Home office design has become a significant topic in the last few months, and interior design basics can go a long way in how you approach your home office project! The profession of interior design has gained new energy over the past several years as Do It Yourself (DIY) blogs, reality and home remodeling shows have made it a thing. The corona virus has also played a part in shaping an interest in interior design as people shelter in their homes and must utilize living space in a new way. I predict that lessons learned from the pandemic will shape the way we think about interior design and plan homes for the future.
Whether you need to design your living room, dining room, or home office, the following design principles will aid you in your effort. This article will cover the basics of interior design and home design in general. You’ll get a sense of your own interior design style as you read through the concepts.
David Hicks, a famous designer, once said “Interior design is essentially the process of maximizing the potential of a living space and what it contains.“
To make the most of interior design, it’s all about getting home office ideas to determine what you like and don’t like. Start making a list of “must haves” and “must not haves” you can refer to later. Keep your design ideas in mind as your list will be helpful in the design process. Good room design often starts with a list that gets elaborated later.
What is Interior Design?
Interior design is all about configuring spaces so they’re functional, livable, safe, and meet the needs of the individuals who will use them. It’s about combining elements in a harmonious way so that they’re aesthetically pleasing and blend together.
It is possible to transform the look and feel of a room or living space without resorting to major structural changes. Interior designers accomplish this using a combination of elements – light and color, for example. You would be surprised what can be accomplished by arming yourself with a few basics, so if you are interested in learning something new, read on!
The seven basic elements of interior design are:
Without being an expert, keeping these elements in mind can help you enhance the variety in your living space. For example, to add texture or pattern, you can use curtains, area carpets, wall-hangings, or other office decor. The basic elements must blend to create a harmonious balance and make your space truly functional and pleasing.
Lines help shape a room and draw the eye to a focal point. Furniture can create lines; for example, a desk surface is a horizontal line.
Broadly speaking there are three categories of lines – horizontal, vertical, and dynamic.
Horizontal lines create a sense of formality and security, and you can make a space appear wider by accentuating the lines. Vertical lines like doorways and windows add strength, prominence, and dignity to a space.
Dynamic or angular lines are action oriented and promote movement. These lines can be found on stairs and other structures. Lines are used to define forms, and here’s where an interior designer may be helpful. Interior designers are skilled in using lines to define forms and create a sense of balance.
As an example, consider the lines in the following layout:
Your eye is immediately drawn to the vertical column separating the windows – let’s call this the focal point. This creates a sense of stability and structure. The horizontal line on the top of the couch, and the counter line on the left provides symmetry and a sense of balance. Symmetry and balance is also provided by the vertical column to the right (in the corner) of the focal point and the vertical lines on the stairwell. To the left of the focal point, there are horizontal and vertical lines in the windows, again providing symmetry and in this case, a little texture.
The diagonal lines on the ceiling provide stability, structure, and prominence, and give the room almost a majestic feel. The pillows on the couch provide texture. The lines on the wood flooring provide contrast and form.
Direct and Implied Lines
Lines help shape a room and draw the eye to a focal point. Lines can also create movement and feelings. There are two types of lines – direct and implied. Direct lines are the lines you see visually, and indirect lines are the ones your eye creates by naturally following the space between two elements or points or the edges of shapes and forms. Sometimes these elements appear to form a single edge.
Furniture can create lines; for example, a desk surface is a horizontal line. Horizontal lines create a sense of formality and security, and you can make a space appear wider by accentuating the lines. Vertical lines like doorways, columns, and windows add strength, prominence, and dignity to a space.
As an example, consider the lines in the following layouts:
In the first example, the two lamps on either side of the headboard are at the same height as the headboard which creates a foundation for the artwork above, which is a large light fixture. Had the lamps been above or below the headboard line, the large structure may not have worked, because your brain would have been confused by the disjoint in lines. Keeping the line simple and fluid creates the desired effect and represents a successful use of implied lines.
In the second example, you also have a line created with the headboard and lamps, which supports the mirror above (the focal point). You also have the vertical columns on either side of the bed which create a sense of prominence, formality, and grandeur. The vertical lines also create a sense of balance.
For home office interior design, lines are important for the reasons stated above, but particularly because they create a sense of balance and security and help make the living space functional. What can you say about the use of lines in the following example:
Forms play an important role in home office interior design. Form refers to shape, quite literally the physical form of any 3-D object. An arrangement of lines that creates a shape is called a form. Forms can be created by combining shapes and can be enhanced with things like texture, pattern, colors, and light. Shapes should be combined to produce the desired effect. If you have a long rectangular table, try contrasting that with circular objects.
Form is important as it impacts the way we interpret space. When you look at an object, you have to consider not only the object but also the negative space around the object.
Consider the length, height, and width of objects as they relate to other objects in the room. Are the chairs high and thin or short and squat? Do they have curves? These elements contribute not only to the aesthetics but also the mood of the room. When you add color, you can truly transform a living space.
The following images provide great examples of the use of forms. Pay particular attention to the last two images which provide examples of form for home office interior design:
Space is a very important component of interior design and is one of the primary design elements. It it is the foundation upon which the room design is built and represents the area occupied by a shape or form including the background.
Space can be either positive (filled) or negative (background). Space planning is a basic component of interior design, and an interior designer will typically begin with consideration of how the room will be utilized.
The interior designer then divides the space into zones and defines what tasks and activities will occur in the zones. In addition, consideration must be given to the workflow pattern to consider how people will move through the room. This is a crucial step in space planning to ensure the room will best serve the purpose for which it was intended and provide the required comfort.
