Interior Design - Balance, Proportion, Rhythm, and Scale

by : barneygarcia

Whether you have just bought your first new home or are planning to redo an old home from scratch, the elements and principles of design are important tools to ensure a successful outcome. The elements are your raw materials much like paints are to an artists and include space, line, form, color, and texture. The principles of design refer to how you make use of these different elements and related to balance, proportion, rhythm, and scale. They give a room unity and harmony.

The number one principle of design is balance and refers to the visual equilibrium of a room. Careful consideration is given to the placement of objects within a room according to their visual weight. Line, form, color and texture all help to determine their visual weight, which is merely how much space objects takes up within a room. Try to distribute various objects throughout a room to maintain balance. Formal balance refers to symmetrical balance which creates a kind of mirrored effect. Informal balance uses different objects of the same visual weight to create a sense of equilibrium in a room. It gives a spontaneous, warm feeling to a room.

The second principle of design is emphasis which refers to the focal point of a room. The focal point is an obvious feature in a room to which the eye is attracted and could be anything from a fireplace, a piece of artwork, or a window treatment featuring a beautiful view. The focal point of a room should be emphasized with the use of line, form, color and texture.

The third principle of design is rhythm which controls the eyes as they move around a room. Rhythm allows the eyes to move around from one object to another and creates a harmonious atmosphere in a room. Rhythm is created through repetition of line, form, texture and color. It can also be created by progression which is simply a gradual increasing or decreasing in size, direction or color.

The forth principle of design is proportion and scale. Proportion refers to how the elements within an object relate to the object as a whole while scale relates to the size of an object compared to the space in which it is located.

The fifth principle of design is harmony and unity. A well designed room will have a unified whole that gives a sense of order. The shapes and sizes of the objects in the room are consistent, with a harmony of color and texture. Repeating elements, balancing them throughout a room and adding a little variety for interest will give a room a personality all its own.