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Seven Elements of Decorating

Balance is vital in decorating a home.  Ever walked into a room that looks pleasing but something is throwing it out.  Look closely and you may find that everything is at the same level, or that it is too busy - patterned curtains, patterned sofas and a bold carpet. Taken separately, each is beautiful but when put together the whole does not work.  

When decorating a home you need to understand the space you are in and whether your furniture will work within this space.  There are seven elements that comprise the tangibles of a visually pleasing room and if you use these elements as a guide, the results will be spectacular.



Space is a simple element to understand. Space speaks to the physical boundaries of a room. Unless you are building your own home you do not determine the dimensions of a room. Therefore you must find a way to use existing space to your advantage.

Space gives you limits of how much you can place in a room. If your room is small, don’t overcrowd it with furniture and accessories. If your room is large, don’t skimp on furnishings.




The element of texture is defined as “the feel, appearance, or consistency of a surface.” It can refer to rough or smooth finishes, glossy or dull surfaces and soft or coarse textiles.  

Texture can be used to enhance a room’s features or provide added dimension. In a small, dark room, furnishings with smooth, shiny finishes will impart a reflective quality and give the space a sense of natural light. Conversely, in a bright, large room, rough textures will help balance the excess of natural light.

Texture can best be defined in a monochromatic room. In this context "colour" is created or defined by using different textures.  



Light goes hand in hand with texture. It is also closely associated with colour. Without a light source, colour does not exist. Light sets the mood in a room. Subdued lighting imparts a cosy, romantic feel. Rooms bathed in natural light feel airy and cheerful.

Light also plays a functional role in interior design. It is used to illuminate work or reading areas, and to emphasise certain objects in a room, such as art.



Along with light, colour is the key element of interior design. It is used to create aesthetically pleasing combinations and also works on a psychological level. It is said that the colour red stimulates the appetite. For this reason, it is often used in dining rooms.  In Feng Shui red signifies fame and a beautiful red flowering bush near the front door is a great invitation to your personal or business space. Yellow is a reflective colour and is the perfect colour for an entrance hall or area which does not have much natural light. It is a colour that will lift your spirits. Green and blue are restful colours, and so it goes.




The element of pattern works in conjunction with colour. It is used in interior design to add life and interest to the furnishings in a room. It works like texture to provide interest to surfaces. Patterns are created by using repetitive designs in fabrics, rugs, paint techniques and wallpaper. Just think how dull a room would be without pattern!  Be careful that you do not over clutter with pattern though.  It constitutes just 2%.  Pattern should be used carefully.






When discussing line as it applies to interior design, we mean the lines created by the furnishings and architecture of a room. Line sets form and shape. Line is responsible for harmony, contrast and unity in interior design. This element signifies movement and guides the eye through a room. Line encompasses both curved and straight planes.

Horizontal lines are most often found in furniture such as tables, chair backs, bookshelves and media centers. They play an important role in interior design by balancing vertical lines in a space. Look around your house for examples of vertical lines. They're everywhere. Windows, curtains, doorways, columns and tall furniture pieces all add to the illusion of height in your home.   

The dynamic nature of diagonal lines creates drama and movement in room. Curved lines are found in furniture, windows and arched doorways. Feminine curves serve to unite and soften horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines in design.  



The term form is used interchangeably with shape. It is a close relative to line, in that it produces distinct effects by using the principles of interior design. For example, a long dining room table in a rectangular room creates a sense of harmony. Add a series of round pendant lights above the table and you have achieved contrast and a sense of balance.


A perfect example of form.

Source: jinkazamah, CC BY 2.0 via flickr





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