When it comes to decorating your home and giving it personality, there are plenty of home interior design terms you may not be aware of. Words like scale, line, color, pattern, texture, rhythm, and balance all describe important concepts that can help you create a beautifully decorated home. Even if you've tried to create the perfect look before and it didn't turn out the way you planned, understanding some of these home decorating terms can help you create an impressive living space. Small details can mean the difference between an attractive home and one that seems "off" from the way you've always dreamed it would look.
Think of each room in your home like a boat. If it's loaded too heavily on one side, it will seem to tip over and "list" like a ship, resulting in a feeling of imbalance. In order to regain balance in your home, consider a few tips. Remember that dark colors will carry much more visual impact than lighter ones. Busier patterns also seem heavier than simpler ones. The same principle applies to textures. Add texture with items like wallpaper, throw pillows, tile, and furniture.
In order to achieve better visual balance, space your furniture out evenly throughout the room. Consider the size and silhouette of each piece. For example, it's not recommended that you place a small, dainty end table on one end of a room and then add a large sectional on the other. This creates an uneven visual balance. When choosing colors, select light shades that make the room appear open and airy; dark tones can give you the feeling of being closed in on. If you're looking to do some home improvement in order to create better balance, consider painting the walls in your home a fresh, light shade.
Using Lines in Home Design
Every room in your home consists of a series of lines, from the frames of windows to tables and sofas, draperies, and even crown molding. All these lines create a sense of movement and evenness. You'll find straight lines in items like doors, windows, and chair rails. On the opposite side of the spectrum are curvy lines, which you often see in archways, round-shaped tables, circular rugs, or lamp shades. Add other lines, like vertical, horizontal, and diagonal ones, to the equation to create a combination of looks that work together for a complete aesthetic.
Making the Most of Color
The use of color can evoke all kinds of emotions and impressions, and it's often the most important element of a successful interior design. Learning about color theory can help you determine which hues will work best for your decorating goals. Light, pale tones can help to visually expand a space, while darker colors absorb and deflect light, making the room feel smaller. A good rule of thumb is to avoid painting your walls in dark or ultra-bright colors. Try something soft like a pale yellow, a light gray, or a nice shade of light blue. Ivory and cream are also good, neutral choices. You can change things up or add drama by choosing a bolder accent color on a feature wall.
Integrating Patterns Into Home Design
The definition of a pattern is something that repeats itself, whether it's in nature or home design. These patterns can create a memorable look in a room. If you're looking to freshen up a space, floral patterns are a wonderful option. If a room needs to appear visually wider, thick horizontal stripes can do this, while vertical stripes will make the ceiling appear higher. Integrate geometric shapes into your space if you're looking for a more modern, contemporary feel. No matter what type of pattern you prefer, it's important to keep it to a minimum when using it in smaller spaces.
The Role of Texture
If you prefer to avoid using patterns, texture offers a unique way to add visual interest to any space in your home. Add a variety of textures that range from smooth to tactile to create an eclectic feel. You can even bring in items from nature, like seashells or driftwood, to add more unique textures. Try to stay away from heavier woven fabrics and dark colors in smaller rooms; instead, try smooth and shiny satin fabrics on pillows and window treatments. Tile a fireplace with stone or glass to give the main living area an updated look that easily integrates just the right amount of texture.
Scale and Proportion
The term scale in home design refers to the size of an object in relation to the room, while the term proportion refers to the size of an object in comparison to other items in a room. Make sure your furniture looks appropriate in proportion to the size of the room and the other pieces in it. For instance, choosing smaller dining chairs will work well with a compact dining table. Keep all of your furniture similar in size and scale whenever possible in order to maintain a comfortable visual balance. If you mix and match too many different sizes of décor and furniture, it can make a space feel unsettled and uneasy. The best way to ensure that your room's scale and proportion are correct is to think about how your eye moves around the room. If it does so in a gradual line, everything is most likely at a proper scale.
A beautifully designed room will encourage your eye to move around the space in an organized way as you take in every design element. There are a few different elements that work in tandem to help craft a well-designed space, including contrast, repetition, radiation, gradation, and transition.
Contrast refers to using a variety of colors or shapes that work together, such as white kitchen cabinets and black granite countertops. Repetition refers to a repeating element such as similar colors, textures, or patterns that can be found throughout the home, creating a theme. Radiation refers to the balance and repetition of your design elements as they're planned around a central part of the room. For example, a round table could be the central part of the room, and dining chairs and a round light fixture would radiate from it to create a sense of rhythm and balance.
You can also create a visual rhythm using gradation, which incorporates a variety of objects ranging in size from small to large or colors ranging from light to dark. The eye naturally follows these items in a smooth rhythm. Ombré paint or throw pillows can introduce gradation to a room. For a smooth rhythm, ensure that the transition of the room is presented in the proper way. A row of framed photographs that lead the eye to flow across a wall, down the hallway, or down a staircase is one example of how to present an eye-pleasing transition.
- Ten Color Theory Basics Everyone Should Know: Read here for an informative guide offering ten color theory tips that anyone should know about for better home design.
- 22 Beautiful Ways to Decorate With Patterns: This article provides 22 helpful ways you can use patterns in your home along with example photographs.
- Interior Design Beginner Tips: These simple tips can show you how to create impressive home designs for your own home or for a client.
- Interior Design Terms and Concepts Explained: Learn more about the most common terms used in interior design to help you better understand their use.
- Principles of Design: Balance: Click here to discover more about creating exceptionally decorated and balanced interiors.