7 important interior design principles and how to use them in your clinic

7 important interior design principles and how to use them in your clinic
August 7, 2019 Dentifit

It’s tempting to think that there are no rules when it comes to art – after all, as they say, creativity knows no bounds. However, all art forms tend to have underlying principles that can show us how to take raw, simplistic elements and shape them into a work of timeless beauty. The field of interior design is no exception.

At Dentifit, we know the value that a beautiful interior can bring to your practice. Investing in a modern practice design can not only improve your operational efficiency, it is crucial for maximising the positive service experience your patients receive once they walk through that front door. As construction and interior design experts with decades of experience, there are a select few tried-and-tested principles of interior design that we use to help us realise our clients’ vision for their practice designs. Let’s explore the 7 core principles of interior design, and how you can apply them in your clinic.


interior design principles

The concept of “balance” can take on a few different meanings, depending on the context it’s in, but “balance” in interior design refers to visual balance. More specifically, it’s the creation of visual balance through even distribution of elements throughout a space. It’s generally agreed that there are three main ways to achieve balance in interior design: through creating symmetrical balance, asymmetrical balance, or radial balance. Asymmetrical balance tends to give a more upbeat feel to the space than dead-on symmetry of objects, and radial balance applies when you’ve got a focal point that you want everything else to be oriented around. Think about the energy you want your create in your clinic when you consider balance.

Scale and Proportion

Essential to achieving balance is ensuring appropriate scale and proportion, which refers to the size of elements in relation to other elements or the entire space. Sounds complicated, but think of it as a way to assess whether your practice design looks either too cluttered or too bare. Are the objects and features in your clinic space “weighted” well in relation to each other? For example, small and understuffed cushions make large sofas appear empty and plain, and if your space has a low ceiling (as most medical clinics do), you should favour low-rise furniture like ottomans.

Rhythm and Repetition

In interior design, “rhythm” refers to the repetitive use of particular elements to achieve consistency in the design of a space. Just as rhythm in music is the process of creating a musical pattern through repeating beats, in interior design, you want to create a “pattern” of design through interconnectedness between elements. This can be subtle, such as using the same material trimming on cabinets and tables. It can also be overt through the repetition of bold colours or patterns, such as the several marble surfaces we installed as a standout design feature for Absolute Dental Care in Taringa.

Emphasis and Focus

This one’s pretty self-explanatory – emphasis in interior design is about creating a point of focus within a space by giving importance to a specific area or object. You’ll know when emphasis has been applied well in the interior design of a space if the highlighted feature instantly lifts the room without overwhelming it. It’s important to think about how you’ll achieve emphasis in your practice design – through adding a colourful feature like a striking hanging painting, or through some simple accent lighting. Whatever you choose, just resist the temptation to go overboard!


Somewhat related to the idea of emphasis, employing contrast in your interior design refers to the idea of placing “opposing” elements next to each other to add a stylish touch of drama. The most obvious way to achieve contrast is through pops of colour against a neutral wall shade, but you can think outside the box with this one, such as through mixing shapes. For example, installing a circular mirror above or next to a rectangular sofa is an easy way to add interest in your reception waiting area without overdoing the contrast.


Sometimes it’s the small details that make the biggest difference to your practice design. This is where you can get really creative. Think little touches that add personality – from artwork to botanical arrangements, and in particular feature lighting, the possibilities are just about endless, and they can really set your practice apart. Just make sure you keep those details consistent throughout your practice design – this relates back to achieving that perfect balance.


interior design principles

The first six principles of interior design all point to one ultimate goal – creating a harmonious and unified space. Look at your practice as a whole to see how all elements in a space work together. Do they complement each other and flow well from one element to the next? Consider your vision for your practice design, and how you can realise that vision. Sometimes, it’s best to call in the experts so that you can have a seamless process from design through to construction, and receive an end result that’s everything you wanted and more.

Need some guidance on interior design to transform your practice, by industry experts who can take all the hard work off your hands? That’s where Dentifit comes in. We’re the clinic refurbishment and fitout expertscontact us today for a quote!