Friday, February 8, 2008

Design Process: Principles of Design

Although these basic principles deal with intangibles, they're very important for establishing a successful décor.


When a sense of visual equilibrium is achieved in a room, the design is balanced. To achieve balance, you need to think about the visual weight of the elements. Balance in a room may be symmetrical or asymmetrical. Few rooms are completely symmetrical, but there are often symmetrical elements, such as a centered fireplace or identical chairs facing each other.


The organized repetition of elements in a design scheme constitutes rhythm. This repetition brings a sense of unity and continuity as your eye moves easily from one motif or area to another. While the repeated elements must share a common trait, such as color, for a sense of unity they should also be varied to create visual interest.


Emphasis suggests making some elements in a design more significant than others. If a work of art is the focal point in a room, for example, the furnishings and wall coverings should be subordinate. Without emphasis, a room looks monotonous.


When the scale of a wall covering, for example, is in proportion to the overall size of the room, the room appears harmonious. If the scale is too large for the room, the effect will be overpowering; if it's too small, the design will look flimsy or weak.


When both unity and variety exist in a room, harmony results. A careful combining of colors, textures and patterns produces a unified whole. Too much unity, however, can be boring. Variety – in just the right amount – contributes vitality and excitement to a room's design. It may be subtle, as in slight color variations, or it may be startling, as with sharply contrasting patterns.

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