From the Lens of an Interior Designer: Elements of Detail for a Well-Designed Space
When you’re thinking about using modern design in your home or business, you need to consider the big picture. The basic elements of interior design should help you to create a space that is unique and popping with your own sense of style, but also useful, livable and workable. There’s even an entire field of science called EBD, or Evidence Based Design, which is changing the way that buildings are built. Office spaces, hotels, restaurants, museums, schools, residences and even prisons are being designed with traditional healthcare architecture in mind. And you can there’s no reason you can’t incorporate some of these design theories into your own home. Let’s cover some of these elements below, and see how they would work for you. Balance Balance is not just an orderly and neat symmetrical look. Balance can be presented in a variety of ways that are pleasing and interesting.
- Symmetrical Balance: This is where the two halves of the room are repeated to either side of the central line of the room and its main focal point. This creates a harmonious and reassuring, if not somewhat formal and controlled space, though it can be used in rooms from the office to the bedroom and even bath.
- Asymmetrical Balance: Again, there is a central line or a focal point, though this time the room is arranged in a more lively way. Think of a mid-century modern room with its wall of glass windows, and a fireplace off the central line of the room. Placing design elements like furniture, lighting and art to highlight these features requires a different technique, and a bit of practice to make it look natural.
- Radial Balance: The room has a central point, and the design radiates outward around the point. Think of the placement of a Kartell Furniture conference table with the lighting above it and the chairs around the table to create a focal point.
You might not think of psychology when evaluating the balance of a room, but symmetry can make you happier and calmer. Symmetrical images garnered more positive responses than asymmetrical or random ones, and can even make people smile more. So for rooms that are supposed to be restful and comforting – along with other positive adjectives – you might want to stick with symmetrical balance, leaving radial and asymmetrical-balanced rooms for more public spaces. Contrast Mixing up textures, colors, shapes or even different design styles can prevent a room from looking too flat or matched. Contrast livens up a room by keeping visual interest. Think of a white sofa with bright red pillows, or a quarry-faced stone fireplace enclosure against a smooth and polished paneled wall. The two contrast and complement each other, holding viewers’ attention and interest. Scale The room should not be too big or too small to hold the furnishings comfortably. A smaller room can look cluttered with just a few pieces of furniture – say a sofa, two armchairs, and a coffee table – while the same items would disappear in a room twice the size and make it look under furnished. Likewise, carpets, window treatments and art need to fit the scale of the room, and mesh well enough with each other instead of giving the eye too many places to look all at once. Negative or White Space This is a concept of art galleries and publishing, where an item of interest is highlighted by white space or empty space surrounding the object being viewed. It’s uncluttered and serves to help people focus on that item. Theme or Unity Your home and your business should have an underlying theme, and your decorative choices should follow and reinforce that. Keep your choices consistent, but allow for wide variations in personal spaces. For instance, you might love the cool, clean look of mid-century modern, but it might not be a restful choice for, say, a child’s bedroom. Learning interior design is a chance to have some fun while getting your space just the way that you want it. While a professional decorator can help you pull the final details together, your space should be all about you – not what the designer wants for you. Your interiors are a reflection of you, and your tastes. So if you want to use that great old table you bought at a yard sale, go ahead and do you. Just keep in mind the above tips for a well-designed space and you can’t go wrong.