Elements and principles of design

Elements of Design

The elements of design are: space, line, shape, color, light, texture and pattern. Space refers to the volume of the room that you have to work with, not just the floor space, but also the height of the ceilings.

Line is the visual nature of the elements working within the space and design. Lines can be vertical which creates feelings of grandeur and formality.

Or horizontal which generally suggests a more relaxed, informal nature.

Diagonal lines create movement and direction and too many can create feelings of unrest.

Whereas curved lines are more organic and can soften a design.

Shape really refers to the architectural style of the room, i.e. beams, windows, trim etc. And also the shape of the objects within it.

Color, an obvious one, is the colors used in the design. However what is not so obvious, is that without light, there is no color. These two elements play hand in hand each affecting the other, and so must be considered together.

Light can also be used to highlight features in a room, and can have a dramatic impact on a design. This is one area, where I feel I haven’t really paid much attention in the past, so I’m eager to learn how I can consider lighting more in my future designs.

The objects you choose in your design have not only color and shape, but also texture and this can say a lot about a room, and add a lot of interest.

And finally pattern, this element can again be used to add real interest to a room and take it from mundane to beautiful.

Principles of Design

The principles of design being: balance, rhythm and repetition, emphasis, proportion and scale, and the end result being harmony. Balance looks at whether a room is structured asymmetrically or symmetrically to create either a more informal or formal setting.

Rhythm and repetition is formed through the use of line, form color or texture being repeated throughout a room to create a flow for the eye and visually cohesive design.

Emphasis is provided by a focal point in the room.

Proportion and scale is relative to the object or room that the object is compared with.

And harmony is the end result of all of the elements and principles of design working well together in a harmonious design.


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