Interior Design Basics: Free & Effortless Way to Start Your Home Decor

Perfect starting point for any beginner in interior design. Discover the basic interior design principles and get familiar with the trade language. FREE

If you are just starting out researching for what may be your Interior Design Style. You will notice that specific interior design terms like hues, textured and monochromatic always pop up and if you are not familiar with the lingo this article is for you…

In this post I will answer the following questions. And explain what these interior design phrases mean for your design project. Further I share tips & tricks on how you can implement those tactics right away. So you will be able to understand the phrases and know how to easily apply them.

I will explain the following interior design term and what they mean:

  • What is a Interior Design?
  • Design styles are?
  • What are the fundamentals of Interior design?
  • Why they are important?
  • The psychology of color?
  • What are Color Schemes?
  • A way to find your perfect color
  • What are pattern?
  • Why are textures important?
  • How to apply Texture to a wall?

Did you mean to visit this? –Beginners Guide to Interior Design and Decorating

As you can see we have lot’s of design slang to cover so let’s jump right in.

The Basics:

What is Interior Design all about?

According to Wikipedia – Interior design is the art and science of enhancing the interior of a building. The goal is to achieve a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing environment for the people that are using this space.

Interior design is in a nutshell:

The science of improving living conditions and the beautification of an interior space to benefit the people that use this space.

And an interior designer is someone who transfers these rule int a space.

Some of his main functions are the planing of the project (measuring the space and produce floor-plans) He also sources the matching design products. His job is to maximize the return on your design investment (Budget)

I have a lot more details on the profession in my Interior Designer FAQs sheet that you should read if you consider hiring one. It comes also with a checklist. But you can read that later …

Interior designer vs. interior decorator (what’s the difference?)

According to Wiki – Interior Decorating links to Interior Design. However, there is a neglect of one major component. And that is the fact that an Interior Designer is actively involved in the remodeling or construction period. And the Interior Decorator works solely on the enhancement of the interior of an existing space.

Why is that important?

In case you decide to hire a professional to assist you with your home/room design. You should know that an Interior Designer may also decorate. However, the Interior Decorator never designs.

Plus, both professions come with a very big difference in their price tag.

You should also know…

That most residential Designer have their preferred decorative style.
Likely just because it is their preferred choice.

However, there are not always clean lines, since there could be modern design elements integrated in an mid century design, Or there could as well be a modern twist to the eclectic style as well.

That may be why you find many modern style design elements.

I published and Explained almost 30 popular design Styles in a different post.

There you can find the design elements for art deco, the modern style. From contemporary design as well as the eclectic style to name just a few .

And here you can learn more about the interior designer trade!

What does the interior design term – Design Style mean?

The design term Style is short and simple the result of a change (movement) of a look that took place in a specific time period.

So if we say that we are designing in a mid century style it means that we create a replica of the look and style of a living space during a specific time period.

Since first accounts of styles lead back to the earlier time periods of human kind. Like the great Greek’s or the Egyptian’s, there are many styles available.

You can later get detailed information on interior design styles here.

However, I included a few common ones in the following info-graphic.

Interior design Basics - Info-Graph
interior design term explained With my Interior design 101 Infograph

What’s the Interior Design Term Fundamentals of Interior Design talking about?

Interior design term explained - The Fundamentals of interior Design infogrph

Why they are important?

They are the cornerstones of every great design. The main objective in interior design is to create a efficient and balanced space. take proportion for example.

If a rather small home is filled with large furniture pieces it will feel stuffed and cramped together. Or vice versa if a large room has only a few small pieces of furniture in it they look puny and lost.

To create a balance we would either remove furniture from a stuffed room. Or replace heavy looking pieces with their lighter appearing counterparts.

In the large and empty room you could had either more smaller pieces or replace them with heavier object unless you are aiming at an minimalist design style

The psychology of color

Take a closer look at the Info-Graphic below to get the break down on the design phrases – psychology of colors.

The interior design term explained - Psychology of color | I explain design term with help of this infograph

From the info graph above you can learn that the paint color in a room can create the following emotions:

  • Bold is also dramatic
  • Neutral can be also relaxing
  • Some shades improve productivity
  • Others can stimulate your appetite
  • Some shades are automatically associated with wealth and novelty
  • While others trigger the feel of professionalism and superiority

Now you can see why you should think about how you want to use a space.  And then choose the best suitable color for this room.

