Style the Home Right with These Interior Design Principles! (2022)

IN THIS POST:
Balance
Emphasis
Contrast
Rhythm
Scaling
Details
Harmony

Several different interior design styles can be used to revamp your home and furnishings for a new look. However, the art of interior designing demands that equal importance be given to all seven principles of interior design, along with creating a balance between the seven different elements of interior design. Let’s discover the basic principles of interior design in this post to create a harmonious living space.

Understanding the 7 Principles of Interior Design

Part of the syllabus of every interior designer, the seven principles of design that they must adhere to are:

  1. Balance
  2. Emphasis
  3. Contrast
  4. Rhythm
  5. Scaling
  6. Details
  7. Harmony

One of the primary benefits of hiring an interior designer is that they will be able to balance and harmonize all of the necessary elements and principles of interior design in your space for a cohesive and impactful result. But even if you have an expert at hand, you should be aware of the basic interior design principles, so that you can brainstorm on the design of your living spaces accordingly.

Let’s discuss each of these principles in detail below for a better understanding of what they encompass.

Balance

Style the Home Right with These Interior Design Principles! (1)

Proper distribution of objects around a room creates a visual balance that makes the interior seem more appealing to the eye. This interior design principle considers the visual weight of the objects according to their shape, colour, texture, or pattern. Even an object as light as a pillow can be quite heavy on the eyes if it is misplaced, or heavily adorned with textures and patterns. Creating balance in a room is also about adding equal weight to both sides of the room. This can be done using physical objects as well as by blending a range of interior design elements into the space.

Balance can generally be created in three ways:

Symmetrical Balance

Symmetrical balance is the most pleasing to the eye and is the easiest to create in traditional styles of interior. It is commonly chosen for square rooms, as you can easily divide the room into two equal sides or halves. Then, matching sets of sofas, chairs, beds, and consoles, or similar patterns and colours are used to match one side of the room to the other. However, since matching design elements are used on both sides of the room, this kind of balance can become boring and dull.

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Placing a sofa on either side of a table, placing the same vases on either side of a mirror on the side console, and placing the same light fixtures directly opposite one another on either side of the room, are a few common examples of symmetrical balance.

Asymmetrical Balance

If you want to design a modern interior, achieving an asymmetrical balance is a more practical approach. In this design strategy, we focus on balancing the visual weight of the objects on one side of the room with other objects of similar shape or form on the other side. Think of it as balancing the placement of a sofa on one side with the placement of two chairs on the other. Any number of objects can be added to your room to attain asymmetrical balance.

The slight freedom of not decorating in sets or pairs makes this design style more interesting but it can be difficult to seemingly balance two completely different objects on either side of the room while keeping the room visually pleasing. Ensure that both objects have similar sizes, colours, or patterns to maintain asymmetrical balance easily.

Radial Balance

Very rarely heard of and even rarely used, radial balance deals with the presence of curved structures in the interior, including staircases, circular dining tables, chandeliers, and more. Radial balance aims to create circular symmetry with a common focal point in the room, placed in the centre, and other items radiating out from it and directing the eye only inwards or outwards in a circular pattern. Repetitions of curves, patterns, and colours are commonly found in this design, such as the way a circular dining table, with a circular chandelier above it and chairs all around it, grabs the attention as soon as you enter the room.

Emphasis

Style the Home Right with These Interior Design Principles! (2)

Emphasising something means especially calling attention to a word or a phrase when we are talking to another individual. Similarly, in home décor, you are conversing with your guests using your style of décor. You need to direct where their focus will be when they walk into a room.

A living space that has no focal point can seem scattered rather than cohesive and harmonious. To rectify this and anchor your design to its space, you can add a large piece of furnishing, decorative false ceilings, a framed artwork, or even a stunning indoor fountain to make it the centrepiece and focal point of your room.

In simpler terms, the design principle of emphasis concerns itself with the need for a focal point in every room. There needs to be one object or architectural feature that draws attention when you enter the room. Fireplaces, both real and fake, also perform the same function, aside from providing warmth and adding to the aesthetics of the interior.

There are two methods to create emphasis and draw attention to an object or feature of the room:

Emphasis Using Strategic Placement

Placing large furniture pieces directly opposite the door to the room is one successful way of creating an impact and emphasising the object which needs to be the centre of attention. This method is often followed in bedrooms and dining rooms, by placing a bed or a dining table in front of the door, respectively. In such a case, the placement of the furnishing emphasises its importance.

