RESEARCH PROPOSAL FOR THESIS TOPIC:
INTERIOR DESIGN AND DECORATION IN
(USING IJAPO ESTATE, AKURE AS A CASE STUDY)
A TERM PAPER REPORT
ARC 805 – RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
AKINAYO OLUWADAMILOLA AKINWALE
THE DEPARTMENT OF ARCHITECTURE,
SCHOOL OF POSTGRADUATE STUDIES,
FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY,
P.M.B. 704, AKURE,
ARC. (PROF.) O. OGUNSOTE
The desire for man to create a pleasant and functional environment is naturally inborn as
the necessary catalyst to justify the man’s existence and the essence of his civilization. Thus, the
need of mankind to develop the ideas and techniques of sustainable and functional environments
that is aesthetically pleasing and gives a sense of warmth and welcoming internally and externally.
One of the ways, man deals with his internal environment i.e. building interiors are through interior
design while with environmental design complements the interior for smooth transition into one
another and vice-versa.
1.1 INTRODUCTION TO INTERIOR DESIGN
Interior design is still a relatively new field because its possibilities, limits and boundaries
have not been explored to their potentials fully. In the United States and Nigeria, for example it
was not until recently, interior design was usually only concerned and associated commonly with
the home and its interiors while every furniture salesman or drapery hanger was a “decorator”.
The actual origin of the terminology in itself is not a real source of concern because a meaningful
part of interior design is derived from the decorative arts. This is because art is the discipline
whose innate sensitivity towards nature and material matter finds the answer to complex interior
spaces of organized structures.
The implication is clearly gotten when the society attaches relevance to some certain terms
or ideologies thereby making it very necessary to develop clearer ones from time to time. During
these last twenty (20) years, a new profession in architecture has emerged repressing the
common saying of an “interior decorator” which has fallen heavily into disrepute (Massey, 1990).
Today, a clearer understanding of the designer’s activities has led to the emergence of a
field many people refer to as “interior architecture”. Also much more recently all those concerned
with the shaping of the man-made environment refer to this field in its totality as “environmental
design”, thus, it seems to make sense that the acceptable term for an individual also practicing the
discipline of interior design to be referred to as “environmental designer”. Interior architecture
much like structural and landscape architecture, is a branch that is highly specialized which should
not be practiced out of context (Friedman, 1982).
Finally, the most successful structural edifices that are in existence needed the combination
and collaboration of the interior designer and supervising architect in charge working hand in hand
in the planning and design process/approach which is followed to the last detail in materials and
stated specifications. Interior design, therefore, completes a building interior by answering and
devotion to the more specific aesthetic, functional and psychological questions of the interior
1.2 MOTIVATION AND JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY
In this present day architectural practice in the 21st century most architects are concerned
with solely the design and site supervision of projects. As a result only a few architects are into
interior design or a form of interior decoration.
The motivation to write on this still relatively unknown and uncharted aspect of architecture
in Nigeria came to me when I was opportune to work with an interior design architect during the
Industrial Training (I.T) attachment customary for 400level students of this institution whose major
source of income is gotten from interior design and the making of furniture fittings for residential,
recreational and industrial building structures. It sparked up the interest and further gotten
interested by my project supervisor who taught the course in my final year which I thoroughly
All these above justify the desire to know more about interior design so as to be achieve
simple, spacious yet functional interior spaces that are aesthetically pleasing and well-furnished
within the constraints of cost and availability of materials including skilled labour and craftsmen.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE RESEARCH STUDY
The aim is the goal to be achieved and the objectives are the steps taken to achieve the
primary aim. The objective of the study is to provide a guide to making good interiors with the
following in mind below:
i. It introduces beginners in the architectural practice to the most fundamental means of
organizing spacious, functional and aesthetically pleasing interior organization of interior
spaces with the primary aim of the designs being rational, orderly useable and appropriate
using some case residential buildings in Akure as a case study.
ii. To correct the notion that interior design is not just artistic glamour.
iii. To provide adequate answers to the specific, structural, aesthetic and psychological
questions of the interiors through interior design and decoration.
1.4 THE SCOPE OF THE RESEARCH STUDY
The scope of this independent research project report is to thoroughly investigate the
modern movements and its approaches to interior design in residential buildings especially as a
foundation base subject which will be so as not to digress from the topic matter.
1.5 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The research methodology in design as in other discipline is understood to mean the
procedure or process in achieving a set goal or aim. It can be repeated to produce a manner or
way of working systematically.
The research methodology attempts to carry forward in an orderly form, the guiding
framework to be applied to all projects so as to achieve the desired result satisfactorily in good
time when well planned and implemented.
The framework applied to this project is as follows:
i. Interviewing practicing interior designers who are architects in the field with a wealth of
knowledge and years of professional experience of the architectural terrain of Nigeria.
ii. Textbooks and architectural magazine sources.
iii. The use of the internet.
iv. The use of a table of contents as a guideline.
