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The Principles of Good Interior Design

UNITY - Unity refers to the designer's concept and the honesty and thoughtfulness that is brought to achieve the concept. Through repetition and similarity, a single motivating idea emerges. When you design a home, make every effort to have the objects and colors relate to each other in some way. Use repetition of color, pattern, line and shape to establish unity. But use creative thinking to avoid being stuck in the theme. Too much unity becomes monotonous.

VARIETY - Vary your colors, shapes, patterns and themes within the rooms, but don't sacrifice unity to do it. The right combination of variety and unity will bring harmony to each room and ultimately to the home.

EMPHASIS - Give the appropriate amount of emphasis to each part of the room. Draw attention to the most important parts and less attention to the rest. Create centers of interest, or focal points, set against less important backgrounds. The final look you want to achieve will hinge on how well you downplay the least important parts.

To know what to emphasize and what to downplay, take a good look at the natural conditions present in the room. Let's say the room has a fabulous panoramic view - an obvious focal point. This is where you want to place the emphasis. Secondarily, let's say you have a great piece of art you want to place over the twenty foot high fireplace. This becomes the dominant level of emphasis. Then choose simple but elegant upholstered pieces that blend subtly with the room as your sub-dominant level of emphasis. Keeping the floors, walls, ceilings and other accessories rather neutral, they become even more subordinate to everything else. This way the eye of any viewer will first go to the panoramic view, then to the art above the fireplace, then to the seating arrangements and accessories, and finally to the background of floor, walls and ceiling.

 RHYTHM - Simply put, rhythm is continuity. Movement and the direction rhythm implies will make your home come alive. You will achieve rhythm by using repetition and progression. This is easiest done with the repetition or lack of it in shapes, colors and textures. Avoid repetition of ordinary and commonplace things. Avoid monotomy by utilizing contrast in color, size and shape.

Progression has to do with transition or sequence - how the colors, textures and shapes flow from one area of the room to another, from one room to another. Perhaps the color palette remains the same throughout the home, but one color is emphasized in one room while downplayed in another. Consider how the elements in one room alter slightly in passageways, emerging in a similar yet different fashion in another room.

Principles of Good Design, Part I

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