Emphasis Using Interior Design Elements

Alternately, you can use a combination of interior design elements like form, light, texture, colour, and patterns to divert the eye towards something that may not be placed directly opposite the door but is catchy and interesting enough to attract attention as soon as you walk in. A photo wall, an amazing view through glass sliding doors, a mosaic-tiled wall feature, and a fireplace are just some of the focal points commonly used in homes. They can be further emphasised using both placement of furniture, as well as attractive colours, textures, or lighting.

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Contrast

Style the Home Right with These Interior Design Principles! (3)

One of the most commonly understood and used principles of interior design, contrast means using two colours, forms, or textures that differ strikingly from one another in such a manner that they complement each other to create a stunning interior as a whole. The most common example of this is monochrome décor, where black and white are colours that are complete opposites of one another, and yet, when used together, create a jarringly beautiful result.

Contrast can be created in any interior using the following methods:

Contrasting with Colours

Creating a colour contrast in living spaces is quite common. Aside from the monochrome style, we often see a play of lighter and darker hues of the same colour within a space, as well as light colours contrasted with dark colours for an eye-catching appeal. Ideally, you should use two colours from the opposite ends of the colour spectrum to bring about the most striking contrasts.

Colour contrasts are not only ideal for wall paints though. You can use them for small detailed touches as well, particularly if you have a neutral wall paint that can act as the perfect backdrop for a pop of colour. You can add small colour contrasts using colourful throw pillow covers, rugs, curtains, light fixtures, and decorative pieces.

Contrasting with Forms

The design element of form or shape can also be used to create contrast. You can play around with shapes like, rectangles, squares, circles, and ovals, to create a mix of rounded, smooth, and angled corners within a room that helps the eye travel fluently across the room. A common example of this is the use of an oval mirror on top of a rectangular console that is very pleasing to the eye due to its contrast, despite being a fairly overused style.

Contrasting with Textures

The feel of various materials around the room also dictates how welcoming it will be. A combination of different textures can be used to ensure that the room remains warm and welcoming without being overly stuffy. A mix of rough and smooth textures delivers the best results. Velvet couches with net curtains and textured wallpapers bring great variety into a single space, with the velvet making the room look and feel cosier, the net keeping the space light and airy, and the wallpapers adding a formal tone and setting the room apart from others in the house.

Contrasting with Materials

No home is complete without a mix of materials within its interior. Wood, glass, steel, chrome, stone, plastic, and fabric are some of the raw materials used to create furnishings and each of these materials looks and feels completely different from the other. This gives way to stunning contrasts of wooden floorings and furniture with steel and chrome decorative pieces in the living room or tiled floors with stone countertops and wooden cabinetry in the kitchen.

Rhythm

Style the Home Right with These Interior Design Principles! (4)

Rhythm dictates the line of sight through a room. As is the case in music, rhythm is all about creating flowing patterns with repetitions, transitions, and progressions that end up creating an amazing aesthetic indoors. Rhythm can be created using the same colours, same materials, same shapes, or even by a progression of smaller to bigger furnishings as you move around the room.

There are three ways to create rhythm in interior design:

Rhythm via Repetition

Repetitive rhythms are easy to create with the same colour echoed in a throw pillow, a rug, and a frame on the wall. Aside from colour, you can repeat the use of the same textiles or the placement of similar objects around the room. But use repetition with care, as nobody wants to listen to the same soundtrack on an endless loop all day!

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Rhythm via Progression

Progressing through the room in terms of shapes, sizes, or colours is also one way to bring a rhythmic feel to the interior. You can begin by placing small to large decorative objects in a room that ultimately lead to the grand focal piece. Progression is also possible with a play of light and colours. Use darker tones as you head deeper into the room with lighter colours welcoming you at the entrance. Alternatively, a bright entrance can lead you to a dimmer and cosier living room, pulling you towards it like a sanctuary.

Rhythm via Transition

Transitions are harder to achieve within an interior, as it means creating a flow of lines that the eye can follow to jump from one point to another in the room. It is often incorporated as a gentle guide for the eye to move with the flow of the lines and the furnishings to reach a focal point. Arches, modern curved furnishings, scenic windows, and curved staircases all play a part in creating transitions in a space.

