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Chapter: 11th 12th std standard Home Science Maintain Basic Knowledge for family life Higher secondary school College

Principles of House Design

Principles of House Design
In our daily life, we meet with a number of designs. It is always important to remember that beauty is the goal toward which we are striving for. Utility also plays a major role in forming a good design.

Principles of Design


In our daily life, we meet with a number of designs. It is always important to remember that beauty is the goal toward which we are striving for. Utility also plays a major role in forming a good design. The  following art principles are the bases for judging good design. They are Harmony, Balance, Proportion, Rhythm, and Emphasis.



Harmony is the fundamental requirement of any piece of work. It means unity or a single idea or impression. It produces an impression of unity through its selection and arrangement of consistent objects and ideas. Forms, lines, textures and colours should be harmonious.


For example, In a formal dinner arrangement, a table should have table mats, plates, knives, spoons, forks, cups, hand towels etc., arranged in order so as to achieve harmony of ideas. In a round plate, a round design will be more apt than a square design.



Balance is equalization of attraction on both sides of the center. It is rest or repose. This effect is obtained by grouping shapes and colours around a center in such a way that there are equal attractions on each side of that center.

Balance is of two types

They are formal and informal balance.


Symmetrical or formal balance results when articles are kept at equal distance. If objects are similar in appearance, they will attract the same amount of attraction and therefore should be equidistant from the center.


A design which has formal balance gives a feeling of dignity and stateliness. Asymmetrical or informal can have many variations. If the objects do not have the same amount of attraction they must be placed at different distances from the center.


This type of the balance is just like see-saw, in which to balance off a heavier person, the lighter one moves away from the centre and the former towards the centre.


Informal balance is more creative and require much more effort than the formal one. It gives an impression of spontaneity, freedom of movement and casualness.



Proportion means the relationship of sizes or areas to one another or to a whole. Whenever two or more things are put together, good, or bad proportions are established. Proportion is achieved when the different sizes of objects are successfully grouped in an arrangement the elements making up the structure having a pleasing relationship for the whole and to one another. For example, a very small chair next to a very massive one would be 'out of scale'.


Greek oblong or Golden Oblong is a good proportion, which can be used for division of space interestingly. This oblong uses the ratio of 2:3 or 3:5 in case of flat surfaces and 5:7:11 in case of solids. In the figures, three rectangles are given where the entire area is divided into two portions. The division of the area can either be interesting or uninteresting proportions. In A, the division is too simple to be interesting. In C, the proportion is too unlike. In B, the divisions are pleasantly related because they are little alike. The difference in the division makes it interesting.



Rhythm is the movement of the eyes across a design. It is a kind of organised and related movement in continuity. Rhythm means an easy connected path along which the eye may travel in any arrangement of line, form or colour. In a perfectly plain surface, there is absolutely no movement of the eye and it remains quiet. Some line movements create rhythm and others create a feeling of confusion.

Rhythm can be achieved in many ways :

Through the repetition of shapes


When a shape is regularly repeated at proper intervals, a movement is created which carries the eye from one unit to the next.

Through a progression of sizes


Progressing sizes create a rapid movement and at the same time interesting.

Through an easily connected, or a continuous line movement.


The eye is led along the design by the continuous line movement.




Radiation is the plan for many geometric design. From a central point, line radiate. Radiation is a type of movement that grows out of a central point or axis. It is used very commonly in designs like Ashoka Chakra in the national flag, and flower arrangements.



Emphasis is the art principle by which the eye is carried first to the most important thing in any arrangement and from that point to every other detail in order of importance.

Emphasis can be achieved by the following ways

By placing or grouping of objects.

By the use of contrast of colour.


By using decoration.


By having sufficient background space around objects.


By contrasting or unusual lines, shapes or sizes.


By unusual texture.


So far we have learnt about the use of art principles in decorating the interiors. Now we will learn about the different ways of furnishing the house.


Furniture for the House


Furniture are pieces intended for comfort, rest and relaxation, storage or articles of beauty. Furniture in all houses, are indispensable and they provide for a harmonious living. While selecting furniture the following points are to be borne in mind.

Furniture used should be in proportion to the size of the room.


The design should be simple, plain, well constructed and provide comfort to the user.


The furniture we select should be easy to maintain.

The furniture should not occupy too much space.

It should be light weighted.

Children's furniture should be of adjustable height (legs).

The furniture should be movable.

The furniture should be functional and not too decorative.

The furniture should stand firmly.

General Rules


Select, a centre of interest and subordinate all other interests to it.


Observe balance in arrangement. Formal balance gives dignified, restful effect, but too much of formal balance in a room will give a monotonous appearance.


Retain good proportion while arranging. Place all large pieces on large wall area and small pieces on small wall area.

Avoid using too many furniture in a room.


Scatter upholstered pieces among wooden pieces.


Avoid letting furniture hide the walls. But at the same time avoid filling too much of the centre floor area. Keep the traffic lines in the room very clear while arranging. Arrange all furniture with purpose and function in mind, grouping those, which are needed for a particular activity in one place.


In the distribution of furniture, the housewife should exercise three policies: elimination, re-arrangement, and concealment. If one can afford, broken and unwanted furniture may be discarded and fresh ones replaced. Furniture in a room may be reorganised so as to achieve satisfaction. Unsightly and jarring object must be concealed by the use of slipcovers. Defective and unattractive furniture can be concealed by the use of good attractive covers.

Furniture Needed in Different Rooms


Drawing Room: One comfortable sofa and few chairs. Teapoy which is a bit lower than the seat of the sofa, television, video cassette recorder, radio and record player cabinets to keep record albums.


Dining Room: Dining table and chairs, folding chair, if needed a trolley.


Bed Room: A double bed, bedside table and a lamp, dressing table, bed time table with lamp, place for suitcases, chairs.

Children's Room: A study table, a bed, book shelf.


Guest Room: Sofas which can be converted to bed. Dressing table, bed side table with lamp, place for suitcases, chairs.


Kitchen: Built in storage space (appliances), stools, shelves, plate rack.

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