Jessica's Tips on the Elements and Principals of Design
Style at Home Magazine
Elements and principles of design are taught to visual artists, graphic artists, interior designers and decorators- they are basically the building blocks used to create a work of art or a space and how we apply them.
This space we featured in the magazine designed by Laurie Felesky & Kathy Besse really illustrates how we can apply these elements and principles of design to great effect in our homes to create that pulled together and decorated look we crave.
Shape is key to furniture selection and space planning. A round dining table perfectly complements the size and shape of the square room- a rectangular table would have felt too squished. When you’re out shopping for tables, remember that a curved shape will allow more movement around it, which is especially great for small spaces. Straight corners cut off flow, while rounded corners allow easy pathways around them.
This image also conveys another principle: repetition, which is key to a successful interior. Bring in lots of curved and rounded edges: a demi-lune console, round dining table, curved back chairs, a chandelier- repeating a design element makes a space strong and provides harmony. Layered area carpets can make a statement.
Colour really changes the mood of a room. In a mainly neutral background, the rare moments of colour really pop and adds a sense of fun and playfulness.
It’s a great lesson in how to introduce colour to your space if you’re colour-phobic. Things like a purple tray, pink and blue florals and multicoloured book give the impression of colour, but are all temporary. They are great gateways to colour in this room without having to commit to upholstery or paint colours.
Line is exactly what it sounds like- it’s the lines or visual planes we see when we’re in a room. The installation pattern of the tiles on the fireplace are a use of line, which is great to consider whenever deciding how to install tiles. A vertical stack will always look more modern, while a brick-pattern which staggers the tiles at different starting points, looks more traditional.
A variety of textures makes a room dynamic and interesting. The sofa is slipcovered in a sturdy cotton, but there is an interesting mix of fabrics used on the toss cushions, such as a chunky knit and slippery silk which are not only fun to touch and feel but interesting to look at too. There are also a variety of finishes, such as the brass accent tables, glass coffee table, wood frame chairs- it keeps the eye moving and engaged so the space doesn’t fall flat.
Contrast has been used in this space to show us how to create a focal point.
The soft shell of the room with it’s dusky dove grey paint is juxtaposed with the bright sky blue of the artwork, drawing your eye to it immediately and commanding attention. Every room should have a focal point, whether it¹s your fireplace or a fabulous piece of art, to ground a space.
Pattern heightens the impact of a room and keeps the eye engaged. When you’re selecting fabrics, cushions and rugs, try to fit in at least 1 or 2 to keep your space from falling flat. Mixing up the scale of the patterns can help stop patterns from competing with one another and keep the space from feeling too overwhelmed.