Scaling

Style the Home Right with These Interior Design Principles! (5)

The principle of scaling refers to both scale and proportion of objects in comparison to the room itself. Small furnishings in a spacious room feel dwarfed by the dimensions of empty spaces, while bulky furniture in a small room can overcrowd it to a point that it becomes unbearable.

Thus, there are two concepts to understand here:

The Concept of Scaling

Scale refers to the size of objects within an interior space. It dictates that the size and dimensions must be known for sure to scale the décor inside any room. Some architectural elements and furniture have a standard scale, such as the height of a dining table, the height of walls in any home, the amount of space needed to place a shower cabinet without cramping the bathroom, and so on. A balance must be created between the size of the objects decorating a room and the dimensions of the room itself.

The Concept of Proportion

In contrast, proportion refers to a comparison of sizes of two objects that are placed side by side in the same room. A tall chair next to a low coffee table, a clock hung too high on the wall for a standard ceiling, or a tiny frame on a completely bare wall on one side of the room looks out of place to the eye. Thus, proportion is all about decorating the room for visual appeal, keeping the placement of objects with regards to size and functionality in mind.

The Golden Ratio of Interior Design

The Golden Ratio of scale and proportion that is handed down from the Greeks is abundantly present in nature and decorating a home with this ratio makes it aesthetically pleasing because this is something that we naturally connect with. It is the rules of two-thirds or 2:3. This means that each room needs to be divided into two parts and the larger part should be two-thirds of the overall room. Ultimately, two-thirds of the room can then be designated to large furnishings, while the rest should have complementary but comparatively smaller pieces to complete the décor.

Similarly, every piece of furnishing then needs to follow the same ratio. In a living room, your largest sofa should be no bigger than two-thirds of the room, the coffee table should not be longer than two-thirds of that sofa, and the decorative pieces placed on the coffee table should measure about two-thirds of the surface area of the table. This rule aligns every following addition made into the room according to the 2:3 measurement, creating scale and proportion that is visually appealing.

Details

Style the Home Right with These Interior Design Principles! (6)

From fabrics, patterns, and textures to embellishments that make your décor look prettier, many small details work hand in hand to create the perfect appeal in your room. What’s more, subtle touches often make more of an impact than the larger focal pieces, such as a crystal chandelier over an ornately carved dining table that adds to the luxurious feel of the interior, the trimmings on a pillow cover that bring softness to the bedroom, the decorative and tinted switch plates that complement the colour scheme of the room, and more.

Why Do Small Details Matter?

Small details hold importance in interior design. You must look beyond the obvious to the finer details on fabrics, the textures, the colour schemes, and the furnishings to determine how they fit into your current space. Some examples are of a wallpaper pattern that matches the upholstery, wooden furniture legs that match the colour of the coffee table, a large clock with a glass face on the wall that connects with the glass tabletops, and so on.

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Remember that details must connect to one another in the design to avoid a chaotic and cluttered space. If you look at a room and feel like something is missing, that’s when you need to consider adding details to make it more harmonious and unified.

How Details Boost Interior Appeal?

All of the interior design principles that we’ve talked about above, can actually be implemented by paying due attention to details. Interior designers have a very keen eye for details, and so should you, if you want to decorate your home as a cohesive whole. Things like gold detailing on wall frames, embossed designs on wallpapers, and stained glass edges on mirrors, might seem unimportant, but if they complement your décor, they can help you boost its appeal because we all look for visual connections, balance, symmetry, rhythm, contrast, and harmony in a living space.

Harmony

Style the Home Right with These Interior Design Principles! (7)

We’ve talked about creating harmony throughout this post. This principle of interior design encompasses both unity and harmony, which are crucial elements that help the eye make sense of a visual space and understand it as a whole. A harmonious interior feels calmer and just right, having no disjointed or out of place additions that might catch the eye repeatedly and disturb your peaceful frame of mind.

Both harmony and unity are separate concepts that you need to understand in order to design your interior perfectly:

The Concept of Unity

Unity, while similar to harmony, refers to using objects, colours, furnishings, and textures that seem to belong together in a particular space. A dining table is only functional and a cohesive whole if it has chairs surrounding it, and a bed would look bare without any pillows. Small touches and placement of the right objects with one another create unity. However, unity requires harmony to make your interior design a success.

