How To Combine Color, Energy, and Nature To Create a Happy Home — Part 3

Part 3 – The Bathroom, Living Room, and Dining Room

The Bathroom

Color: Brown

Feng Shui dictates natures fundamental elements are balance in each room. Because the bathroom is dominated by the water element, a nice way to create energetic balance is to include earth elements. Accomplish this by including a variant of brown by way of paint, flooring, towels, or accessories.

Energy:  Reduce unpleasant energy in a bathroom by keeping the toilet lid shut when it’s not in use.

Nature: Aloe Vera is an ideal plant for a bathroom. It’s well known of its healing and restorative properties, and it requires minimal sunlight.

The Living Room

Color: Green encourages a sense of freshness, serenity, and recuperation which makes an excellent choice for a living room. It will make the space feel free of heavy sensations such as stress and fatigue so you can enjoy the company you’re in.

Energy: If you like the idea of the living room being low key, avoid the use of mirrors because they are associated with creating energy. Instead include soft textures because they help reduce strain on the nerves.

Nature: Reed and Areca Palms work well in living rooms because they are lively and grow well in low-lit rooms.

The Dining Room

Color: Red is a stimulating color that promotes social interaction, appetite, and alertness. These are ideal for a space where food and good company are enjoyed simultaneously.

Energy: This one is a no brainer in a dining room. The table is the center piece and the chairs are situated on the perimeter so that guests are all facing inward. It might also be advisable to keep peripheral furnishing to a minimum so that the focus remains on the center of the room.

Nature: Excessive plant life could make a dining room feel too busy. The best approach for including nature is at the dinner table through the use of a well designed centerpiece. It’s important for it to have a low profile so it doesn’t obstruct the view from across the table and make it difficult for people to converse. 

How To Combine Color, Energy, and Nature To Create a Happy Home — Part 2

Part 2 – The Bedroom and Office

The Bedroom

Color: Blue evokes serenity, reassurance, and calm. It’s been shown to help reduce blood pressure and heart rate.

Energy: Electronics and Bed Placement

Electronics are the most energy zapping things one can have in a bedroom. If possible eliminate them entirely. The light and frequency they emit can disturb sleep no matter how subtle or strong they are. Even the “battery charging” indicator on your phone can cause mental disruption. If you aren’t able to remove them from the room then make sure they are at least two feet away from the bed and turn off any that aren’t in use. For example, if you must have a television in the room, don’t fall asleep with it on. Watch your show, turn it off, and call it a night.

Feng Shui dictates that a bed should be placed diagonally across from the door, as well as allow for a clear view of the room and décor. 

Nature:  Lavender. The lavender plant is fragrant and colorful in a soft way. It is also effective for keeping the bedroom air fresh rather than stuffy.

The Office

Color: Purple is a bold color that stimulates creativity and evokes a sense of financial stability. This makes if perfect for a space that is focus creating the best version of talents and making money in the process.

Energy: Shape and Placement

In general stick to distinct lines and angular shapes in a place of work. They’ve been shown to increase productivity and reduce fatigue.

 Feng Shui dictates that a desk should face away from a wall because when it faces the wall they there is a negative effect on concentration levels and inspired thinking.

Nature: Plants that have simplistic designs and require very little care are ideal for an office. A work space is most comfortable if it feels like a “no fuss” area so plants that are delicate and require special attention would be distracting. Try a simple orchid.

Next read Part 3 – The Bathroom, Living Room, and Dining Room

Color Scheme — Black

Decorating your home with a focus on the color black is a sure way to add drama, sophistication, or a little edge to the design. It can also be a challenge because too much of it can be overwhelming, making a space feel too dark and closed in. Visit any design gallery or home furniture store and you are sure to find a million options in black, but the trick is to use it in smart measure.

The modern take on black is typically to make it the least prevalent color. In other words, use less black than any other color. Think of it as an accent color rather than a focus color. This is a great way to add emphasis to important features in a room. Make them black and they’ll stand out beautifully against the backdrop of the other colors in the room. Ready to get started? Enjoy our guide to the very best combos!  

