Interior design can seem intimidating to homeowners. It’s easy to make mistakes that can ruin the entire room, such as choosing a color or furniture style you don’t love.

However, learning the tricks of the trade can help you avoid making common errors. Some expert techniques to try include balance (through symmetry or the 60-30-10 rule), unity (using colors, shapes and motifs) and texture.

1. Create a focal point

A focal point is an important element in any well-designed space. It is the element that grabs attention, draws people in + sets the tone of the room. Focal points can be subtle or over-the-top, depending on the design style.

Focal points are created by framing an area with architectural elements, furniture arrangement +/or decorative objects. They can be a single item, like a piece of artwork or a fireplace, or a more complex design feature, such as vaulted ceilings, a staircase or an oversized window. Focal points are often created through composition techniques, such as leading lines and the rule of thirds.

When designing a room, it’s essential to identify the focal point early on in the process. A strong focal point can influence key decisions, such as the overall floor plan, furniture placement + lighting.

Once the focal point is identified, it’s important to highlight it with the help of various design techniques. For example, if a piece of art is the focal point, it’s important to dress it in complementary colors that will enhance its beauty. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that the scale of the focal point is in balance with the rest of the room. If the piece is too big, it will overwhelm the space. Conversely, if the piece is too small, it will be lost amongst other design details.

Some spaces will have built-in focal points, such as a great view through a window, or a fireplace with gorgeous millwork. It’s important to work with these features, instead of trying to change them. Adding accent lighting, such as picture lights, track lights or wall fixtures, will also help to set the focal point apart.

2. Invest in statement furniture

If you’re looking to make your home feel like a designer space, investing in a statement piece of furniture is one way to elevate the look of your space. However, it’s important to remember that the statement piece should be unique to your personality and style. Otherwise, it will clash with the other elements in the room. Here are a few tips from experts in interior design that will help you choose the perfect hero piece.

A bold piece of artwork, a beautiful rug or a striking dining table can all serve as the hero of your room. But be careful not to overdo it! If you have too many bold elements, they’ll start to compete with each other and the impact of the statement piece will be diminished.

Instead, opt for a few smaller pieces that work together to create the same effect. For example, a set of three matching vases on a wall could be the perfect alternative to a statement painting.

Another great tip for choosing the right furniture is to prioritize investment pieces. These are the pieces that will last for years and will give you a timeless aesthetic. For example, investing in a well-made sofa or bed is a good choice because they’ll last longer than cheaper options.

Finally, be sure to take the time to plan out your space before making any purchases. This will help you avoid overcrowding or buying items that don’t fit. Using masking tape or a piece of paper is a simple way to create a floor plan before purchasing furniture and will give you an idea of how the space will look when it’s finished.

3. Use ample storage

Ample storage is a must-have for interior designers, from wardrobes with floor-to-ceiling shelving to kitchen shelves that take full advantage of the space available. High-density storage solutions are also an excellent option for storing a variety of different materials, such as wood, tile, stone and quartz samples. These can be stored in bins, drawers or cabinets and are usually easier to organize than fabric samples.

Organizing client files and binders is also an important design tip for interior designers. You can use binders or file folders and organize them alphabetically by project name. You can also create subcategories within each project if needed. For example, you could have a category for client presentations and another for sourcing information and documentation such as floor plans, blueprints, renderings and invoices.

Some designers work from home and it’s vital that they separate their personal and professional lives. It’s a good idea to designate a specific area of your home as a workspace and only bring your work-related items into this space. This will ensure that your work isn’t bringing your home life down and that you have an efficient working space.

Stylish storage is one of the easiest ways to add character and function to your interior design setting. You can opt for decorative baskets to store nick-knacks, or you can invest in storage furniture pieces that double as statement pieces. For example, you can have a large colorful sofa with a thin framed coffee table or a sleek upholstered headboard that doubles as a desk. Another great option is a dresser that has doors that open to reveal drawers. This is a great way to hide away clutter while still having easy access to your most important items.

4. Don’t be afraid to take risks

If you want to be a successful interior designer, you need to be brave and take risks. After all, it’s your job to create unique and beautiful spaces for clients and customers. So don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles and colors to find your niche. Just remember to keep your budget in mind when experimenting with new designs. You can always repaint or resell items that don’t work out.

In order to be a great interior designer, you need to have an in-depth knowledge of the latest design trends. This includes not only the latest color schemes, but also textures and materials. For example, you might notice a trend toward metallic finishes in furniture or accessories, or you might see an increase in popularity for mid-century modern pieces. These trends are important to keep in mind when designing a space, because they can influence the style of your finished product.

Another way to stay on top of the latest design trends is to subscribe to online industry newsletters and follow design influencers on social media. This will help you stay up to date on what’s popular, and it will also give you ideas for your own home decor projects.

Finally, it’s important to be well-prepared for client meetings and interviews. This means having a polished portfolio and being familiar with the latest software programs, such as SketchUp. This will make it easier for you to explain your design concepts and show off your skills in a professional manner. If you’re not prepared, you could end up giving a bad impression to potential employers or clients, which will hurt your career in the long run.

5. Aim for balance

Balance is an essential principle of interior design that visually stabilises a space. It ensures that no single element overpowers another in terms of visual weight or dominance. It can be achieved through a variety of techniques, including the use of colour and texture, furniture arrangement, and other decorative elements. When balanced well, a room will feel harmonious and serene. However, it is important to remember that balance is not necessarily symmetrical and will vary depending on the individual needs of each space.

Symmetry is a popular method of achieving balance in a room, as it creates a sense of formal order and harmony. To achieve symmetry, it is necessary to balance the sizes of various objects and furniture pieces in relation to one another. In addition, larger or visually heavier objects should be balanced by smaller or lighter items on the opposite side of the axis. However, if used without creativity and imagination, symmetry can become dull and uninspired.

In contrast to symmetry, asymmetry is often used in more modern and eclectic spaces to create a sense of movement and visual interest. To achieve this, it is essential to choose contrasting colours and textures, and to include elements with organic shapes or irregular patterns. For example, choosing a rug or carpet with a natural texture can provide a stark contrast to the clean lines of contemporary furniture.

By following these seven essential rules of balance in interior design – symmetry, scale and proportion, color harmony, texture variation, visual weight, and functionality – you can create a space that is both harmonious and visually captivating. But it is important to remember that creating balance in interior design is not always easy and may require a bit of experimentation before finding the right combination for your space.