The Concept of Harmony

Harmony brings peace and restfulness because objects and elements are combined in a manner that makes them belong together in a particular room. There are several ways of attaining harmony in a space though.

One example is that you could use a single neutral colour scheme on all of the interior walls of the house and let the colour flow through each room in different forms and textures to make the room look like a cohesive and connected part of the house. This means that repetitive rhythms play a large part in creating harmony.

But this is not the only design principle that helps create harmony. All of the basic principles of design covered above play their part in bringing the décor together in a way that it becomes cosy, comfortable, and peaceful, without any aspects of the design jarring the flow of the eye across the room and disturbing your mental equilibrium.

Now, you know all about the basic principles of interior design and how to incorporate them into your home to create stunning living spaces. Remember that you do not need to add all seven principles in a single room but even a touch of each can help you design your interior stylishly. You can also consider hiring professionals from one of the best interior designing companies in Pakistan if you’d rather leave this work to those who are well versed with these principles.

Stay tuned to Zameen Blog for more home décor posts. You can also email us your comments and feedback at blog@zameen.com. We love hearing from our readers!

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FAQs

How are principles of design used in interior design? ›

The seven basic principles of interior design are Balance, Harmony, Rhythm, Proportion and Scale, Emphasis, Contrast and Details.

How do I choose the right style for my house? ›

Step #1: Know your design style.
  1. Start with an interior design quiz. ...
  2. Take a good look at your space. ...
  3. Get inspired. ...
  4. Reuse items that you already have. ...
  5. Dive into a garage sale, estate sale, or a secondhand store. ...
  6. Focus on mixing rather than matching. ...
  7. Try your hand at DIY-ing your home pieces.
13 Jun 2022

What are the 7 principles of interior design? ›

Along with balance, rhythm, emphasis, scale and proportion, contrast, and detail, harmony and unity complete the seven principles of interior design—the fundamental elements that help create beautifully designed interiors. Think of them as an interior designer's guiding forces.

What are the principles of design for housing and interiors? ›

In this article we will discuss the 8 elements of design: space, form (shape), pattern, line, light, texture, scale and color. We'll also dive into the 5 principles of design: balance, emphasis and focus, rhythm, proportion and harmony and unity but we are saving that for another article.

What is the most important thing in interior design? ›

Space. While all seven elements on this list are indispensable components of interior design, space is perhaps the most important to get right.

What is the importance of interior design? ›

Interior Design Improves Your Space

On the most basic level, a good interior design improves a space by making it better suited to its purpose. For example, if you're designing a bedroom you will make decisions that lead to it being more relaxing. For an office, good design will make it more focused and efficient.

What is color in interior design? ›

Colour is one of the most fundamental and influential aspects of interior design. Colour selection is a major factor in determining the success or failure of a decorative scheme. The carefully considered use of colour can unify furnishings and finishes to produce a cohesive and pleasing result.

Do all rooms in a house have to match? ›

Everything need not match! Rooms benefit from the extra texture, pattern and color from other like items. When additional patterns and colors are brought in, a rooms gains depth and dimension.

What are the principles of design for most design projects? ›

There are twelve basic principles of design: contrast, balance, emphasis, proportion, hierarchy, repetition, rhythm, pattern, white space, movement, variety, and unity. These principles work together to create visually appealing and functional designs that make sense to users.

What are the five basic principles of design? ›

What are the principles of design?
  • Balance.
  • Alignment.
  • Proximity.
  • Repetition.
  • Contrast.
27 Feb 2019

What are the 5 basic principles of developing an interior design concept? ›

Look for the principles of design as well: Size & Proportion, Balance, Rhythm, Emphasis, and Harmony. If all of those things are there and done correctly, the designer did a great job.

Why principles and elements are important in interior design? ›

Creating a beautiful home isn't difficult if you know the elements and principles of interior design. These help designers transform any place into a masterpiece. They're responsible for giving structure to architects and designers to create beautiful spaces.

Why are the elements and principles of design important to use in designing a room? ›

By learning and using the elements and principles of design, you will increase your understanding of how and why some things work together and some simply don't look right. The elements of design are line, color, shape, texture, form, and space. These are the tools used to design a room or space.