  1. Black, White, Lime
  2. Black, Red, Purple
  3. Black, White, Tiffany Blue
  4. Black, Pink, Pale Pink, White, Grey
  5. Brown, Black, White, Kelly Green
  6. Classic Black & White

Once you’ve chosen the color scheme you like best be sure to make a list or sketch of the color layout of the room. Decide what will be black as opposed to the other colors you’re using. Switch it up until you’ve settled on a plan that ensures black will look its best. Don’t forget to consider electronics. Many of them are only sold in black!

Color Scheme — Gray

If there were a race to be the color of prevalence in home design in 2015 the clear winner would be gray! Visit any design gallery or home furniture store and you are sure to find oodles of items in gray. Not just furniture though! We’re seeing it in flooring and cabinetry too.

The challenge of incorporating gray into your home has to do with avoiding anything too dreary or institutional looking. If done wrong you might end up with a room that lacks a sense of energy or life. However, the modern take on decorating with gray relies on one simple difference. In 2015 gray is nearly always featured alongside a bold pop of color! It’s fresh, it’s fun, and it’s an entirely new way to do gray. Ready to get started? Enjoy our guide to the very best combos.

  1. Black, Gray, Cream Mustard
  2. Navy, Coral, Gray
  3. Gray, White, Pink
  4. Purple, Gray, Cream
  5. Beige, White, Gray
  6. Powder Blue, Pastel Pink, Lavender, Gray
  7. Gray, Cream, Mandarin Orange

Once you’ve chosen the color scheme you like best be sure to try it in various combinations before settling on one. For example, try gray in unexpected ways like artwork, lamps, and wood flooring! In all of these examples, however, the pop color is intended as an accent. So use it mainly on soft furnishings and accessories. 

The 60-30-10 Rule

When you set out to decorate your home it usually begins with a million and one ideas about what colors to use, all of which can overwhelm you and leave you feeling like you have too many to choose from. This can make deciding on your final color scheme seem like an impossible task but there are great tools you can use to narrow down your thoughts and inspiration and channel it into the design you envision.


There is a golden rule when it comes to decorating a room and it holds true for any room, no matter what. This is the 60-30-10 rule and this is a great way to begin organizing your ideas and color schemes. What the rule means is this—about 60% of the space you are decorating should be the dominant color. This means that the dominant color in your room will be the walls, and a general rule of thumb is to keep this dominant color a neutral color. This way if you decide to change color palette elsewhere in the room, the walls will always match.


The next 30% of your room should be your secondary color. This will account for much of your upholstery on your furniture. You can get a little more creative here, but it is a good idea to not stray too far from the neutral color family for the same reasons you want your walls to be neutral as well. It makes it easier to reinvent your color schemes down the road if you don’t have to repaint your walls or replace your furniture.


Finally, the last 10% will be your accent color. This ten percent is where you get to play with your color scheme. Add a pop of color with a bright area rug or a statement piece of art on your wall. Choose a color family and stick with that in your accents throughout the room. The colors do not have to match, but they should go. For instance, you might have artwork hanging that contains varying shades of the red family. You might then use a coral throw pillow on your couch to add another touch of color to your room.


This golden rule of interior design is a great rule of thumb for those who are starting from scratch decorating a room. It is a useful and easy to remember concept that helps regulate color schemes and results in a balanced result.

Color Pallet: Zebra Candy – Gray, Lavender, Plumberry, Onyx, Aqua

We love this look because it accomplishes something that’s quite challenging. It manages to look refined and classy while still being oodles of fun! The trick is balance! With too much of the fun stuff, such as the zebra pattern and the candy colors, the space would feel more like a teenager’s bedroom. With too much of the staid gray and traditional molding, the space would seem stuffy and boring. The lighthearted details would become irrelevant if they there less predominate amidst the gray. 

To help you accomplish this look we are going to break the elements of the room down in sections because it’s often easier to understand them that way. If you happen to be a novice, this approach will make learning our design a breeze! Just read the bullet points for each aspect of the décor and extract what works best for your personal vision.

