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!