I majored in Interior Design in college. It was the only thing I wanted to study. As a young girl I used to pour over the house magazines and tear out pictures of my favorite rooms. My mother was artistic and arranging flowers and putting colors together came naturally to her. Sadly, her mother died young - before I was born. From the stories I heard about my grandmother, I think that is where the artistic abilities came from. We had a joke in our Hoffmann house after I married that the artistic trend came from my family, the Stuarts. My son who is now the actor (see side bar) announced in kindergarten during Show and Tell, “I’m artistic. I’m a Stuart!
There used to be definite design rules - all woods in the room must match; arrangements will be symmetrical; all the furniture styles in the house must be the same. In today’s design world those comforting rules are out the window and anything goes. The goal is to have a room and house that pleases those who live in it. Maybe it is more difficult to have no hard and fast rules to abide by, but there are still some guidelines.
Proportion - the relationship of parts or objects to one another based on size.
Balance - the arrangement of things in the room to create an even feel. If things are not balanced you may feel uncomfortable in the room but not realize why. The balance may be symmetrical or asymmetrical.
Rhythm - repetition creates rhythm. It may be repetition of color, shape, texture or theme.
Contrast - can be used to create interest.
Harmony - when these guidelines are followed, the resulting room will be harmonious. The furnishings and decorative elements will relate to each other.
Focus - this one I added. Usually when you walk into a room there is a dominant element that your eye goes to - a brightly colored sofa, a large piece of art, a fireplace, an indoor tree, a picture window. Then as you take in the rest of the room, the rhythm keeps your eyes moving around the room.
Which of the guidelines do you think were used in this room? My eye goes to the window and sofa as the focus. The next thing I see is the rhythm created by the print lamp shades and the print pillows. The room is balanced and harmonious. Certainly everything is in proportion. You could say the darkness of the furniture is the contrast. Eventually these guidelines become instinct.