The 6 Elements of Design: Space / Line / Form / Texture / Pattern / Color

June 5, 2014

It's been way too long since I've posted! I've been staying busy working two jobs. Now that I am officially part of the West Elm team in Costa Mesa, CA I can actually say I love my job. I'm en route to becoming a home stylist & just recently went through the first step in home stylist training. Just with this simple training I got to refresh my memory & learn more about the actual home stylist position. Even with my experience in the design field, I still have much to learn & I'm super excited. The first section we focused on was about the elements of design which is what I want to share with you - I think it's important for everyone to know & not only home stylists! Everyone can benefit their home by knowing some of the essentials. I am so happy that I started this journey & can't wait to see where it takes me :) Now the good stuff...

1. Space

Space is the whole area in which we live. With its length, width and height it defines boundries and it's up to us to know how to assess the space around us in order to create a space that works. The paint color in your space can make the biggest difference. 

Some helpful tips:
- To assess, properly measure including ceiling
- To make the space seem larger use soft, light and cool colors & keep 
the eye moving by using low contrast colors
- To make the space seem smaller use dark, warm colors & patterns

2. Line

Like stated above, it's important to keep the eye moving throughout a space. Always notice and ask questions about existing architectural lines - in most cases you will have to work around them and have them fit into your design. 

Whats good to know:
- Straight lines = more masculine
- Vertical lines = formality and dignity
- Horizontal lines = restful, relaxed and casual
- Diagonal lines = sense of drama
- Curved lines = add interest, considered softer and more feminine

3. Form

It's simple - the shape of an object is its form. Various forms in a room should be harmonious and consist of similar types of lines. In design, functionality is good interior design. Comfort shouldn't be sacrificed just to use a certain form. Take away message: if it's not functional it's not good interior design. 

Types of forms & what they mean:
- Rectangles = frequently dominant shape, maybe more
pleasing to the eye than squares
- Square = suggest a stable form
- Circle = unity, completeness
- Triangle = stable but dynamic

4. Texture

If you stuck to one type of surface or texture in a space it would be rather boring. 
Using different complementary textures will add interest to your space. 

How to know what textures to use:
- The heavier the fabric is the more casual. Think heavier,  rough surfaces 
and how they can absorb more sound than lighter fabrics.
- The smoother and shinier, the more formal the fabrics can be. They can appear 
to be lighter and a reflector of light around a space. 
- It's good to mix textures but you have to use the right balance

5. Pattern

Pattern gives life to pretty much any object it's on. Except it's important to remember scale when using pattern in your space. I always try to pair smaller patterns with larger ones and not too many. Using multiple patterns and texture can become a little overwhelming so balance is extremely important. 

- If you use a large pattern on a small object, the pattern will get lost (think
of a duvet with a large floral print, pairing that with another large floral print
would be too busy so think of pairing it with a larger stripe pillow and solid blanket)

6. Color

Color will set the mood for your entire space - understanding how color makes you
feel, the relationship between colors and the effect certain colors can have is important 
to understand which is why something as simple as picking a color
can be the hardest step to do. To find out more about the color wheel and
the relationships between colors check out my posts from a few months ago:
Color My World Part 1
Color My World Part 2

- The amount of area covered in a color has an effect on 
what the color looks like (the swatch may look different than when
painted on a large wall)
- Seeing the color in the same lighting that will be in the space
is a good way to see if you like it
- Dim lighting will reduce a colors value which will
diminish its hue while high lighting will intensify the value or wash the hue out

So there it is - one of the lessons I learned training wrapped up into one blog post! Probably one of the most informational posts I've done. Now when you go into a home furniture/decor store and even in your own home see if you can point out any of these elements of design because they really are all around us - see if they are used the way talked about here. I think all of these elements combined definitely set the stage for great interior design. Is there one element you try to focus on or feel is most important? I'd love to know :)


(Picture Sources: Pinterest)

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