Some people seem to just have a natural knack for interior design, while the vast majority of us languish and are usually unsure of how to create a comfortable and chic home. Luckily, the basic principles of home design can be taught, and you don’t need to pull long hours at night school to learn.

If you’ve recently moved into a new home, or are renting a room and want to know how to make it cozier and tasteful, then the following basic design principles should help point you in the right direction.

Choose a Focal Point

When redecorating a room, the first thing you want to do is choose its focal point, and build all your efforts around that single feature. The focal point is essentially the place where our eyes are drawn naturally to the room as soon as we step inside. This could be a beautiful bay window for example, or a fireplace. Choose the spot and then decorate your room to highlight its best feature. Even if you have a studio apartment, there is assuredly a space that you want to highlight – or, you can create one for better design value. You can find a lot of inspiration online to help you get started. 

Make the Most of a Small Space

It might be tempting to fill every space on your wall with artwork or some fun knick knack. But you should resist this impulse. Not only is it tacky, it can also be problematic if your room is quite small. Instead, avoid clutter as much as possible, and be intentional with your use of space. Consider leaving a mostly empty wall or corner of the house to highlight a new painting, or keep a specific space empty that has some decor that you want to highlight. You can also rearrange things to see how the different shapes of your furniture compliment one another. In all cases, be wary of adding a lot of stuff when it doesn’t feel necessary, and just be conscientious about the function of empty spaces between the different subjects. 

Add Dimension Through Lighting

Proper lighting in a home is so important. You can look into ambient lighting, which helps to evenly illuminate your room, or try accent lighting which is typically used to highlight a particular object. There are also task lights that are meant for a specific need, such as a reading lamp. Different types of lighting add dimension to any room, and can make it seem fuller, more vibrant, and cozy all at once. It’s perhaps the easiest way to make even the most modest digs feel a bit nicer, instantly. 

Don’t Spend a Fortune

Interior design is often confused with bloated budgets and ostentatious taste. In practice, this is not the case. You should not feel tempted to spend a lot of money on designing your room; even the simplest interventions can make a huge difference. In fact, some people only need to get rid of stuff as opposed to buying a lot of things in the first place. That shouldn’t cost you a cent! Keep your eye on how to maximize your room and be wary of overcomplicating anything.

Forget Trends

While shabby chic looks great, as does the minimalist and ultra bare spaces popular these days, and don’t feel the need to jump on trends. You should keep your eye on the goal of maximizing your space’s potential, and find the best expression of your own aesthetic. Make sure that you highlight the room’s focal point, and use space wisely; avoid a “busy” atmosphere and focus on making smaller changes instead to the lighting and similar ambient alterations. 

Maintain a Sense of Balance

Try to not go too far in one direction or the other in terms of design elements. Find a balance with the room’s integral architectural features, and then add simple pieces that enhance them until a sense of equilibrium is found. Maintain sightlines and be sure to never overwhelm the central area, keeping your sight on maximizing comfort and functionality instead. 

Pay Attention to Color

Colors in the home are a key expression of your personality. They also have a huge impact on how your home looks and feels to others. For example, light and pale colors tend to lend an ethereal and calm effect that also makes the room seem bigger and brighter. On the other hand, darker colors give an intimate and cozy vibe. 

Regardless of how big your space is, or the vibe you are going for, these are the basic principles you should keep in mind when redesigning your room or home. The smallest changes can make a huge difference, and you need to focus primarily on keeping things streamlined, simple, and welcoming.