee table or rug, you will soften sharp edges in the room. Alternatively, by having very sharp clean lines you make the room feel modern and minimal.


Colour is an important part of the design process, but it’s also one of the most complex steps that you need to look at. Experimenting with different colours can take a bit of time and confidence. You can change the design and look of a room just by using different colours.

Make sure you get plenty of different colour swatches and play around with the colours that you might like in the room. The difficult thing with colour is that a colour can look different when light hits it in different ways. This means you could have the same shade on two different walls, and when the light reflects around the room, one looks darker than the other. So consider the light in a room when selecting colours.

Another thing to consider is that the surrounding colours will make the colour look slightly different too. Think about all the colours you are going to use in the space and view them together. You can then see how they work with each other. Some colours work better together than others.

We provide colour consultations to help you find the perfect palette to suit your home and lifestyle.


Texture relates to anything we touch or feel, meaning it can be both visual and sensual. The texture of items can give warmth to a room and change how people feel when they enter. For example, a couple of soft, fluffy cushions on the couch will help to create a softer more inviting vibe. However, if you have hard grey tiled floors, with a sleek black leather sofa, it’s going to feel cold and uninviting. Think about the purpose of your room and then choose wisely!


Patterns work with colour to bring a new dimension to a room.

You can create patterns on the walls, using paint, paper, or tiles. You can also introduce pattern through rugs, blankets, or décor items within the room.

The options are endless, but be warned, too much pattern can be overwhelming. Try to combine some block colours with your patterns to balance them out. Be brave, but don’t go overboard!


Balance is a key part of the renovation process. You want to create a space that is comfortable, inviting, and one that you’re excited to have created. If a room is not balanced it can make it feel cramped and uncomfortable.

To create a balanced room, you need to evaluate the space and the items you’re putting in it. The goal is to keep them in proportion to each other and the room. It needs to visually look balanced and that everything fits nicely into the room. As an example, having four armchairs in a room with a small coffee table will look crowded. Instead, you could replace it with a 3-seater couch and a single armchair to balance it out. Remember, “less is more”.


Lighting is an important design principle and can make or break a room. There is more to lighting than just putting one traditional light in the middle of a room.

Task and mood lighting add function and drama to a room. You can also highlight the areas that need more lighting with lamps. Add soft ambient lights to help create a moody, more inviting space. This might be concealed lighting around furniture pieces or lighting on the treads of your stairs. Lighting adds sophistication to space that can’t be achieved in any other way.

Some rooms will require functional lighting, for example in the kitchen. Downlights and under cupboard lights help to not only create a more inviting space, but they are also necessary to help you complete tasks like preparing meals.

Understanding the key design principles will aid your designing and planning stage, consequently making for a hassle-free renovations process. Take your time, and create the space you are excited to come home to every day.

We’d love to talk to you about your upcoming renovations. Call us on 0407 480 668