5 Key Components of Interior Design

A coffee table, sofa, maybe a chair or two, and of course a television. That’s all you need for the perfect interior living space, right? Maybe a decorative lamp for some added colour.

Unfortunately, most interior spaces aren’t really designed at all. People simply add pieces they like to a room they want to decorate. If the pieces fit together – a couch that coordinates with a coffee table, or a rug that contrasts nicely with the chair – then so much the better!

But adding isolated pieces, even attractive pieces, isn’t the same as actually designing a space. Interior design isn’t as much about the individual pieces as it is about the overall impression of a room or area.

So what goes into a good interior design? What are some of the key components of interior design? We’re talking mainly about actual physical components – specific elements or areas of interest you need to remember when designing a space.

First, though, we’ll reiterate a key interior design principle:

The Big Idea: Total Space

Interior design creates an overall impression, rather than isolate a particular feature. The idea is to create an overall impression that uses all of the elements of a room. Each component of interior design, from floor to ceiling, is important not because it looks nice by itself, but because it adds to the overall effect.

That makes it all the more important to design each component of the room carefully. How each component contributes to the overall design becomes even more important than the specifics of each component.

That doesn’t mean each component isn’t important at all – arguably, it makes choosing each element even more important. To that end, we’ve highlighted five key components of interior design, elements that can be often overlooked but that are absolutely critical to the total impact of the space.

Because the overall impression is so vital, many interior designers will take different steps to visualise the space before committing to a particular design. This is especially critical when designed a proposed construction, where there are no existing components to use as a frame of reference.

When emphasising the total space of a room, interior designer today are relying on 3D visualisation to bring their vision of a space to life. Interior designers don’t do interior visualisations; rather they’ll hire a team of creative, visual artists to create the space to their specifications.

Component #1: Lighting – Windows and Lamps

Lighting influences how you see a room – quite literally. Choosing the right lighting isn’t just about making sure you can see everything in the room – although that is important. It’s about emphasizing or enhancing the lighting itself, using each source of light to achieve a particular goal.

If the room features a tall floor-to-ceiling window, that could very well be the centerpiece of the entire space, with the other elements designed to reflect the lighting coming through the window. The shape of the window also influences the design of the room; a low window might prevent you from placing furniture in front of it, while a wide picture window might be perfect for a window bench.

Lights can be used in the same way. Even a small desk lamp can highlight a well-designed space, while larger overhead lights can form a contrast with the ceiling above them.

Component #2: Ceilings

Your ceiling is a huge, probably-blank canvas. In many homes, ceilings are simply painted all one colour and a single light hung in the center. There’s no contrast, no depth, and few decorative elements.

That wasn’t always the case. Many older homes feature decorative ceiling roses, molded centerpieces that often reflected additional molding around the edge of the room. The fancier homes opted for painted or decorated ceilings, with murals that drew the eye and turned the blank space of the ceiling into a decorative element.

Component #3: Floors

Floors are also a blank canvas, although people tend to pay more attention to them. Like ceilings, they’re a great chance to highlight contrasting textures and patterns that add to the room. 

Floors have the added challenge of functionality; they need to be durable enough to handle wear and tear, particularly in high-traffic areas. But since people look down more often than up, floors can also be beautiful additions. Hard-wearing materials like tile and stone provide durability, texture, and colour. More modern materials like vinyl and linoleum allow designers to employ patterns and even to change floors periodically.

Component #4: Walls

Walls don’t require the durability of floors; they also don’t offer the same uninterrupted space. That’s why one common approach to walls is to use different approaches to visually break up walls into smaller spaces. Patterned wallpaper is one such method. Wood paneling or wooden trim is another. 

In both cases, the wall gets a bit of visual depth and life. Walls are particularly useful for adding contrast – they form the background for almost any view of a room. That contrast can be achieved simply by painting them a different colour, or by varying colour from wall to wall. As mentioned, wood paneling can provide contrast or certain painting techniques can be used to the same effect. 

Walls, floors, and ceilings together seem like fairly boring components of interior design. But they’re critical to the overall impression, precisely because they are so commonplace. If you can design an area that uses these components to their full effect, you can highlight the impact of any furnishings you add to the room.

Component #5: Furnishings

Most people begin with furnishings; they build a room around a favorite armchair or sofa. It’s much easier, and more effective, to match the furniture to the room itself. Approach the floors, ceilings, and walls first; figure out what they’ll look like and the depth and textures they will feature. 

At that point, you can choose furnishings that complement those features. Low-lying sofas in front of large windows; high bookshelves to occupy taller walls and ceilings – these are just two examples of furnishings that fit into a broader design. 

Visualising the Components of Interior Design

It takes every element working together to create an actual interior design. Because the individual components are so important, designers often try to go the extra mile to visualise the completed design. 

Those visualisations can be done using models, or better yet, they can be done through 3D visualisation technology. These methods allow a designer to modify each of the key components as the project progresses until the designer achieves the desired look.

From furnishings and accessories to seeing how it all ties together, instead of using traditional boards to design an interior space, CGI interiors offers clients and interior designers the opportunity to get a room right the first time.

Using state of the art 3D visualisation technology enables interior designers to better portray the room and their vision before a single piece has been put into place. Visually, CGI interiors are the future for precisely detailed interiors that satisfy both interior designers and their clients.