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How to Include the 7 Interior Design Elements in Your Home

Have you ever walked into a room and thought, “hmm, nice. But something is just ….off”? Maybe you feel like that now in your own space. I know I’ve experienced this. With home decor, we tend to focus on a couple things we feel comfortable with. Maybe it’s pillows (I see you and all your throw pillows out there!) or maybe it’s plants and the never ending search for wall paint. Well, chances are, if a room feels flat, it’s missing a key design detail. Here, I’m going to share the seven interior design elements and how to EASILY include them in your home. 

bedroom with the seven interior design elements

As a studied topic, interior design technically includes seven elements for balanced design. The JD School of Design gives a thorough and detailed outline of each element if you’d like to learn more.

Here, I’ll give you an snapshot of each along with a few examples. I’m also including a strategy you can apply to your room immediately (most without purchasing a thing!).  Grab your FREE Design Checklist and Action Plan!

family room furniture


The first element to look at is space. This refers to how a room is organized. Think of the furniture arrangement, traffic flow, and how it functions. 

Common pitfalls we might encounter here are using furniture that is too large and clunky for the space. Or, conversely, furniture that is too sparse. 

Immediate update:

Remove extra large furniture or pieces that block a natural flow. 

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When choosing furniture, I look for simple, streamlined pieces that will incorporate easily into most spaces. This helps a lot with creating a functional space. If you’re looking for furniture pieces, check out 6 Minimal Console Tables , Simple Round Coffee Tables, and Low Profile Accent Chairs.

bedroom office corner

2. Color:

 This includes all the colors of a space as well as the hues (warm or cold).  Yes – white, black, wood, and black are all colors too.  As you know, color affects the mood and overall ambience. 

As you probably know from reading this site, I prefer neutral colors such as a neutral whites, blacks, grays, and wood tones. I find them more calming and easier to work with.

Immediate update:

Find an item with color in your room and identify the feeling it evokes. If it’s not a feeling you want for that space, remove it. 

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Wondering how to choose paint colors? Check out my Favorite Neutral Paint Colors and grab my free paint guide below.

kitchen coffee nook with artwork, baskets, and flowers

3. Texture: 

Give me all the texture. If I had to choose one interior design element that changes it all, texture is it for me. 

Texture adds depth and interest to a space. This includes materials such as fabrics, flooring, rugs, curtains, pillows, and walls. 

Immediate update: 

Include at least one tactile friendly item in each space. Whether it’s a woven pillow, tasseled rug, or wood shelves – these make a huge difference!

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You’ll likely find lots of texture inspiration by looking through my photos and I have lots of posts on the topic including 7 Versatile Woven Baskets and Guide to Woven Wood Shades as well as my list of favorite Resources.

living room with rug, couch, table, and decor

4. Pattern: 

No surprises here. This interior design element refers to the repetition of patterns such as stripes, floral prints, and geometric shapes. Pattern adds visual interest and personality to a room.

However, there’s no need to go overboard to include this element. We do not need a dozen chevron pillows. Patterns can be found in a wood floor, rugs, board and batten wall treatments, or even artwork.

Immediate update: 

Look around your room and identify patterns. Highlight existing patterns and mix in new ones as you go. Also, play with art work – I like to mix florals with abstract lines. 

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If you’re looking for ways to add pattern, check out my Best Neutral Rugs for Every Space and My Favorite Source for Online Art Prints as well as How to Layer Pillows Like a Pro.

kitchen with subway tile, shades, lighting, and decor

5. Light: 

Light is probably the very first thing I notice in a space. Both natural and artificial lights make an impact by creating ambiance and highlighting features.  It also influences the mood of a space.

I like to maximize natural light as much as possible and use only warm white light bulbs (the daylight ones cast a blue tone!)

Immediate updates:

Change those lightbulbs from cool or daylight white to warm whites. Let in as much natural light as possible (ps. It’s ok to let some windows have minimal coverage, or even be bare!)

Take the Free Interior Decor Quiz

Boho or Mid-Century? Maybe Modern or Coastal? See what interior design style fits you best!

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While you’re looking at lighting, consider upgrading your fixtures. This is typically one of the first (and one of the easiest updates I make to a room!). Explore 7 Above the Sink Kitchen Lights, 9 Flush Mount Lights, and How to Install Wall Sconces Without Wiring.

kitchen wood shelves with shelf decor

6. Form: 

The interior design element of form refers to the shape and structure of objects.  This includes furniture and decor like vases, plant pots, and pillows. A dynamic space has a mix of form. 

There are two types of form: geometric and organic. 

Organic form includes plants while geometric is often man made, such as furniture. 

Often, a room has all boxy or square items which makes it feel flat!  These might include a boxy couch, rectangle coffee table, square pillows, books and picture frames.  See, all one form! 

Immediate update: 

If you have a room with lots of squared items, add other shapes such as round pillows, curved vases, flowing plants, and circular mirrors. 

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I’m always on the lookout for pieces that mix up the form in my spaces. I have a some posts with some of my favorite pieces including Ultimate Guide to Shelf Decor and 7 Neutral Home Decor Pieces.

tall book shelf styling

7. Line: 

Lines are created by the architecture, furniture, and other details like beams and windows. Lines create movement, define spaces, and add visual interest.

We see three types of lines: horizontal, vertical, and dynamic. 

Immediate update:

Typically, horizontal lines are seen through low furniture like couches and coffee tables.  Look for ways to add vertical lines through bookcases, tall plants (such as a snake plant), curtains, or painting a door with an accent color. 

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I’m always looking for ways to add vertical lines and have related articles including How to Style a Photo Ledge and All My Kitchen Details Revealed.

Interior Design Elements Summary

Ok, hopefully you now have a better idea of the seven design elements and how to include them in your space. By including all of the factors (space, color, texture, pattern, light, line, and form) into your styling, you’ll create a more balance and interesting room!

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7 interior design elements