Creating a cohesive interior design for your home isn’t that hard if you know some of the basics. In fact, decorating your home so that all the various elements combine to create the look you’ve always wanted can be a lot of fun.
To create the perfect designer look, you want to first consider the purpose for each room, how you want it to look, your personal tastes, features that can and can’t be changed, and finally, the budget you have available.
The basics of good design are proportion, balance, contrast, rhythm, pattern/texture and harmony. Knowing how these elements work together will help you design your space so that it’s not only beautiful, but comfortable and functional as well.
Scale is one of the most important things to consider when creating the look of a room. A room that is proportioned correctly will feel welcoming while an incorrectly portioned room will just feel crowded and unfriendly. The trick is to match pieces in terms of their scale. A large overstuffed sofa needs an equally large end table or coffee table; otherwise, these accents simply disappear as the sofa dwarfs them proportionally. When considering scale, look to the other rooms in your home for furniture that may be a better fit with the focal pieces you have in your room.
When creating balance, there’s two ways to go here. The first is symmetrical design, where everything is perfectly balanced. For instance, one chair is placed exactly opposite another one just like it. While this creates balance, it can also make a room look static and lacking any visual interest or energy. Experienced designers use asymmetry to create this interest. Objects balance well because they are judged by their visual weight, not pairings. For instance, you may have a large sofa on one side of the room that is balanced by two large overstuffed chairs. These pieces balance the sofa visually, even though they aren’t equal in size or shape. The design works because there is balance in the asymmetrical layout of the furniture.
Imagine walking into a white room with white carpet and white furniture. Pretty boring, huh? Contrast helps draw the eye around a room through the intelligent use of colour. Bold use of colours creates energy while the use of muted shades in complementary tones creates calm. The more contrast you create, the easier it is for the human eye to follow the intended design of the room, moving visually from one space to another, guided by the use of colour and contrast.
To keep the room connected, you want to use rhythm. This means reusing specific colours, patterns, textures or themes throughout the room. Pick a couple main colours and repeat them in different ways in your paint scheme, fabrics and accents.
As the eye moves about a room, it picks up specific patterns. These are grouped together, so a blue wall is combined with a striped piece of fabric that has the same blue in it. Patterns that don’t fit create conflict in the mind, compromising the appearance of the space. Again, you want to pick one or two primary patterns or textures and vary them within the colour palette you’ve already created for the room. Right alongside the elements of contrast and rhythm in home decorating is pattern/texture.
If you’ve ever heard three singers sing different parts that sound amazing together, then you already know what harmony is. The same is true for the harmony in your home. Different colours, designs and proportions combine to create a new look that was never there before. It has a look that if you remove just one element, won’t have that harmonic feel to it any longer. When you’ve achieved harmony, you’ve achieved your design goals.