The plan is finished by placing the hardware, furniture, and equipment.
How to Create a Simple Space Plan
You do not have to be an architect or interior designer to create a simple plan. In fact, if you plan to hire an interior designer, it’s best to have a simple space plan as it will force you to think through the space and what you really want.
Step 1: Take an assessment and answer the following questions:
- Who will be utilizing the space?
- What will the space be used for?
- What are the specific activities that will be accomplished in the space?
- What is your preferred design style?
Step 2: Measure the space
Step 3: Create a bubble diagram of the space elements
Step 4: Map the flow
For home office interior design, lighting is one of the most important considerations. Having the right lighting can increase productivity, increase morale, and basically allow you to get work done efficiently. It is important to consider lighting early on in the process so you can position your desk appropriately and consider furniture placement. In many cases, home office space was repurposed for office use and was originally designed for another purpose. As a result, electrical outlets and windows may not be in the ideal spots. However, with a little planning, you can assess your space and determine the proper lighting.
There are many types of lighting, but following is the lighting to consider when designing your home office:
This lighting essentially comes from windows and skylights. When considering natural lighting, avoid glare by positioning your desk or monitor in front of the light source and using shades or curtains to monitor the light. Consider the following lighting examples. In the first example, without the blinds closed, the light comes in sheets and would create a glare on the computer screen. At the very least, the computers should be facing the window to minimize the glare.
The second represents an example of too much natural light.
When planning your home office interior design, it’s all about color! However, selecting an appropriate color combination can be overwhelming. Paint colors create mood and can significantly define the style of the space. Sometimes it’s difficult to visualize how a room will look with specific colors, but with a little planning and research, you can make appropriate color selections.
Color schemes are considered either warm or cool. Warm colors are red, orange, and yellow because they are the colors of fire. Blue, green, and purple are considered cool colors because they resemble the color of water. There are lots of variations in between.
Colors are divided into primary, secondary, and tertiary.
Pairing colors is quite common in interior design. Depending upon the look and mood you’re trying to achieve, you can pair colors to achieve the desired effect.
Consider the color schemes in the following images:
Need ideas for office colors and a beautiful color scheme? There’s nothing like the Pantone color of the year and corresponding color palette. Every year, Pantone selects a color of the year and provides beautiful and stunning harmony colors to go with it. Sherwin Williams does something similar.
Check out the colors for 2019, 2020, and 2021. In 2021, they picked two colors! The Pantone color of the year represents the most popular and trending colors, so you can’t go wrong here:
2021 Pantone Color of the Year
2020 Pantone Color of the Year
2019 Pantone Color of the Year
Pattern is an underlying structure that organizes surfaces or structures in a consistent, regular manner. Pattern can be described as a repeating unit of shape or form, but it can also be thought of as the “skeleton” that organizes the parts of a composition.
Patterns are dramatic; think of them as disruptors. Patterns break up an otherwise monotonous, boring, and one-note design. Patterns provide a deepness to the space and help create cohesion and contrast in the room.
Texture represents the surface quality of an object and adds an elusive dimension to any room. It is one of the most important design elements. Many artists use texture to evoke a feeling. Consider the following paintings:
Texture is not easy define as it represents how you imagine something will feel when touched. Pavement is rough. Fur is smooth. Texture helps create balance between items as some textures promote a lighter or heavier feel.
Texture in home office interior design refers to the quality of the surface of an item – the look and feel. Texture helps enhance the style and add another dimension to the room. Consider texture when buying accessories and in some cases selecting furniture. Texture can be added with floor rugs, wall ornaments, desk decor and overall office decor. Consider texture in the following images to get ideas:
Textured walls and other wall art are an option to add texture:
Interior Design Styles
There are many decorating styles to consider in home design and when planning your home office. Design trends typically play a role in your selection as the latest trend rises to the surface when we shop or browse online. Interior design styles consider many the seven design elements discussed before which can be reflected in window treatments, furniture, area rugs and other room design components. From Scandinavian to mid century modern, there’s a design style for everyone.
Should I Use an Interior Designer?
While you can tackle your home office design, an interior designer can provide the following benefits:
- Depending on the size of the project, an interior designer can help avoid costly mistakes.
- Helps make sure there’s cohesion in all of the design elements.
- An interior designer will provide a professional assessment and might point out things you may not have considered.
- If your project will involve contractors or architects, an interior designer will have contacts with proven experience.
- An interior designer will help keep you on budget, and may be able to present lower cost alternatives that meet your same objectives.
- An interior designer will help with the contracting process.
- Interior designers provide a different perspective than your own. This can be good or bad, but more often than not, you will appreciate a trained eye.
Studying the basics of interior design style is helpful and necessary before you undertake a design project. As you learn and expose yourself to interior design basics, you will undoubtedly uncover design ideas that you may have missed otherwise. You don’t know what you don’t know.
There’s a wealth of knowledge and home design references online and in your local library. Design ideas are all around you, and every piece of furniture should be carefully considered in the design process. Once you buy or acquire a piece of furniture, it’s hard to get rid of it, so careful planning can help avoid a cluttered living space with furniture that doesn’t work!
Your design style is unique to you. There are many styles from mid century modern to rustic and everything in-between. Mid century modern encompasses organic influences, simple forms, and has an emphasis on function. There’s something included for everyone.
Your home is your sanctuary. Design it with a little style and indulgence, and it will pay off dividends in the years to come. It will also help sell your home when the time comes.