How do you describe interior design? ›

Interior design is the art and science of understanding people's behavior to create functional spaces, that are aesthetically pleasing, within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with decorative elements, sometimes complemented by advice and practical assistance.

What is value in interior design? ›

Value is simply the artistic term for light and dark. Value is determined by the relative lightness or darkness of a surface. An area's value is its relative. lightness or darkness in a given context. This interior painting by Charles Sheeter uses a broad contrast of values.

What is plan in interior design? ›

What is space planning in interior design? Space planning describes the process of determining the purpose, functional requirements, and basic layout of specific areas in a home or commercial building, and it is an absolutely essential part of the interior design process.

How does interior design impact our lives? ›

Good interior design evokes happiness and soothes the soul. It can inspire confidence, empathy, pride, creativity, security and energy. “Creating a meaningful space that fulfills the needs of the inhabitant and optimizes their space is one of our key roles as designers and is essential to our society,” Bradley says.

How can interior design improve quality of life? ›

Having a home that is neat and well organized not only makes your home more comfortable and inviting; it also works as a stress reducer. We take the time to listen to your needs and priorities when it comes to storage and organization, then offer creative solutions for streamlining your life.

What is modern interior design style? ›

Modern design is an interior design style characterized by a monochromatic color palette, clean lines, minimalism, natural materials, and natural light. It refers specifically to a historical aesthetic movement that took place during the early to mid-twentieth century.

How can I add personality to my house? ›

Here are eleven ways to let your personality shine through in your home and to feel happier, healthier and free to be yourself each day.
  1. Play With Furniture. ...
  2. Picture Yourself Living. ...
  3. Add Artwork And Antiques. ...
  4. Bring A Pop Of Color. ...
  5. Own Your Space. ...
  6. Make Your Rooms Work For You. ...
  7. Display Your Accomplishments.
27 May 2016

Where do I start when decorating my house? ›

Start with the biggest piece in the room first

Now that you've broken down your decorating plan to one room at a time, take the same concept and focus on finding the most important piece in the room. The biggest piece in the room is usually the most important and most expensive.

How many colors should a house have? ›

Just remember to use colors and patterns that have correlative value to one another. Q: How many paint colors in a house interior? A: As per standard interior design rules, you should never have more than about five distinctive colors in an interior space.

How many colors should you have in a living room? ›

How many colors should you use in a room? According to the 60-30-10 rule, you should only use three colors in any room – although you can successfully incorporate many different tones of these three colors.

What is the most popular color for interior walls? ›

As the reigning champion of interior paint, white is a color that transcends both time and decorating styles. White can make a room feel bright, fresh and up-to-date in settings ranging from modern to traditional.

What is the new interior color for 2022? ›

If estate sales dominate your weekends and you adore interiors with intricate, traditional case goods, PPG's 2022 Color of the Year — Olive Sprig (PPG1125-4), a muted, protean green — is the updated backdrop of choice for your treasures.

What room should you decorate first? ›

You should start decorating your living room first. The living room is the room families spend the most time in together, so it's considered a more high-traffic area in your home. Decorating the high traffic areas first will help keep your home in better order and speed along with the decorating.

Should kitchen and living room be the same color? ›

The kitchen and living room should not be the same color because they have different functions. The kitchen is a functional space where food is prepared, while the living room is a more formal space used for relaxation and socializing.

What is the purpose of principles of design? ›

The principles of design are concepts that guide the arrangement and structure of design elements in a design. The way these principles are applied affects the overall message and feel of a particular design. Good designs is one that is functional and makes a product useful.

How do you explain the principles of design? ›

The principles of design are the rules a designer must follow to create an effective and attractive composition. The fundamental principles of design are: Emphasis, Balance and Alignment, Contrast, Repetition, Proportion, Movement and White Space. Design differs from art in that it has to have a purpose.

What makes a good design? ›

Good design is a concept defined by industrial designer Dieter Rams's principles: It makes a product useful and understandable, is innovative, aesthetic, unobtrusive, honest, long-lasting, thorough to the last detail, environmentally friendly, and involves as little design as possible.

What are the six main principles of design? ›

Start with the six principles of design: balance, pattern, rhythm, emphasis, contrast, and unity.

