Visual characteristics form the vocabulary that we refer to as elements and principles of design. Elements are parts of the design. Principles are guidelines in putting the parts or elements together to form a satisfying unit. In nature we observe similar examples of elements coming together to make an attractive whole. If you have some understanding of how the elements work you can manipulate them to create the environments that you want. This knowledge is particularly important in designing small spaces so that you can achieve spaciousness, emotional satisfaction and interest.