Subtle design elements can be surprisingly impactful, but are sometimes overlooked. Use the fundamentals of space, light, line, texture, and print/pattern as a foundation in designing five-star style.
Well-played color palettes and custom decor may be eye-catching, but negative space should not be underestimated in a design. Blank space void of art, furniture, and stuff is an equally valuable design feature. Openness in a room evokes calmness and emphasizes the physical elements present. Be intentional when planning negative space, using empty space as an opportunity to spotlight other features in a room.
Negative Space — not all shelves/glass front cabinets need content.
Lighting is one of the most basic and important design elements, yet homes are often over or under-lit. Bad lighting washes out otherwise good design. Be mindful of both natural light and installed lighting, especially when making color choices. Color tones can change drastically in different light, so it is always a good idea to test your color palette from sun up to sun down before committing.
Lighting — large windows=natural light, overhead lighting, and mirror to bounce light around room
Specific line use creates unique visual interest. Horizontal lines seemingly enlarge a space, making rooms feel wider or longer. Vertical lines offer the opposite experience, lengthening a space to feel higher or taller. Diagonal and zigzag lines produce energy and excitement, while curved lines are more organic, providing a soft balance. Recurring line-type creates a clean and desirable design. Matching the horizontal line of a sofa back with a landscape art feature above, is a classic example of line guiding good design.
Line Repetition — horizontal line in blinds, crib w/ art above, horizontal stripe wallcovering
Print and Pattern
Pattern is one of the most powerful design tools, capable of creating energy from dramatic to tranquil. Color choices, shapes, and textures all reflect different emotions. Bold polka dot prints can put one in a playful mood while simpler solid patterns may relax a busy mind. Repetition in pattern is a purposeful and attractive design decision. For instance, matching the vertical lines of staircase balusters with similar stripe-like throw pillows or window treatments illustrates design cohesiveness.
Texture plays an important role in making a space feel natural and satisfying. Balancing hard textures like wood, concrete, glass, metal, and marble with soft textures like silk, leather, fur, and sheer inspires a sense of touch. Contrasting textures keep the eye moving and make each design piece stand out individually.
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