DIY Interior Design: An Intro to the Architectural Elements

August 28, 2014 at 12:53 pm

As long as I have been fascinated and in love with design, I have kept a humble opinion that there should be no disconnect between the elements of Architecture and that of Interior Design. I recognize the need of each discipline to maintain exclusivity which somehow has something to do with professional pride. I understand that architecture deals mainly with the outside structure while interior design, as the name implies, deals only with the inside space. However, I see designing as a holistic act. Although architecture is a separate discipline from interior design, one cannot exist without the other, or must I say, at the least a design goal cannot be realized without one of these two disciplines.

As an interior designer, I deal with designing the inside of a structure, may it be a condo unit, an apartment, a hotel suite, an office or a one-storey house. Like every other work project, I have to start at something, and the start point for interior designers is the interior of structure and for sure, they come with architectural elements. An interior designer is expected to dress these elements according to the design he envisions. That is why it is important for those who intend to try their hands on interior designing to get acquainted with some of the usual architectural elements that they will encounter.


BASEBOARDS are a defining feature of a house or a room. It refers to the narrow wooden board running along the base of an interior wall which connects the wall and the floor. You can repaint these baseboards or even replace them. Instead of baseboards, other people who are under budget constraint, create an imaginary baseboard by painting the bottom part of the wall with a much darker or any color that contrast their primary color and is referred to as the shadow line.


CROWN MOLDING is just the opposite of baseboards when it comes to their location. Crown molding is placed on the top of the interior wall where the wall meets the ceiling. This is a great way to add visual interest to any room.



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CHAIR RAIL is also known as Dado Rail. As the name implies, this rail was originally used to protect the wall from contact with furniture such as chairs by giving an allowance between the wall and the furniture. Now the purpose of using the Chair rail is leaning more towards aesthetics as it can add lines and colors to a room.


HARDWOOD FLOOR is what ultimately provides a room with the feeling of warm elegance. Hardwood floors are generally expensive so some people opt for the alternatives which can be wood laminate, bamboo or recycled-leather flooring.

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LIGHT COVES are usually utilized for aesthetic purpose as this adds mood and a tint of intimacy in a room. The lighting fixtures are usually built into recesses, valences and ledges, providing an indirect light to a room.



These are the architectural elements that you would surely encounter in almost any room, and your decision on what to do with them can make or break your design project. It makes sense to remember that in this modern age, the use of the architectural elements like the ones included in this article should not be limited to their traditional definition. An antique door can be used as a top of a beautiful dining table. As a designer, you have the freedom and the right to dictate the functionality of any element. So don’t hesitate that right as you might end up with something ingenious and start a new trend in interior designing.



Interior Fit Out: A Smart Use of Colors in a Limited Space

August 28, 2014 at 10:39 am

As people flock into urban areas seeking better fortune, we find the cities getting too crowded. City developers, faced with the problem of land scarcity, are coming up with ingenious ways to provide shelter to all its inhabitants. One of the solutions which is actively being utilized now by almost all urban areas is what is referred to now as Vertical Housing. More and more mid-rise and high-rise buildings, after being constructed, are horizontally and vertically subdivided into units.

Originally marketed to young and single professionals who don’t expect to need much space, condominium units are usually only as large as 30 to 70 square meters. The target customers have now expanded to included middle class families. Because of the very limited space, the buyers of these condo units resort to using interior designing to make the space look larger and be able to utilize every inch of the unit area. Condo owners either makes use of their own amateur designing skills or hire professional interior designers to make such a small space seems spacious, comfortable and even elegant.
BeFunky_condo.jpg By putting in use excellent interior designing skills, a small room can seem to be as big as any ultra-luxurious suites. The choice of furniture, the lighting levels and the choice of colors are all critical in interior designing and making sure your design goals are met. But of these three elements, choosing which colors to use is the most critical one when it comes to designing a small condo unit.

BeFunky_condo_interior.jpgThere are some general guidelines when it comes to using colors in designing a small interior space. Colors have different shades, it may go darker or lighter upon our choice. But for small spaces, it is mostly advised to use lighter colors. Lighter colors create the illusion to make rooms a lot bigger than it actually is. But one color is not enough; we may add linings or shadow lines that could add up to the ambiance of the room. Here enters the dilemma of choosing and mixing colors. When choosing paint colors, think of the furniture, textiles and lights which you intend to bring into the room. By doing this, you can maintain a sense of cohesiveness.