1.6 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS AND LIMITATIONS
Due to the fact of reality that nothing on planet earth that is manmade exists without a
problem, difficulty or challenge. My case was not an exemption. I faced a lot of problems while
trying to accomplish my independent research work on interior design and decoration. Some of
these challenges/limitations are as follows below:
i. The lack of adequate funds a times to further research on the project i.e. financial
ii. The limited materials in form of literature in the University’s Library.
iii. To administer questionnaires or not to do so was debatable in the mind of the researcher
because of the task entailed in distributing and giving people on the streets or who stay in
the town’s suburbs i.e. Akure town which could be given a boost by the University’s
academic environment i.e. amongst the lecturers, students and other non-academic staff.
iv. The inability to obtain sufficient and relevant information easily via the internet.
2.0 CASE STUDY OF A RESIDENTIAL BUILDING’S INTERIOR ON IJAPO ESTATE, AKURE,
To examine how interior design is practiced in Nigeria especially in Akure, Ondo State. A
case study of a residential building in Ijapo Estate has been selected. The basis for its selection
was that the residential building was designed by an architect for the client who is a practicing
mechanical engineer who is also a construction consultant. The interiors of the building were
designed by an interior designer who followed the client’s instruction to the last. The building is
going to be discussed along the following guiding parameters as follows.
2.1 THE PRINCIPLES OF AESTHETIC COMPOSITION IN INTERIORS
Some active practitioners and school of thought believe that are no rules to adhere in the
making and design of interiors of any kind. There is no truth in this statement because there are
aesthetic principles older than civilization that modern designers in the present era should know
and have a bit of knowledge of. It is usually observed that there is a lack of substance in most
interiors i.e. bare and unappealing because of the lack of trained hands in both interior design and
decoration respectively to compose an overall interior. A totally composed interior is usually
organized to fulfill its spatial purpose, functionality and simultaneously offer visually unified and
adherent aesthetic statement. Such statements endow interiors of any kind with a sense of
warmth and place. All interiors that are well designed and likened to exquisite works of art or
masterpieces that were well conceived and carefully examined in the theoretical terms of
Ergonomists and anthropomologists speculate that some of the principles such as
symmetry, pattern, balance and aesthetics were stumbled upon by chance. This too can not be
true because nothing in this life exists by chance or coincidence but by the divine master plan of
fate and destiny to occur. Other principles which now exist came about as a result of a search for
understanding and enlightenment into existing phenomena such as the theories of proportion and
colour i.e. continuous exploration of more principles over the centuries continued through the
evolution of mankind.
Without guiding principles and conscious application in the practice or fieldwork in
architecture only, copying or guesswork would be used in achieving the desired results in man’s
internal environment which were bound to fail or to be disastrous as there is no formulated guiding
principle or procedure to follow. This thereby reduces the possibility of creating very rational
interior spaces. The use of these principles is paramount to be employed in all interiors whether
residential and non-residential buildings or enclosed structures other than buildings like ships and
aircrafts, though not all of these principles will be used in every project like in the case study that
is being analyzed.
2.2 FORM, SHAPE AND CONFIGURATION
It is already a known fact that in interior design, decoration or architecture in the visual arts,
the terms, form, shape and configuration are often used to examine the case study in question
whose interiors are being studied.
The building as earlier mentioned is residential; therefore the form is that of a residential
space reflecting in all its interiors. The form or ideas are the easily recognizable characteristics
peculiar to a type of interior.
The characteristic shape of most residential interiors is a geometric one rarely organic or
natural which makes no exception in this case. The shape of all the rooms particularly the living
room, anteroom, bedrooms, dining and private lounge are all rectangular or regular in structure.
The shape here reflects within an interior the relational effect on its form.
The configuration of the entire building’s interior is as a result of the detailed external shape
which is specific due to the disposition of different parts. The relationship between the parts
whether related or unrelated creates the configuration of the interior. The configuration of the case
study is simple with ample room for “filled” and “empty” places i.e. filled with a specific component
like a table, chair, and walls while empty places are pathways or circulation routes for navigation
through the interior’s environs.
2.3 SIZE, SCALE AND PROPORTION (CONSIDERATIONS IN THE DESIGN OF INTERIOR
The problems and questions of what should be the appropriate size, scale and proportion
of an interior space, building structure, painting, and sculpture, have plagued and occupied the
attention of architects, interior designers, artists, sculptors and so on for centuries and decades.
This is because much has been written, talked about, subjected to investigation and codified over
a period of time.
Size by simple definition is the composition of an object’s physical extent in dimension to
another. It is the physical relationship of an object to another through scale also. The sizes of
interior spaces of the case study to another is balanced as almost every space seems to be the
same size though there are some spaces that are comparatively smaller are present.
