How To Use the Elements and Principals Of Design To Decorate Like An Interior Designer, Part 6

Part 6 — Texture

Once you’ve determined concepts such as form and shape, as mentioned in Parts 4 & 5, it’s time to add elements that appeal to our tactile senses. Texture in design is defined as the characteristic physical structure given to a material or object, also known as the visual quality of a surface.

In simpler terms, it’s the way we imagine something feels just by looking at it; as well as the experience of actually feeling it, such a fuzzy rug under your feet. Furthermore, it helps draw the room out of 2D into 3D because the human eye equates texture with depth. Texture is possibly the most sensory experience in a well decorated room, yet it is also one of the most overlooked elements of decor.

The room in this photo is a superb example of texture. Let’s explore all that’s going on here. It could be argued that the metal surfaces are the first to demand your attention. Yet, there is something also very appealing about the plush blanket. This is one of the most enjoyable aspects of textures. They play very well off of each other.

In this case the bronze gleams, conveying elegance and a resistance to touch because one doesn’t dare smudge it with finger prints. Conversely, the fleece blanket is inviting and provides the much needed element of comfort that is so important in a place of rest. The headboard appears to be vinyl, a unique material not often found in most homes. In this room it works well because it actually increases the formality of the room.

You might be curious about how it feels, but not quick to test it out if it’s not your room. Whereas, the pillows encourage one to lie down and stay awhile. Last, consider the effect of the flooring. Notice that the designer chose carpet which maintains an air of cozy comfort in the room, and again gives balance to the harder surfaces.

Isn’t amazing how much can be accomplished with texture? Don’t make the mistake of a lot of homeowners by overlooking it. It’s not only incredibly effective, it’s an element that truly transforms a room from “furnished” to “fabulous!”

Next read Part 7 – Pattern

Don’t forget to go back and read Parts 1 – 5

How To Use the Elements and Principles Of Design To Decorate Like An Interior Designer, Part 5

Part 5 — Shape

Now is a good time to move on to the concept of shape. While it is certainly a part of form, the topic of Part 3, it is still a specific and separate consideration. Shape, formally defined for design purposes, involves contour or outlines. It’s two dimensional. There five basic shapes: circle, cross, spiral, square, and triangle. These can be used in a literal two dimensional sense, wherein they are represented as outlines. Or, they are conveyed in combination with form.

More often than not, the shapes in a room will vary, but if you opt to use only one or two repeatedly they offer the opportunity to set the tone of a room. The example above highlights this effect. There are only two basic shapes – square and rectangle. (Setting aside for a moment the outline of the lamp.) Using just two basic shapes, especially angular ones, gives the room a feel of simplicity.

Due to the fact that squares and rectangles could be considered sensible and predictable, they convey the same idea. The result is a space that appears no-nonsense. This would work perfectly in a room that you inhabit when you need to decompress. This is why some people opt for minimalist bedrooms! 

 

Now let’s take a look at a room with multiple shapes, such as in the photo above. Included are rectangles (table, couch,) circles (lamps,) squares (window panes, pillows,) zig-zags (wallpaper,) and a hint at a cylinder (plate.) Two excellent effects are accomplished.

First, the room is very interesting visually, without being busy; a true feat in decorating because it’s rare that décor appears complex without the liberal use of detail. Second, the shapes play quite well to the features of the irregular forms in the room.

The contours of the chair, vases, and bottles are highlighted when juxtaposed with the simple shapes. There are myriad translations for using shape to enhance a room, but we recommend that it be strongly considered in spaces where the desired effect is whimsy, cute, or quirky!

How To Use the Elements and Principals Of Design To Decorate Like An Interior Designer, Part 4

Part 4 — Form

In parts 1-3 of this series we covered the idea of space, as well as how to use line to guide guest’s eyes and/or set the tone of a room. Moving along, let’s now discuss the idea of form.

Form transform space into a back drop and it gives line a purpose. With regard to decorating your home, form is anything that has solid mass and can theoretically be viewed from any angle. If the form is especially impressive or remarkable, it is also defined as having a sculptural quality. 