As an example your home office should be painted in a color tone that increases productivity. While your living room should get painted in a color that rather relaxes and calms you down.

interior design term explained - monochromatic color scheme - Neutral Color schemes
interior design term explained – monochromatic color scheme – Neutral Color schemes

Color Basics

An easy way to learn more about colors and shades is to buy a cheap color wheel at your local building supplier. Or Simply click here to play around with different colors to make your choice.

Further, if you look at just one of color cards below, you can see the see the 8 different color tones on each card and those are the color shades.

color-card -illustration to explain color design term

Look at the color wheel below and you notice it contains 12 base colors. And those are the base tones from which all others shades are produced from.

You should also see in the wheel image how the individual colors relate and engage with each other. Which ones complement, as well as which are  rather in contrast to another.

Color Schemes are another frequently used Interior Design Term so let’s see in this info graph what Color Schemes are about.

interior design term explained - monochromatic color scheme - Clolor Schemes by Mr. Bazzi infograph
Image credit: Clolor Schemes by Mr. Bazzi infograph

The Design Term Color Schemes

You did read it time after time and you should pick your color scheme.

But what does this actually mean? Well keep on reading and I will try to answer that question right now.

I the info graph above you can see to the right 7 combinations of paints. I will here explain the 3 most commonly used paint schemes, that you can find in most interior designs.

Let’s take a closer look to learn how they are defined.  I will also point out the strength and weakness of each individual scheme.

1. Monochromatic – The interior design term Monochromatic comes from the Two words mono (means one) and  chroma is the translation for color. Ergo we use only variations (shades) of one color in this paint scheme.

interior design term explained - monochromatic color scheme
interior design term explained – monochromatic color scheme
  • The advantage to this sort of scheme is the ease to create a balanced look.
  • The disadvantage is that it could appear boring and dull.

2. Complementary – also called corresponding is a design term where we utilize 2 colors from the opposing side of the wheel. As you can see on the right of the info-graph. We have a selected the color red at 11 o’clock and green at 5.

interior design term explained - complementary color scheme
interior design term explained – complementary color scheme
  • The positive effect is that this scheme can add interest to a room.
  • On the negative side this scheme makes it more difficult to create balance.

3.Analogous – is the interior design term for a color scheme that utilizes colors that are aligned beside each other on the color wheel. In our sample above we use the 3 colors red, red-orange and orange. As we would use it in a Moroccan Design Style.

interior design term explained - analogous color schemes
interior design term explained – analogous color schemes
  • Analogous styles have the benefit of a warm & richer look.
  • However, it also kinda a monochromatic look since the colors are closely related.

Color conclusion

  • If you look at the color wheel above. You will notice that there are 12 color groups.  Those are base colors from which all the different tones are developed.
  • Even more the wheel illustrates the relationship of just how they engage with each other.
  • You can see that some complement each other while others are more opposed or in contrast.

Paint Tricks

As we learned from the psychology of colors, various colors can embrace a feeling or stimulation. Like some can relax and have a calming influence.

Likewise paint can create the illusion of increasing the dimension of the room.

Oranges and also reds have the tendency to make a room look smaller.

A darker ceiling and floor color in comparison to light colored walls make a room look bigger.

Painting a room in a monochromatic scheme makes a room look larger as well.

Embrace What You Know

OK, you understand now what a interior design is. And you most likely by now determined you own desired design style.  So lets get started to finalize your idea and visualize what our area will look like.

Start with what you already have. And what you will reuse in your design.
Do you want to incorporate an personal important piece of furniture? if so will it fit the new design or will it be a contrasting element?

Consider its texture and finish as well as dimensions and find a well functioning place for it in your layout.

If it is a larger piece you can choose the main color of it and develop your color scheme around it.

Normally ceilings are the lightest color in the room. Unless you need to create an illusion.  Stick with bright colors like creams on your walls to create a more open and airy feel and look.

You can use darker color notes in floor-finishes, accent walls,  and trim.

Find your perfect color

You can get your color clues from your interior design style.

Once you narrowed down your choices you should got to your local paint supplier like Sherwin-Williams or Lowes and get small paint samples that a fairly inexpensive. Get a few (2-3) shades of your desired color.

