Good, strength, beauty

Even in the first century BC ancient Roman architect Vitruvius formulated these simple rules, all expressed in three words – the good, the strength, beauty. These three concepts are the foundation of the architecture, both ancient and modern. For interior design, which is inseparably linked with the architecture, they are also crucial.

What is so important in these words, which are familiar to everyone? These three words, or rather their sequence, are the major rules for interior design projecting. Their sequence clearly indicates what is primary in the design and what is secondary.

The good

Initially, to create any object or interior there is necessary to have a reason or a purpose. The modern word for this concept is function.

Residential interior is created to live in it – to sleep, eat, relax, communicate, raise children and so on. The interior of any office is created for work. The interior of a café or a restaurant is created for meal. This is the function of premises. And this function is strictly objective and reason for creating the interior, so the room should maximally meet its functions.

In the present circumstances, when every square meter is a sum of money, we have yet another concept – living space. Especially it is important for small apartments, where you need every square meter of space to use with maximum benefit. The space should not “disappear”, remain untapped. Even if it is just a corridor connecting the rooms, it has its own function, and it should run smoothly.

To create the most comfortable, functional and usable space there are used ergonomic standards. In the everyday sense, they are reduced to the size of basic household items and the distance between them, in which a person is free to act, move, realizing the function of the room.

For example, seat height of a chair or stool handy for the average person, is 45-50 cm and the height of the desk – 75 cm. This means that the chair or table will be uncomfortable, if its size is very different from that figure. Ergonomic standards may fairly differ depending on geographic location. For example, in the Scandinavian countries, the height of an average person is much higher than in Asia. Accordingly, the size of the objects, comfortable for Scandinavians and Asians can vary greatly. In addition, it is important to remember that these rules are not something rigid, unchanging. They are designed to optimize human activity, to help understand how a person will be the most convenient, without checking everything in empiric way.


As soon as the function of the room, its purpose, comfort and ergonomics is determined, there arises the question of strength. This is a very broad concept that includes not only the stability of the structure (walls, floor), but also the safety in use and a certain degree of durability. It is difficult to overestimate the structural stability of the room, actually a very common opinion is that such strength is even more important than the good of the room. This is a moot point, because the room that has no purpose, functionality, is not useful, it is not needed, no matter how strong it was.

Structural stability is more a category of architecture than of interior design, but in the redevelopment of premises it can not be left unrecorded. The same applies to the safety in use. Numerous regulations govern the security of architecture and interior design – fire safety, environmental protection, hygiene. Appropriate authorities supervise the work of designers, not allowing them to create life-threatening situations. Sometimes it may seem that these standards are too strict and there is no other reason to carry them out, but the threat of being fined by an appropriate authority. But this impression is erroneous. As one driver said, “traffic rules are written in blood”. In relation to the construction standards this may be too strong statement, but I also recommend treat them carefully in order to avoid risk to yourselves and your family.

Actually, ergonomics also has direct relevance to safety, because the objects, uncomfortable for use, may cause substantial harm to human health. Inconvenient opening door can strike at the most inopportune moment, it is easy to bang the head against the uncomfortable hanging shelf and so on.

In the world of industrial production fashion dominates, so the longevity of things and interior gradually recedes into the background. Nevertheless, each technique, the furniture, cover should have a fixed term, adequate to the price. Again, a short-lived and therefore susceptible to breakage thing may be dangerous for its user.


And finally, the last rule of interior design is the beauty, decoration, the harmony of appearance. The value of this criterion is generally overestimated, because the first thing people notice when entering the room is the appearance of premises, not the convenience or safety. This has generated widespread in the modern world easy attitude to the profession of designer. A person sees the premises or its image primarily it is the colours and materials, their harmonious combination. And it seems that to create such an interior is easy, that any tasteful person can do it. But the inner filling of the interior consisting of its utility and durability remains unnoticed by him.

People also often tend to make choice, guided in the first turn by appearance of a thing, or even only by appearance. How often you can hear, especially from a woman – oh, how lovely, I want it. But perhaps everyone in his life had a chance to buy a beautiful but uncomfortable pair of shoes and to assess whether the benefits in daily life and durability take precedence over beauty.

If we speak on purchasing industrially produced things, there is no sense to especially worry. Any item of industrial production is already more or less solid and useful; this is the basis of industrial design. Of course, the degree of functionality and quality of things is highly dependent on the manufacturer.

But designing a person’s environment, and especially his living space, in any case we may not sacrifice benefit and strength to beauty. This does not mean that in the interior we should entirely exclude the décor and design just boring utilitarian things of practical gray colour. But the decorative must not take precedence over functionality and structural stability. None of the sculpture, even the most beautiful, should hinder free movement around the room. Neither lamp, no matter how much you like it, should blind. None of the objects in the room should be uncomfortable or dangerous.

But you should not also ignore the beauty. The décor is an important component of the design; it enlivens the dull and utilitarian objects, gives them personality. The décor – this is what causes emotions, and therefore leaves the strongest impression, is best remembered.

Thus, these three ancient rules applied in the correct sequence will help make any interior pleasing the eye and soul, bringing relaxation to mind and body, no matter in what style you want to make it. The rules of the ancient Roman architect will help you create what is now so highly appreciated – a cozy and beautiful home.