This baroque inspired table is a fantastic representation of form. From every angle it draws your attention, and if you like it, your admiration. As you can see, a design element with a sculptural quality is ideal for making a statement. It’s the sort of thing that makes you say “Wow, look at THAT!”

You can use this to your advantage in two different ways. If you want the room to feel well designed yet refined, opt to use only a few objects with exceptional form. If you want the room to feel decadent throughout, go wild with form and fill the room with it! A point of reference might be the home of a historically royal family. In that case, don’t forget to serve cake!  

Another way to employ form to influence the design of your room is to utilize it as means of controlling visual weight. We’ll cover the concept of balance in a later post in this series, but let’s also consider it here. As mentioned, form has mass, and the brain recognizes mass by automatically assigning it a visual weight.

Imagine instead ornate yet light chairs. They have a beautiful sculptural form that encourages the viewer to linger awhile and take in all of the nuances. But, they register in the mind as still light and airy. As opposed to the table example – it reads very heavy. Thus, form also influences the feel of a room and whether or not it’s formal or cozy.

Next time you’re shopping for furnishings, keep form in mind and choose those that meet your decorating goals. Delicate forms are typically for admiring, whereas solid forms convey stability and comfort.

Next read Part 5 – Shape

Don’t forget to go back and read Parts 1 – 4 

How To Use the Elements and Principals Of Design To Decorate Like An Interior Designer, Part 3

Part 3 – LINE

Now that you have a fresh perspective on space, let’s discuss line. In home design the concept of line is very important because it accomplishes a great deal. For instance, it can provide a sense of order if it’s linear and consistent. It can also create an enormous sense of activity if it zigs and zags without rhyme or reason. Basically, line always denotes movement. So it’s a really helpful idea to understand when you want to guide guest’s eyes around the room. Conversely, it also serves well when you want to create separation or a boundary. 

So what does all of that really mean? Imagine an image of four frames hanging in a row. They are an example of what is called an implied line. There isn’t actually a visible line, but the human eye naturally reads from one end of something the other. If you were looking at these pictures, you’d look first at the image on left , and then your eye would travel to the right and stop to look at each image before moving on to the next. In effect, you just visually followed a line.

Another instance in which line is very effective is with the use of primarily horizontal lines. These simple, straight lines are easy for the mind to absorb. They are often calm and relaxing as well. They are very appealing to the left side of the brain and encourage linear thinking. The result can be a room that feels organized and practical, making it a great place to clear your mind.

For example, it would serve well in a meditation room.  But, it’s also a perfect place to encourage your mind to focus and work. What better place for that than a home office? In the example above, even the light fixtures include a horizontal line – an implied one as previously mentioned. Straight simple lines are most popular in what is considered modern décor. If you’re a minimalist, these are your kind of lines.

Now that you have an idea of how line works in a room, explore the options. Vertical lines, curvilinear lines, and so forth!

Next read Part 4 – Form

Don’t forget go back and read Parts 1 & 2 as well!

How To Use the Elements and Principles Of Design To Decorate Like An Interior Designer, Part 2

Part 2 – SPACE

Let’s begin with the concept of space. After all, it’s the container for everything else you want to accomplish in the room. Its definition, as it applies to your home, is a design element consisting of a continuous expanse of distance, extending in all directions.

The reason for stating the actual definition is that it’s a great way to begin to see space in new ways. For instance, there might be areas in your home that seem pointless because you associate them with a mundane activity such as walking from one room into another. Upon taking a second look, though, you realize that it’s actually a blank slate for something spectacular. 

Take for instance this marvelous spiral staircase. It’s an excellent example of how to turn something functional into something fantastic by rethinking space. Sure, you could simply rely on a standard case of stairs; offset on one side of the elevated loft area so you can get from the bottom floor to the top. But, wait! That open space actually has massive potential because it is what is known as transitional or intermediate space. 

Now let’s consider something called interlaced space. This occurs when a design element in the room creates a connection between two separate spaces. In our example, the kitchen island is the key element. On one side there is presumably a kitchen. On the other side is a formal dining area that the home owner has decided to leave open. To the left is a living area with fireplace.