The color pallet: Lavender, Light Steel Grey, Plumberry, Onyx, Pastel Aqua

What makes the colors work well together?

  • Plumberry and aqua are complimentary because the Plumberry has a red undertone and the aqua has a green under tone (red and green are complimentary.)
  • The lavender also hints at a Triadic color scheme. This is three colors on the color that coordinate nicely because they equally spaced apart on the wheel.
  • The onyx and light steel gray are a perfect base for the candy colors because they are bold and straightforward. Thus they don’t muddy the overall effect.

What makes it classy and refined?

  • Straight lines
  • Geometric shapes
  • Limited use of pattern
  • Simplicity
  • Fresh flowers
  • Traditional molding
  • The light steel gray

What makes the room fun and whimsical?

  • The zebra pattern
  • The spunky floral arrangement
  • The pop of candy colors

What makes the room glamorous?

  • The shiny, onyx furniture
  • The grand gray walls with detailed, traditional molding.

What gives the room some edge?

  • The shiny, onyx furniture with sharp corners

How To Use the Elements and Principles Of Design To Decorate Like An Interior Designer, Part 17

Part 17 Variety

Now that you discovered the importance of unity in Part 16, you can transition to the more exciting concept of variety. It is the absence of monotony or sameness. Variety serves well to make a room more engaging and stimulating. The degree of variety you want to include is typically dictated by your personal taste. Some people favor a simple design, others prefer something more varied, and some love a room full of unique features!

Take a look at the photo of the indoor/outdoor space. It is a great example of the middle road of variety. There’s enough to truly enjoy looking around the room, but the overall design of the room is still refined. Moreover this example stands out because it does not rely on color to break up any monotony. Color is an easy go-to, but sometimes it overwhelms the smaller details that keep things interesting. Here’s an easy reference list for the elements of the room that create variety:

  • Purpose – room’s door and window are open =an appreciation of the outdoors and fresh air; room is closed up = comfort of being protected from the elements while still enjoying the beauty that surrounds the room outside
  • Texture – wood, stone, fabric, glass, and plant life
  • Scale – massive glass doorway and tree; medium scale windows and couch; small tables, accessories, and plants
  • Light – natural light, table lamps, glass sconces, pedant fixture
  • Lines – angular = columns, windows, rug; curvilinear = sconces, furniture legs, coffee table, and arch

If you are a minimalist at heart, ensure your room wows your guests by incorporating a bit of variety. If you adore detail, take it further. Either way, enjoy the effectiveness of this technique!

Next read Part 18 – Harmony

Don’t forget to go back and start by reading Part 1

How To Use the Elements and Principles Of Design To Decorate Like An Interior Designer, Part 11

Part 11 Balance

Balance is a principle of design that is most readily apparent when it’s missing. Have you ever walked into a room and wondered why it seems like a hodgepodge of furniture rather than a complete room? That’s because there’s no sense of balance. Balance is the distribution of visual weight within a composition. For our purposes the composition is a room in your home. We are going to focus on the concept of symmetry to achieve the desired effect.

Formal symmetry is accomplished by creating a mirror image on either side of central axis. It typically also features a general emphasis of weight near the bottom of the composition. In the example above you’ll note that on either side of the bed are identical mirrors, lamps, and night stands. Between them, functioning as the centralizing point is a large chandelier that hangs low enough to establish balance.

This room also includes the concept of radial symmetry. The chandelier is surrounded on all sides by a white ceiling medallion. In other words, it has a central point from which its design radiates, extends, or spreads like rays from a center. It is especially effective for establishing a sense of balance in a large room!

Another method to accomplish balance is informal symmetry. It is not a mirror image, but it is the equivalent in visual weight. Take a look at the photo above. Despite unique and distinctly different furnishings the room feels balanced. The central aspects are the couch and coffee table. They are evenly flanked by a love seat on the left, and two chairs on the right that. This is classified as informal because the chairs and love seat aren’t identical pieces but are just as effective at stabilizing the room.

