Living Room

Breaking It Down by Principle: Design Principles Help You Analyze Your Rooms

Take a good look at the room you want to analyze. Get comfortable with everything in the room and how it makes you feel. Then begin walking through the design principles.

Colour. How does the wall colour make you feel? What about the other colours in the room? Do they add to the feelings you want to evoke or do they distract from them? Are you using colour to its full potential? If you have a small room and you’ve chosen dark colours you’re not getting all that you can from the room. Lighter colours will make the room seem bigger and will also make you feel less trapped inside the room. If you love the dark colour and hate to lose it consider having an accent wall or maybe just incorporating it with a rug or throw pillows and a blanket or in the window treatments.

Form. What shape is the room and the furniture in it? Identify the architectural features of the room and work with them to create the best look for the room. Is the ceiling high? If so, then low furniture will increase the feeling of empty space above and might look out of proportion. Likewise a small bedroom with low ceilings will feel like it is crushing a canopy bed. Another example is my funny little living room. It’s got a peculiar shape and there is a wall that hides the stairs going up and down. It’s a rather irregular wall and is very noticeable. Really busy furniture with a lot of fussy angles is too distracting but my new couch is more modern and has nice straight lines and a sleek form that compliments the odd wall.

Breaking It Down by Principle: Design Principles Help You Analyze Your Rooms
Breaking It Down by Principle: Design Principles Help You Analyze Your Rooms

Line. I mentioned this above when discussing my new couch, but line is essential because it not only gives the room some movement, or eye candy, but it can also create moods that either compliment or fight against the colour selection. Advanced interior decorators can take the lines and use them to create a rhythm throughout the room. But establishing a feel for the lines of your room is the first step no matter what. Does your eye want to travel in a straight path, side to side or up and down? Or are you bouncing around, following curved furniture and jumping from bookcase up to artwork and then down to a coffee table? Adjust your lines to suit the room and the mood you are looking to invoke.

Mass. Some items appear really heavy and some seem very light. An eggplant coloured couch appears heavier than a peach coloured loveseat. But if the loveseat doubles as a pull out bed it’s probably quite a bit heavier than the couch. When considering mass in interior decorating you’ll want to put more emphasis on how heavy the object looks rather than its actual mass. You also have to consider any groupings you have. I have two tall bookcases in my living room and a television on a TV stand in between them. I used to have them all shoved together sort of like an entertainment center but the mass of this cluster made that corner of the room appear chunky and out of place. Now there is about two feet between each object and everything seems much more even.

Texture. This is one of my favorite elements of design. Texture and colour. Texture can create a visual response in the room’s inhabitants but its really good at creating a tactile response, something other elements cannot do as well. Which means you get to analyze and then explore both features of texture. First look at your room and see how the visual aspects of texture affect you. Then let your fingertips take a tour of the room. Or let your bottom do some exploring, how do your chairs feel when you sit in them. Is the couch fluffy and soft and you sink right into it or is it hard and firm and make you feel alert and energized.

A better understanding of the design principles of your room will help you fix the elements you don’t like and work with the ones you do to create the best look, and feel, for you.

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