The design of a room can affect our day-to-day lives in many ways and when designing a space there are a few crucial elements to keep in mind. Contrary to what many believe, design is not just about aesthetics. When creating your personal space, you should consider functionality, mood and harmony as well. Your space should be a reflection of your unique personality and taste while accommodating your personal daily needs in a functional and convenient way. In the following I will review the elements that you should consider when designing your own home in order to maximize your satisfaction of the overall design and end result!
The functionality of your room is the specific purpose for which the space will be used. In order to determine the functionality of your space you should consider what activities will take place there. For example, if you are designing your living room, will it be used primarily for watching television, relaxing, entertaining guests, playing games or reading? You should also take into consideration the number of people who will be utilizing the space. The functional space to the left features a Murphy bed that can transform this living space into a bedroom in seconds!
The mood of a space is the overall ambiance or feeling that it evokes in people. Mood is not simply style - one rustic design may be homey and relaxing while another is sophisticated and elegant. Many people seek a particular mood for every room in their home. For example, you may wish to have a bedroom that is cozy and romantic while your living room is sophisticated and cheerful. In order to determine what you wish the mood of your space to be, ask yourself how you want people to feel when they enter the room.
Harmony occurs when all of the design elements and principles combine to create a cohesive whole. A harmonious space is in one that has ideal proportion, a coordinating color scheme and a flowing style where every piece makes sense.
Elements of Design
1) Line - A line is defined as a mark in which the length is greater than the width. A line can be straight, curved, vertical, horizontal, diagonal, parallel, thick or thin. Curved lines are typically considered "soft" while straight lines are considered "hard." A line can also be implied which occurs when objects appear to be arranged on and invisible line.
2) Shape - A shape is a closed line or a line that is connected to itself. Shapes have width and height but are not three-dimensional.
3) Form - Form is a three-dimensional shape which has height, width and depth. Boxes, cylinders and cones all have form!
4) Color - Color is created when light is reflected off of an object and is transmitted through various wavelengths. Color has three distinct characteristics - hue (the actual color that we see), intensity (how bright or dull the color is), and value (how light or dark the color is).
5) Texture - Texture refers to the surface quality of an object that can be either felt or seen. Texture can be bumpy, grainy, soft smooth or hard. Different textures add interest to a space and can draw attention and emphasize certain items.
6) Value - Value is the darkness or lightness of the colors that are used in a design. Value helps to create mood. Typically, darker colors will create a more somber mood while lighter colors evoke a more upbeat feeling.
7) Space - Space is the area in a design composition. It is three-dimensional and consists of positive and negative space. Positive space is the spaced that is occupied by objects while negative space is the spaced that is between and around objects.
Principles of Design
1) Balance - Balance occurs when visual weight is evenly distributed on either side of an imaginary line. There are three types of balance; symmetrical, asymmetrical and radial. Symmetrical balance occurs when two separate but identical elements on either side of the imaginary line have equal and identical visual weight. Asymmetrical balance occurs when two separate and non-identical elements on either side of the imaginary line have equal but not identical visual weight. Radial balance occurs when weight is visually balanced around a central point. Radial symmetry is featured in the space to the left where the room is designed around the central coffee table.
2) Proportion - Proportion refers to how the objects in a room relate to one another in weight, texture and size. In a proportionate room, nothing seems too large or too small, however, disproportionate objects can be used to create a visual emphasis as long as they don't overwhelm the rest of the space and throw off the overall harmony.
3) Scale - Scale is the size of an object or pattern in relation to the human body. Most furniture is scaled to be comfortable for human use and typically sets the overall scale for a space. Unusual and unexpected scale can be used to create visual interest, such as an over-sized fireplace or a delicate piece of art. The space to the right displays a beautiful use of scale in the application of the over-sized wall art in relation to the rest of the space.
4) Emphasis - Emphasis is the part of a design that stands out and attracts attention creating a contrast and keeping the space interesting without disturbing the harmony. In the space to the left, the emphasis is on the yellow accents.
5) Repetition/Rhythm - Repetition and rhythm go hand-in-hand. Repetition creates unity in a space by re-using one or more of the elements of a design to create rhythm which moves a person's eyes around the room in a pleasing way. Repetition and rhythm can be achieved through shapes, colors or lines. In the space to the left, repetition and rhythm occur in the black and white accessories, pillows and ottoman places around the space which keeps your eye moving around the room.
Elements of a Room
Color - The colors of your room should be selected with consideration of the mood in mind. Color is found on the walls, ceilings, flooring and furniture of a space and is created with paint, wallpaper, upholstery and art. Cool colors typically evoke a calm and serene feeling while warm colors will give a space an energized feeling.
Architecture - The architecture of a space refers to the structure and shape of the room. Architectural features include the ceiling, walls, archways, doorways, doors, built-ins, fireplaces and molding. Embellishing, accentuating or playing up or down different architectural elements can actually make a space more functional.
Natural Light - Natural light is light from the sun. Taking natural light into consideration when designing a room is very important since you may need blinds, drapes or shutters to be able to control the brightness or potential glares.
Flooring - Flooring greatly effects the overall design of a space, contributing to the character of a room and accentuating other elements. Area rugs are a great flooring solution since they can add a punch of color or pattern to a space and can be easily changed and/or cleaned.
Large Furniture - Large furniture typically anchors a space and supports the style of a room. Upholstered furniture, sofas, chairs and love seats will typically remain over time and should add interest to a space without being the focal point.
Window Treatments - Window treatments add a sense of completeness to a room and provide privacy and natural light control. There are two types of window treatments; soft window treatments which are fabric drapes or curtains and hard window treatments which are blinds or shutters.
Occasional Furniture - Occasional furniture is the secondary furniture in a space which hold snacks and drinks and displays candles, photos and accessories. It adds interest to a space without becoming the focal point and can provide additional storage and contribute decoratively to the design of a room.
Fashion Accents - Fashion accents help to pull a design together into a cohesive whole. Typically, pillows, throws, tapestries, lamp shades and other accents which can be used seasonally or for holiday decorating are considered fashion accents.
Accessories and Wall Hangings - These are generally the small extra pieces which help achieve balance and harmony within a design.
Greenery - The calming effects of nature can be brought indoors through the use of live and artificial plants within a design.
Lighting - Lighting is a crucial element of design and consists of three types; ambient, task and accent. Lighting greatly influences the mood of a room and contributes both functionally and aesthetically to the design of a space.
Fragrance - Fragrance is something that many overlook but should be considered when completing a design. Fragrance can evoke strong feelings and should match the mood of your space.