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Creative Spaces: the Principles of Interior Design and Architecture

Creating impactful interior spaces involves much more than a sixth sense for style. Exploring not only the things with which a space is filled but also how the space itself is put together, interior architecture gives homeowners an opportunity to custom-create a living space that’s decorated to perfection and purpose-built for their lifestyle.

At its most fundamental level, interior design and architecture is a case of fashion + function. But the truth is that there’s no formula for an extraordinary interior – only a set of guidelines designers use to create a space that’s beautiful and driven by best practices.

At Unit One Architects, our expert interior designers know how to transform an ordinary living space into an extraordinary architectural project – and today we’re sharing some of the golden rules we’ve picked up along the way.

Elements of Architectural Interior Design


Casting the creative lens over every interior architecture project is what ensures that a space is aesthetically exciting. Creative outcomes are driven by an innovative and offbeat approach to work, exploring the possibilities and settling for nothing less than immediate impact. Artistic decisions are powered by what will have the greatest visual impact within a given space, as well as being based on the practical workability of the project in question.


The economy of space is a key consideration when embarking on any interior architecture work. To ensure that an interior project is practical and feasible, it’s essential to assess the space available and create a design strategy that’s both impactful and implementable. Innovation knows no limits – but tangible and truly extraordinary design outcomes are only achievable when they’re built on a framework of feasibility and financial viability.


Not all interiors are equal – and there’s no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ approach to interior architecture. Adapting design disciplines to best enhance the space in question is what makes an outcome bespoke, and understanding the unique nuances of each space helps interior architects to be selective in their design decisions – enabling every interior space to reach its ultimate aesthetic potential.

The Principles of Interior Design

Although there are no hard and fast rules to interior design, and the process will always be somewhat abstract in nature, the bottom line is that all creative disciplines are governed by a set of artistic ideals. The principles of interior design revolve around an idea of cohesion among all elements – and a knowledge of what makes design ‘good’ helps us to deliver outcomes founded on professional understanding.


A sense of visual balance is essential for any interior to have the right impact – primarily because it gives equal emphasis to all design elements. This concept of balance extends far beyond symmetry in its most straightforward sense, paying due respect to how the ‘things’ that fill a space weight the room – aesthetically speaking. Whether it’s interior design that uses asymmetry to its advantage or positions objects around a point of orbit, the visual weight of all interior elements should be in equilibrium for the maximum aesthetic impact.


Focal points bring interior spaces to life, allowing all other elements to shine by effectively supporting the room’s most pivotal piece. Giving due emphasis to the central focus of a room can involve anything from limiting colour use to accentuate a vivid feature piece to highlighting a unique item of furniture by utilising the negative space surrounding it. But the overall objective remains the same whatever the interior: use other elements to shift the focus onto one specific aspect.


This is what transforms a room from a set of disconnected parts into a network of cohesive complementary visual elements. Aesthetic harmony enhances any interior space and, put simply, is what makes a room a room. Rather than populating your interior with competing foci, ensure that every element contributes to the unifying theme of the room – with an emphasis on cohesion rather than rigid consistency.


Following the significance of unity among all things, scale is also crucial when it comes to interior design that exhibits a clear sense of visual balance. Avoid overpowering the finer details of the room by choosing appropriately sized elements to complement them. Neglecting a sense of scale can make an interior jarring – so an attention to how furniture and accessories interact is vital.


Uniformity can be powerful in the right context, but a creative use of contrast will break an otherwise monotonous visual motif to spectacular effect. Contrasting elements can be anything from a splash of colour to a choice of material to a use of shape. What’s essential, as ever, is that the contrast is complementary – illuminating an interior by using a clash in a way that protects the impact of both the majority and minority elements.


Not dissimilar from the principles of professional photography, interior architecture and design requires a dedication to the flow of all visual elements. Considering not only how each component serves the overall ‘look’ of the space but also how the eye moves from one object to the next (and the route it takes) will guarantee the space is exciting, as well as aesthetically satisfying. Create rhythmic rooms through the use of repetition, progression and alternation across colour, material or shape.

Whatever interior you’re working with, experimenting with creative design concepts is the key to utilising every inch of space available. Understanding the rules of interior design and architecture gives you the chance to break them, using tried and tested best practices to spectacular effect – or manipulating them to create something truly rare.

Contact Unit One Architects today to explore the potential of interior architecture and design. Based in Shoreditch, London, our imaginative approach to interiors is what allows us to find the full potential of every space we transform. Whatever the project, our interior designers will help you find a solution that’s both financially viable and visually extraordinary.