Scale is used to compare the sizes of objects to another in relativity. For example, the scale
notion on architectural drawings is in fact a comparison of the building drawings to the size of the
actual building on the site probably being constructed. Scale carries the psychological connotation
as a result, the human body’s natural physics instinctively calculates and senses when an
expected size is far smaller or bigger instantly. The scale of the rooms is standard with the sizes
of furniture, doors and windows being constructed by the set standards of design internationally.
Proportion is another very important consideration in interior design because it and scale
are relating not to size only as the former seeks to determine the size of one part to that of another
on the same object. It is usually influenced strongly in interiors by three criteria (determinants): the
aesthetical, functional and material tendencies. In some cases, all three will have to be employed
to achieve the best interior design as in the case’s study interiors.
2.4 EQUILIBRIUM: SYMMETRY AND BALANCE
In any form of aesthetic creation like fine art, interior design or architecture there are two
means of establishing equilibrium which are by the forces of symmetry and balance. Equilibrium in
any composition is an even adjustment, equilibrium between two possibly complementary or
opposing parts. Basically, the principle of symmetry was developed through the conscious
workings of the mind while balance came into existence through artistic intuition and
experimentation. Both these principles have existed for thousands of years before the advent of
In visual arts, symmetry requires a centre line with matching left and right sides for equality
and distribution on two sides. These establish the equilibrium. Strict symmetry has been
considered a satisfactory means of organization for centuries constantly especially in architecture
and interior design. Rudolph Arnheim comments that architectural design has in all cultures no
matter the geographical location and its associated site constraints relied heavily on symmetry
because buildings serve as an element of stability and order amidst human experience though
pervaded by struggle, accidents, and seeds of discord, change, sexual immorality and irrationality.
For interior designers especially, the consequence of the discovery of symmetry for use, a
compositional device is second only to the discovery of balance.
Balance is the underlying principle for organization of the whole interior space plan. In
modern architecture and interior design, balance is the foundation of organic unity; the theory of
spatial harmony developed by Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. This is to ensure the strict
regularity of parts, a pure intellectual or mechanical application. A much more subtle and intuitive
means with a high option of variability is the principle of asymmetry. This is a form of balance
which visually seems disorientated or distorted while fundamentally maintaining balance.
2.5 REPETITION AND RHYTHM
In the practice of art and design, repetition is the planned recurrence of a component. The
components are repeated to have exact structural similarity and minimal disparity to establish
visual continuity firmly. Repetition is then used to establish a form of rhythm.
Repetition in construction allows a composite structure to have form without which art
would be formless. In architecture, structures use a strict replication of vertical and horizontal
members such as columns and use of clay bricks for support. The consistency in repetition is
necessary in design for if not constant; the structure or art piece would lack the visual connection
it needs. Therefore, there should be consistency in size, shape, colour and material when
considering repeating components in interior design.
Rhythm is as a result of repetition. It is a movement or just a form of music
characteristically able to make music sway i.e. the eyes and the body frame in totality. In interior
design, some rhythms that are expressed in the external features of a building are evident in its
interior as columns load bearing or decorative could occur inside a building just like its windows or
doors being put in a series to build a rhythm. If recognizable, the existing architectural
components would be reinforced by the interior elements while colour, lighting and furniture may
be designed to strengthen rhythms that are present in existing spaces.
2.6 CONTRAST AND OPPOSITION
The aesthetic principle of contrast and opposition offers a degree or the satisfaction of
difference. Contrast occurs in interior components in relation to each other so that when placed
side by side, they exhibit the individual and characteristic diversities to show opposition: a
principle similar to variation. The components usually must have equality in characteristics such
as weight, height, colour, value and shape.
Contrast in interiors provides emphasis. For instance in the case study, the marble floor
finish contrasts against the wall colour of cream with the natural and artificial lighting sources. Also
if a rough texture and other surfaces were made smooth in an interior environment, the former
would visually dominate. Contrast usually provides a positive tension between the parts of the
Characteristically, opposition occurs when components are contrasted against one another
in equal strength or seemingly higher strengths to another object. For instance, an amount of red
paint on a wall in opposition to an equal amount of green. This is the colour signature of
Tetrazzini, a popular eatery in Lagos which is very catchy visually because the components are
equal in size, weight, intensity and colour value, thus, producing equilibrium through opposition.
Friedman, A. (1982): Interior Design: An Introduction to Architectural Interiors, Third Edition,
Elsevier Science Publishing Company Incorporated, New York, U.S.A.
Massey, A. (1990): Interior Design in the 20th Century, Thames and Hudson Limited, London,
The Google Online Search Engine (Nigeria): www.google.com.ng
Mamma Internet Search Engine: www.mamma.com
Microsoft Encarta 2008 Premium Suite (Student Encyclopedia)