Next, paint a small section maybe a 3×6 Inch size area on the wall that you like to paint. Do so with each shade and space them about 2-3 inches appart.

Let these paint sample on your wall toughly dry and place an additional coat on each.

After those test sections are dried you can get a better feel for what the paint will look like in your room with it’s natural as well as artificial light.

This procedure will enable you to make your final color selection.

Found your perfect color theme? Now You want to jump in and start painting?

Great, Learn Here How to Paint A Room In 5 Easy Steps Like A Pro

Pro Tip

I suggest to go a step further and do the same in all areas that you are planning to paint in this hue.  Further allow  be there for a few days. This will certainly give you time to choose if you like it. You can additionally do this with trim as well as any chosen accents colors.

What does the Interior Design Term Pattern Stand For?

The design term Pattern describes a simply a recurrence of on design motive like flowers or checkers. The repetition gets created by the print-roll in the manufacturing facility.

Think of it like a giant paint roller once the roller completed its full turn the design motive will be repeated.

This is especially important for wallpaper installation. Since you will have to allow for the repeat to match you next course of wallpaper to the previous one. What in turn can create waste that you need to have figured into your purchase. Various pattern conform with specific design styles you can find some more detail here.

Why are textures important?

You most likely came across the interior design term of textures for countless times. So let me explain what this term means to you.

Textures in a nutshell are the appearance of the surface of an item.

  • For example a piece of furniture can have a super slick and smooth finish. That would be a low or no texture.
  • A old handcrafted Oak Cabinet with lots of carvings and decor would be rich in texture.
  • Smooth finished sheet rock walls have no texture
  • A brick wall on the other hand is richly textured

This is important because furniture and other elements that are rich in texture appear heavier than the ones with low or none texture.

Using textures and patterns is an excellent tool to produce a prime focus in a room. They will also help to add character to an area.

A single wall-papered wall or a bookcase of a different shade will certainly add interest to the main design. A different accent color on a wall could also highlight a furniture piece. component.
Texture actually impacts how we see a color.

Smooth textures for example reflect light while rough surfaces have the tendency to absorb light. That is why I recommend in many cases to paint interior brick walls with a high-gloss light color to improve the light reflection and brighten up a room.

To create texture you can add fine quartz sand or granite dust to your paint what will create a grainy surface when applied.

Another cheap way to create the illusion of a texture is faux painting.

Where you paint a surface with one color and ad a second coat of an other shade before the first coat is all dried up.

There are also foam paint rollers that are not uniform to create a paint pattern just keep in min you can’t go back an forth with your roller like usually.

Now you should understand my Interior Design Styles

Pro Tip

How to apply Texture to a wall?

In this example we will create a rough textured wall with a dark green finish You will need:

  • 1 gallon of yellow paint
  • Another gal of a darker green (or any shade you prefer)
  • 1 3/4″ thick paint-roller (for rough surfaces)
  • A paint tray
  • 1 cup of granite dust or quartz sand
  • Optional a small pouch of gold or silver glitter. (nice sparkle effect)

Add about half of the fine quartz sand to your yellow paint a half a cup per gallon will be plenty.  Mix the glitter as well to the color. Make sure that you repeatedly stir up the paint during the painting process because the sand or granite dust will settle in the bottom of your paint can or pile.

Use a paint roller for rough surfaces because they are thicker and pickup more paint.

Apply a thick coat to your paint roller and paint rows of large X all over the wall. The size of can be anywhere from 6-12 Inches trust me it does not matter. Continue to do so till you have your wall from top to bottom and from side to side filled with those large X’es

Next you fill all the empty spots around those X with smaller ones. Continue to fill in those places till your wall is mostly covered. Give the paint a few hours to dry.

The following day you mix up the green paint as you did the yellow one and continue to paint the X pattern till there is no more white base coat visible.

The result will be a very structured sparkling wall that feels to the touch like rock. The texture is the strongest at each cross-point since you layer more and more textured paint on top of each other.

Just a last piece of advice is you  should open up your mind to limitless possibilities. There are many ways to create a unique interior design.

Now I want to turn it over to you!

Did you learn anything new? Or do you still have unanswered questions?

Did I miss something.?  What tip you will try first?

Will you texture a wall?

Let me know by leaving a comment below

Thanks JK

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