Design Philosophy

linger | ˈlɪŋɡə | verb: stay in a place longer than necessary because of a reluctance to leave

You’ve heard the expression “an eye for design.” While it’s true that some people are born with it, there is more to design than just being able to apply a certain aesthetic flair. Design is as much a science as it is an art form. Which is why the basics of good design can be broken down into seven principles and five elements.

Design elements are the building blocks of creating a space, while design principles are the tools which are applied to refine and fine-tune a space. Understanding and employing them appropriately is not the whole story. However, it is undoubtedly the foundation upon which all good design is built on. 

The Elements of Design


From floor square footage to ceiling height, space is the main canvas we work with and the area to expand or shrink depending on how it will be used and the tone that we want to set.


One of the most robust tools in a designers' arsenal, lines lead the eye, enabling us to control the perception of the space. Lines can evoke a mood or feeling; for example vertical lines with their dignity and strength give a sense of formality, while horizontal lines can create a restful and casual atmosphere. Diagonal lines tend to make a space lively, by directing the eye to move in different directions, in contrast to curved lines which have a softening effect. Through the skillful use of angles and curves, designers can make a space more harmonious, appear bigger and flow seamlessly into adjacent spaces.


Shape refers to the two or three-dimensional structures we use to fill a space or to enclose it. It’s surprisingly versatile, as we can choose to either hide or emphasize specific architectural features. For example, tall curtains can make small windows appear longer. Or repeating the same shapes, through the arrangement of furniture and accessories, can create emphasis. In contrast, the application of various shapes can produce an understated balanced space.


Colour selection is more than just picking tones and hues that work well together. Different colors affect our mood and psychology. Colour can be used harmoniously or extravagantly to highlight certain elements and set the tone for how users experience a space. As a conductor, creates a symphony, the the most skilled designers, can orchestrate colors to set a mood, consider functionality, and maintain the audience's interest. When it comes to colour, there are no strict rules. Whether a designer pairs unusual colours together or uses a monochromatic palette, colour choices add to the narrative being told by other design elements.


Few people realize that interior design is as sensual as it is visual. Different materials, surfaces, fabrics, and accessories inspire different feelings, and whether one chooses rough, porous or smooth surfaces can transform the character of a space. Texture is one of my favourite design elements as it draws users to interact with the space and to engage more than just their eyes.


As anyone familiar with photography will know, controlling natural and artificial lighting has a tremendous impact on the mood of a space. Professional designers know how to manage light intensity, placement, and orientation to optimize the beauty and function of a space, as light requirements shift throughout the day.


Pattern is closely related to texture, but focuses on the two dimensional surface of materials or series of objects. This is another powerful tool that can be used to create tension or harmony.

The Principles of Design


Balance can be struck in a variety of ways and generally applies to the placement of design elements throughout a space. Symmetrical balance is usually used in more formal spaces while asymmetry is more-often applied in playful and casual spaces. Depending on the desired outcome, designers and homeowners should ask themselves if the finished product communicates a sense of stability and equilibrium.

Rhythm and Repetition

There is an art to getting your eyes to move around the room in a cadenced, controlled fashion. It can be achieved by using patterns, colours, and placement to link various pieces or structures in the space. Rhythm and repetition also inspire users to engage with the space in an intentional, choreographed way.


Through emphasis, designers choose which design element to bring forward and which ones to retract. Focal points adds dimensionality and break up the monotony of otherwise flat spaces. For example, placing a striking sculpture at the end of a long corridor, catches the eye and adds even more emphasis then if it were placed amongst a large collection of artifacts. The design elements around the focal object can either work for it or against it. Much like a bride choosing her bridesmaids, it is critical to juxtapose elements which won't compete for attention!

Proportion and Scale

Proportion refers not only to the size of objects, but their relationship to adjacent objects. For example, when selecting a sofa it needs to not only suit the size of the room, it also needs to fit the scale of other furniture. This will help you avoid an elephant in the room situation - literally because it will look odd or out of place (and perhaps figuratively). You may be wondering how to get this part right. What appears miniscule to an elephant, my appear large to you. Unless you are designing a zoo, when it comes to space planning and designing floor plans, the human body is often used as the scale by which decisions are made.


Harmony is the central principle upon which the final product is measured. A harmonious interior is about more than elegance or style. It's a synergistic relationship between all the design elements and principles. When the finished product is presented it should all just makes sense - this feeling is harmony!

Linger’s Design Philosophy

A lot to take in, isn’t it? Take a moment, have another sip of coffee (or wine) and let it all sink in. That is a small taste of what makes design work. What else is there, you may ask? This, my friend, is where we bring our expertise.

At Linger, we see design as more than the sum of its parts. Ticking all the boxes for the principles and elements above will only give you paint by numbers results; there is more to it.

We believe that careful design tells a vivid and engaging story. And not just about how hard it was to match your ottoman to the art deco mirror. We believe in place-making: co-designing spaces which tell a story about you and your surroundings, your brand, where you have been, and where you’re going next in life.

So our goal? To create a space where you feel more like yourself than anywhere else. A space that reflects your personality in all its vibrancy, quirks and idiosyncrasies, and helps you relax and celebrate your relationships. In short, a space you’d never want to leave, one where you want to linger just a bit longer.

To see how Linger can help with your interior design ideas, contact us here.

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