Renovating your home is an exciting time. There are so many styles to choose from these days and deciding which one to stick with can be a challenge. I like to blend styles and go between a classic shaker style and relaxed coastal.  But what this all equates to is lots of shopping! I like to research online and use Pinterest to capture my inspiration. But before you make decisions on individual elements or furniture, it’s important to understand the key design principles. There’s no point shopping if you aren’t thinking of how the whole project comes together in the finished product.

When renovating your home, it is important to take into account the key design principles and elements. Using these will help you to make the most of the space you have, create a comfortable haven and a home that you are excited to be in.

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. This is the space inside the walls of the room – not the space once you have items in the room. Look at the empty room and see what you have to work with. Don’t forget to look up! The space you have overhead is so important and can influence what you put in the room and how you use the available space.

If you don’t have a lot of room to work with, there are also ways that you can create an illusion of more space and it also works in the opposite and you can make a room look smaller than it really is.

The size of the room will always dictate 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 are going to be in proportion to the room, if they are going to fit comfortably with other items in the room and if you are 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 to place them. Create a plan to see if it is going to work for you and your space. Just because you love a particular sofa or coffee table, doesn’t mean it will work in your room. You need to think holistically.


banner image with circles - images of lines in the circles.You can do a lot with a room by focusing on the lines in the room. If you are using vertical lines, it is going to give the illusion of the room being larger and if you are using horizontal lines it will give an 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. But you can’t deny that a curved line in a room gives a calmer and more relaxed feel to an 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 the room by designing it with vertical blinds, a curved rug or a lined feature wall. Or even creating a curved wall when building the home.


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

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 the 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 master of all.

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. 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 is 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 2 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. But if you’re confused, consult a specialist or interior designer to make sure you’re on the right track.


Texture relates to anything we touch or feel. It can be both visual and sensual. The texture of items can give warmth to the 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. As will a velvet sofa and a shaggy rug. However, if you have hard grey tiled floors, with a sleek black leather sofa, it’s going to feel cold uninviting. This might work in an industrial-style loft or reception area where people aren’t going to sit for a long period of time. But if you are designing your lounge room at home and you spend a lot of time there, you want it to be soft, and comfortable. So, think about the purpose and then choose wisely!


Patterns work with colour to bring a new dimension to a room. It makes it more than just a colour being used and can change the whole look of a room.

Photo by Terry Magallanes from Pexels

You can use patterns on the walls, using paint, paper, tiles etc.  Patterned rugs on the floors,  or with blankets and décor items that are in the room.

It could be subtle or a bold Tropicana theme with bright reds, oranges and greens. The options are endless. But be warned, too much pattern can be overwhelming. Try to combine some block colours with your patterns to balance it out. Be brave, but don’t go overboard!


Balance is an important part of the process. You want to create a space that is comfortable, inviting and one that you are 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 are putting in it. The goal is to keep them in proportion with each other and the room. It needs to visually look balanced and that everything fits nicely into the room. Having tall items with some shorter items balances the space. If you have a lot of small items in a room, it can look cluttered, as opposed to one large piece. As an example, having 4 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. Heed the saying “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 the room.

Task lighting and mood lighting give function and drama to a room. You need to be able to highlight the areas that need more lighting with lamps. Like the kitchen and a study area. Add soft ambient lights to help create a moody, more inviting space. This might be concealed lighting around furniture pieces or lighting the treads on the stairs. It 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.

Designing and planning is a huge part of renovations. Understanding the key principles and elements need to be taken into account to ensure cohesion, flow and an overall sense of calm.

Take your time, and create the space you are excited to come home to every day.

If you are thinking of changing something in your home and would like a consultation to help with the decisions(big or small), get it touch. I’d love to help bring your new project to life!





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