The area-rug helps further unify the space because it is independently symmetrical. Last, notice the unusual arrangement of the framed artwork. Hanging them with a right side orientation ensures that the left side of the room seems part of the entire composition. If the framed artwork were hung symmetrically above the couch, the left side of the wall would seem like a separate area. This is the use of balance to make a room seem larger and maximize all available space.

Next read Part 12 – Rhythm

Don’t forget to go back and start by reading Part 1

How To Use the Elements and Principles Of Design To Decorate Like An Interior Designer, Part 8

Part 8 Time

This particular principal of design may come as big surprise. However, it’s a critical component of decorating a room, because its effect is inevitable. Think about it. At any given time of day or year a room can transform and be quite different. Let’s examine.

You inhabit certain rooms in the house according to what time of day it is. Thus, light becomes an element of time in design. How does this effect decorating decisions? Many ways, but one of the most influenced factors is color.

Let’s say your bedroom is painted lavender. In the early morning it will have a softer tonality, diffused by the pristine, crisp morning light. By midday the light is perhaps a bit too harsh because bedrooms don’t generally feature excessive direct daylight, and this makes the lavender less appealing. You can control that element of time by installing sheers and possibly leaving them drawn through the rest of the afternoon!

Another way that time relates to a room is with regard to season. When designing you home it’s fun and effective to consider what a room will look like in any given season where you live. Maybe when it’s cold outside you just want to stay in bed, and so choose soft, warm furnishing. Perhaps when it’s warm you can’t wait to leap out of bed a go outside. Time to change the linens and textiles to something that feels cool and fresh! 

You should also consider long periods of time in your home such as months and years. Look at the photo above. One of the most beautiful attributes of real wood is that it gains character over the years. If you wish to preserve the original color as much as possible you can install drapes to completely protect it from the sun. But you’d be sitting in a dark room most of the time so it needs to be the right space for that. On the other hand, wood responds beautifully to natural light by slowly changing in color over time. Another time focused feature of the room is the fireplace. It’s merely a fixture when no fire is lit, but when there’s a fire burning it becomes a fabulous focal point. If it’s using during cold weather its role in the room is once again changed by time, because the fire is there for more than just beauty. It’s there to keep you warm!

Next read Part 9 – Color

Don’t forget to go back and start by reading Part 1 

How To Use the Elements and Principles Of Design To Decorate Like An Interior Designer, Part 7

Part 7 Pattern

We know, we know! Pattern is one of the toughest elements to incorporate into decorating. There are so many choices that picking just one is a huge task. Forget mixing them! Who knows how to do that without creating a circus atmosphere? Well, actually, you! Simply follow these basic guidelines to get a grip on pattern.

As with our previous posts, let’s start once again with the definition of the word pattern. As it relates to interior decorating, pattern represents a change of shape or organized set of shapes wherein the parts of the series mimic the original in one or more attributes. Pattern is also predictable by nature, though it usually appears periodically in a room rather than throughout. When used properly it’s also proportionate to the other elements of design in the room.

So, what exactly does all of that mean? Let’s break it down. The fact that it mimics itself is obvious, but have you ever given thought to the fact that it evokes a sense of predictability? This is sometimes very effective for establishing a sense of continuity in a room. When complimentary elements of design like furnishings and textiles are combined, it creates a relationship between separate parts. When your surround it all with pattern, though, the room has a feeling of completeness because it’s as if it’s encased. The mind can settle into the oneness of the space by relying on the sense of predictability that causes us to feel as if all things important have been considered.

 For it to be executed expertly, however, pattern must be proportionate to everything else. One way to accomplish this is to use it periodically, for example, featuring a pattern on just three walls. Then, perpetuate the effect by incorporating additional patterns that coordinate. To do so you can use similar colors and/or smaller or larger versions related to the main pattern. This way they won’t compete with each other. Notice in the example photo that the three patterns are all a different scale. The floor is a large scale checker pattern, the wallpaper is a medium scale stripe pattern, and the pillows are a small scale geometrical patter. The harmony is completed by a consistent shade of green throughout!

Next read Part 8 – Time

Don’t forget to go back and start reading with Part 1