Vibrant colors are not usually recommended for small and closed spaces for this have a tendency to make the room look small and gives a suffocating feeling. However, the use of strong colors seems to be a polarizing issue. Some professional designers prefer to use dark or bright colors for small spaces, claiming that this adds life, vibrance and warmth to a small room. In this age when what is beautiful is continuously being redefined and when functionality has become relative, it’s no surprise that more people welcome the idea of using strong paint colors for their small condo unit.

Whether you choose light colors or opt for the strong ones, the factor that will save you from ending up with an interior design disaster is to make use of color flow. If you are fond of a certain a color, you may use its lighter shade as the primary color of the room, and its darker shade can be used as a shadow line. We may also make use of the natural combinations that are found in nature like the combination of green and brown.


Picasso once said, “Colors, like features, follow the changes of emotions.” He is perfectly right in saying this because at the end of the day, the choice of colors all boils down to your personal preference. Condo units, although meant for middle class families, are still relatively expensive. It is safe to say that condo owners are expected to live most of their lives within the 4 walls of their unit. So the best advice to give condo unit owners is to follow their own preference when it comes to choosing the paint colors for their unit. Beauty is subjective and so are colors.

Digging For the Roots: Interior Design Through the Ages

August 28, 2014 at 7:57 am

Interior Design as most people see it now is something fancy and something that is verging on superficial. Most people would not think of it as something of a necessity and people who are building or renovating their houses or unit and are on a tight budget won’t even bother about it. The prevailing attitude about interior design, as mistaken as they are, are not surprising though. Probably, the images of polished home interiors printed in the glossy pages of magazines coupled with television shows featuring professional interior designers dressed as stylishly posh as possible are what started this misconception that interior designing makes sense only if used on high-end structures.


Interior designing is all about turning an interior space into an effective setting for the intended range of human activities. There is no other definition of interior design as perfectly defining as this. The purpose of interior designing is not fully dictated by aesthetics. Its ultimate purpose is functionality above anything else. Form follows Function. Interior designers’ biggest responsibility is to make sure that an interior space meet the needs of its intended function all the while making sure that the aesthetic appeal is not lost.

BeFunky_history_caveart.jpgInterior Design is not simply something that was just invented by modern humans. Like anything else, it was invented out of necessity, and this necessity has existed since the early ages of human existence. Prehistoric humans used caves to shelter them from extreme weather and protect them from predators. Eventually, they started to settle and build small communities. These early humans left us with caves full of basic drawings which would suggest that they felt the need to design their dwellings according to their idea of beauty. They progressed to using wood, animal skin and other materials found in nature as tools to improve their dwellings.

BeFunky_egyptianempire.jpgThe Egyptian, Roman and Greek empires might not have known yet of interior design as a discipline or a profession, but looking at the huge and awe-inspiring architectural structures they left us, they already practice interior designing, with most of the design elements being influenced by religion.






During the 18th and 19th centuries, the strong influence of religion became clearer as seen in the designs of the interior of the huge cathedrals and other massive pillared buildings with carvings and murals. This was followed by the Baroque style with its extravagant ornamentation, exaggerated curves and dramatic grandeur.

It was during the 1900s when Art Deco or Style Modern was born and it completely rejects the extremely elaborate designs of the past movements. It favors strong colors, clean lines and simple functions that exudes elegance and sophistication. Art Deco has still retained a shade of its influence on the current style trends.

BeFunky_Chromatic_1.jpgAs most part of the world was welcoming the age of industrialization, modernism came and introduce simple. clean and functional design. Not long after modernism took hold of the trend, postmodernism was born. Interior designers, from being a part of the backstage crew, started getting on the design stage and becoming important personalities as the time of Modernism and Postmodernism came. The postmodernism movement revolves around the mindset that “less is more”.  It leans toward minimalism and uses new and challenging materials for furniture. Since free movement is so much valued in this day and age, postmodernism poses a challenge to interior designers to inject the element of fluidity and portability when it comes to functionality.


Interior Design will, no doubt, undergo many more transformation. Its focus will endlessly shift from one thing to another. However, it is important to be acquainted with its roots and its history so that the purpose of its existence is not lost.