From a functional perspective the room makes sense. There are independent areas assigned to various common household activities. Now, imagine it without the kitchen island. Would you feel at home in a cozy way? Not likely, because the areas would seem disparate and without relationship. The kitchen island is thus the most important feature because it interlaces everything that surrounds it!

There are endless examples as far a space in concerned, but what’s most important is for you to understand a new way to think about the room you inhabit. Is there a small, nondescript space that could be turned into nifty niche? We bet there is!

Go back and read Part 1 – Intro

Next read Part 3 – Line

How To Use the Elements and Principles of Design to Decorate Like an Interior Designer

Part 1: Intro

The scene: You, standing inside a fabulous model home with your mouth agape. This particular home happens to be the third you’ve seen on a walking tour of some of the most beautiful homes in the region where you live. At the first house you found yourself innocently admiring everything. “Oh, isn’t this lovely!” At the second home you found yourself absorbing the immense creativity that was required. “Wow, this is really impressive. Like, really, really impressive!” By the time you reached the third house you’re in full blown wonderment, accompanied by a sense of dismay because you are certain you’d never be able to accomplish anything like it. “How do they do it,” you think. “HOW IN THE WORLD DO THESE DESIGNERS PULL THIS OFF? IT’S INCREDIBLE!”

Then you go home and wish for the lifestyle of the rich and famous just so you can hire an interior design magician! “Wouldn’t it be marvelous?” you say to yourself. “Positively dreamy!”  

While you may never be a professional interior designer, unless you go to school, there is hope. There exists a set of elements and principles of design that guide any skillful designer. Yet, they don’t necessarily rely on innate creativity, so even if you consider yourself a bit lean in the area of artistic inspiration, you can apply these fundamentals. They’re not terribly difficult to learn either. It may take you some time to master them as a whole, but little by little you could certainly create a knowledge base that would elevate you from, “My house looks like I just moved in and I’ve been here three years,” to “Gee, this looks pretty darn good if I do say so myself!”

If you’re tired of dreaming and ready to start doing, grab a pen and paper, get comfortable, and prepare to take notes! We aren’t going to turn you into and interior designer, but we’ll help you get by until you have an opportunity to work with one. Which we highly recommend! The depth and scope of their knowledge is marvelous.

Next read Part 2 – Space

The Holiday Season!

Love, joy, and peace to you this happy holiday season!

Make Your Own Mug Cakes

If you’re in the mood for something a little sweet, but don’t want to go through the trouble of making a complete cake just for yourself, consider whipping up a mug cake. Just like it sounds these fast cakes are made right inside your coffee mug, so they’re just the right size for one person to eat. Best of all, they take just minutes and cook up inside your microwave, so you don’t need to mess around with mixing bowls, pans, and oven timers just to enjoy a few bites of warm, delicious cake.

How to Make Mug Cake

This cake is so easy to make, you’ll want to make one every day of the week.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup or chocolate spread

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a 14 ounce mug.
  2. Carefully add the milk and vegetable oil and stir to combine.
  3. Take a spoonful of chocolate syrup or your favorite chocolate spread and scrape it into the center of the cup so that the batter covers the top of it completely.
  4. Set your mug in the center of your microwave on top of a plate or paper towel in case some of the batter spills out while cooking.
  5. Microwave on high for roughly one minute and ten seconds. Keep in mind that microwaves  do vary, so you may need to experiment with the timing using your microwave.

Take your cake out of the microwave and let it cool for a few minutes before eating it. The chocolate spread in the center will keep your cake moist and delicious, with a thick, gooey center. The rest of the cake should firm up perfectly to a delicious chocolaty bite that is sure to eliminate any and all chocolate cravings you may be having.

The next time a chocolate cake craving hits you, try a mug cake on for size and see if it hits the spot.

Thanksgiving Wrap Up

Here is a quick look at a few of our past Thanksgiving posts!  You’ll find decorative china patterns, how to prepare for hosting guest, how to prepare your floors for these guests, and the best ways to remove gravy stains from your carpet!