6 Elements of Design and Why they Matter
Have you ever envisioned an idea for your space, but never knew how to make it a reality? Perhaps you've been scouring interior design magazines and made note of all the rooms and decor you loved, but aren't quite sure of how to attain that similar look in your own home.
Taking a space from conception to completion requires certain tools. For instance, if you know what repetition and gradation are in terms of interior design, you can use them whilst designing your space. But before you get to the complex stuff and bring out the big guns, you need to understand the basic elements of design.
There are six elements of design: line, scale, movement, light, color and texture. You can use these tools to achieve various effects in your home. You can isolate each element and point it out in any space. Here's a look at each of the six and what they can do:
Line refers to the shape of an object, and designers often use it to refer to certain styles. For example, modern design tends to feature straight, angular lines, while art nouveau uses curving, sweeping and organic lines. You can see the type of line used by looking at the outlines or edges of something. Your sofa, window frames, beams, etc all have lines.
You can use line in decorating in many ways -- from making sure your lines match, to creating contrast.
Scale is the size of something compared to something else. Scale in practice would be how large your table is in relation to the size of your dining room. You can play with scale to make a room seem larger or smaller, or to highlight certain elements of the room. For example, sometimes adding a bigger piece of furniture to a space can make the area seem larger than it would with a small piece of furniture. Surprising, isn't it?
Movement uses other elements of design to guide your eye through a space. For example, you can use line to direct viewers to a focal point in your room. You can also shine light in certain areas to highlight them. Movement is important to create flow or rhythm in a space, so you definitely should pay attention to it.
As you can probably guess, light refers to the use of illumination (or lack thereof) to create certain effects. You can hang industrial lighting in specific spots to make pools of light, or move the eye with placement of lamps. Light can also impact atmosphere, making a room feel cozy or cold.
A color scheme is perhaps one of the first things homeowners start on when planning a space. Mixing tones and following color patterns influences a room's mood. Psychologists have noted that certain colors spark specific emotions, so choosing the right hues impacts the way you feel in a room.
When working with color in your space, go back to art basics. You can use complementary or analogous colors to decorate a room, for instance - just as individual colors affect atmosphere, so too can combinations of hues.
You can introduce variety or simplicity to a space through any of the elements of design, including texture. Texture refers to the visceral quality of an object, whether it's rough or smooth, or thick or thin. Most of the time, texture is literally tactile, but other times, it's visual. A paint job could make the wall look like it's suede, even though it feels like drywall to the touch.
Texture adds another dimension to a room, and many decorators vary texture instead of color to make a space more interesting.
Understanding what the elements of design are and how to use them will ease the process of planning your dream space.
Written by Janice Loren of decorinteriorsus.com
Interior Designer & Contributing writer for Decor Interiors.