6 Principles of Residential Interior Design

6 Principles of Residential Interior Design

Modern interior living room. 3 seater grey couch with neutral pillows and  2 folding chairs on each side.

Take it from a pro interior designer. At Stewart-Schäfer, we use these 6 principles of residential design to create stunning interiors that stand the test of time.


Never underestimate how far your personal style can go in your interior design. In fact, this element of design is one of the most important as it honours your existence within a space and is the element that makes a space truly yours. When working with residential interior designers, they will never fail to completely understand your authentic style so that they can help you achieve it.

Authenticity starts with understanding the elements of interior design and architectural features that you are most attracted to and appreciate the most. Do research into styles of interior design that you enjoy and come up with a general plan. Working with professional residential interior designers or other interior designers can help you curate your authentic style so that it is both beautiful and true to who you are.


Choosing the right material for your interior design can be hard. There are so many choices and finding the perfect ones that live up to your desired functionality of the space, authentic style, and budget is quite the task.

Interior designers go through a rigorous selection process when it comes to choosing materials to be used in residential design and interior design. The two main components when choosing is construction and texture.

The construction of a material refers to its quality and how long it will last in the interior design space. For example, a coffee table that is visually perfect for a room may be passed over if it is not functional or is made with poor materials that will cause it to break sooner. Texture refers specifically to textiles, and how easy the texture fits into a space and helps to create contrast.


Color is the first thing anybody notices in interior design. This is because it is so familiar, easy to identify, and relatable to anyone with any level of design experience. Playing with color is the easiest way to make a statement and create emphasis in your space.

In addition, color is one of the most effective ways to create a certain tone in your room or small space. Color theory suggests that different colors create different moods. For example, blue can be used to create a sense of calm and tranquility while yellow is often used to create a sense of energy and freshness.

Try different color techniques such as monochromatic color schemes (using different tones of the same color or one color throughout the space), neutral palettes, bold palettes, pastel palettes, etc. Or, try creating a focal point with color.

Green modern design sitting room


The importance of contrast in a space is paramount as this helps to create visual interest in your residential interior design. Designers highly value this particular interior design element as it truly takes any project or interior spaces from mediocre to absolutely stunning.

There are many different ways to achieve contrast in a space. An interior designer may opt to use contrasting colors in a space (such as opposite colors or neutrals and bold colors, etc.) when painting or contrasting textures in textiles. Contrast can also be achieved by hanging art on walls, including shape in furniture, opting for pattern, and more.


Creating visual harmony, even in a smaller section of a room, is essential. To achieve this type of balance, one must aim to create equilibrium in the room. This can be done in many different ways, such as balancing the visual weight of objects in the room, textures, colours, patterns, heights, etc.

Symmetrical balance: Symmetry can be understood simply as spaces that can be split in two and be equal on each side. Realistically, this looks like the same amount of chairs/stools on each side of a table, two bookshelves each designed with the same items, etc. This type of balance is easy to achieve and often beautiful, however, be cautious to not overuse this principle as it can turn a beautiful home into one that is monotonous and boring.

Asymmetrical balance: A room or a small section of a room can still be symmetrical even if it is not mirrored. This type of balance is called asymmetrical, and it is easily accessible. Different elements like the visual weights of lines, colors, forms, and textures can be staggered across the room to ensure harmony.

Radial balance: One achieves radial balance when a central focal point is made, supported by other design elements/styling items to radiating from around it. A round dining table with chairs around it is a great example of this. Repeating design elements of form, texture, and color in a circular form around the room will help to create visual interest and this type of balance.


It is so important to understand proportion ratios within the space you are designing. To create functional living spaces or residential design, you must stagger sizes of objects within the room you are designing, while also ensuring that those proportions are appropriate for the room.

Proportion is the ratio between the size of one part to another, and scale is how the size of one object relates to another or to the space in which it is placed. For instance, a large overstuffed sectional in a small room will be out of scale.

Some proportional relationships are more pleasing than others. The ancient Greeks came up with the Golden Section, which sought to reduce all proportions to a simple formula: The ratio of the smaller section to the larger section should be the same as that of the larger section to the whole. This proportion is present in nature, and artists and architects have used it as well.

Understanding the basics of interior design the way that interior designers do will help you make the most visual impact when creating interiors in your room, house, or other space. Try out these tips and see how they work in your residential interior design. Or, if you're looking for help, contact our professional residential interior designers at Stewart-Schäfer today.

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