What are the basic principles of layout? ›

The design must have balance, rhythm, emphasis, unity, simplicity, preparation, harmony, line, shape and movement. Good layouts never just happen, they have to be deliberately and carefully planned and worked out.

What is the design process? ›

Design process is a way of figuring out what you need to do, then doing it. Along the way you might solve one or more problems, try to achieve a goal, and/or create something specific. The first critical step to understanding the design process is that it's not about working the “right way” or “wrong way”.

What are 5 responsibilities of an interior designer? ›

Interior Designer responsibilities
  • Undertake design project from concept to completion.
  • Determine the client's goals and requirements of the project.
  • Interpret and translate customer needs into rough plans.
  • Negotiate fees and set schedules for the project.
  • Research and decide on materials and products sourcing.

What makes a good design essay? ›

Firstly, the layout must speak loudly and directly to the content and the message of the learning module. The layout, when user-friendly lead to an experience that shows direction and a sense of organization.

What's another word for interior design? ›

What is another word for interior design?
interior decorationcolour schemeUK
furnishinginterior decorating
ornamentationlook
furbishingstyle
setfurnishing style
11 more rows

What is interior home decor? ›

Interior decorating is the art of decorating a residential home or commercial business according to a client's personal preferences and style. It includes selecting color schemes, flooring materials, furniture, artwork, and accessories. It transforms an area into an aesthetically pleasing and budget-friendly design.

What are the principles of design for most design projects? ›

There are twelve basic principles of design: contrast, balance, emphasis, proportion, hierarchy, repetition, rhythm, pattern, white space, movement, variety, and unity. These principles work together to create visually appealing and functional designs that make sense to users.

What are the 5 basic principles of developing an interior design concept? ›

Look for the principles of design as well: Size & Proportion, Balance, Rhythm, Emphasis, and Harmony. If all of those things are there and done correctly, the designer did a great job.

What are the principles of aesthetic composition in interiors? ›

This proportion is present in nature, and artists and architects have used it as well. While the first 5 principles of Balance, Rhythm, Harmony, Emphasis, Scale and Proportion are about the “macro” view of a space, the principle of details is all about the “micro”.

What is the purpose of principles of design? ›

The principles of design are concepts that guide the arrangement and structure of design elements in a design. The way these principles are applied affects the overall message and feel of a particular design. Good designs is one that is functional and makes a product useful.

What makes a good design? ›

Good design is a concept defined by industrial designer Dieter Rams's principles: It makes a product useful and understandable, is innovative, aesthetic, unobtrusive, honest, long-lasting, thorough to the last detail, environmentally friendly, and involves as little design as possible.

Why are the elements and principles of design important to use in designing a room? ›

By learning and using the elements and principles of design, you will increase your understanding of how and why some things work together and some simply don't look right. The elements of design are line, color, shape, texture, form, and space. These are the tools used to design a room or space.

What is basic interior design? ›

These interior design elements include space, line, forms, light, colour, texture and pattern; and keeping them balanced is the key to creating an aesthetically pleasing interior.

How do you describe interior design? ›

Interior design is the art and science of understanding people's behavior to create functional spaces, that are aesthetically pleasing, within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with decorative elements, sometimes complemented by advice and practical assistance.

What are the elements and principle of design describe with name and image? ›

The elements, or principles, of visual design include Contrast, Balance, Emphasis, Movement, White Space, Proportion, Hierarchy, Repetition, Rhythm, Pattern, Unity, and Variety. These principles of design work together to create something that is aesthetically pleasing and optimizes the user experience.

What is Plan in interior design? ›

What is space planning in interior design? Space planning describes the process of determining the purpose, functional requirements, and basic layout of specific areas in a home or commercial building, and it is an absolutely essential part of the interior design process.

What do you understand by four principles of form design why are they important? ›

The principles of design are the rules a designer must follow to create an effective and attractive composition. The fundamental principles of design are: Emphasis, Balance and Alignment, Contrast, Repetition, Proportion, Movement and White Space. Design differs from art in that it has to have a purpose.

What are the types of form design? ›

There are two basic types of forms we see in graphic design: geometric and organic.

Why is the design of a form important in Access? ›

Forms in Access are like display cases in stores that make it easier to view or get the items that you want. Since forms are objects through which you or other users can add, edit, or display the data stored in your Access desktop database, the design of your form is an important aspect.

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