Playing With Blocks
Submitted by Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; CMG
It’s been a while since we’ve dug into some basic interior design theory, and the discovery of a new floor covering line prompted me to do just that. Many of you are unofficial students of interior design. So having a working knowledge of the never-changing elements of a well-built design can help you develop your own personal style AND stay on a directed path.
Think of the Elements of design as true building blocks. They never change, but the products with which you accomplish them will. It’s important to be sure every room has a good balance of each of the eight building blocks: line, form, shape, space, light, color, pattern, and texture. If you are heavy handed in any one of these elements, it will be very evident as the room will simply “feel” wrong. Have you ever been in a home where every square inch of floor space, wall space, and surface space was decorated? If you have, then you know the character of the room was claustrophobic and just too busy. Rooms like that make occupants feel anxious or restless and the only way to solve the problem is to simplify!!!
Less is more when it comes to good interior design (are you sick of hearing me say that?) By removing layers of “things”--accessories are usually the biggest culprit--and scaling down furnishings to only what is needed, you have the opportunity to capitalize on making the Elements the true features. Line, form and shape become artistic tools and bring fluid movement to the room as the eye is naturally led to follow these.
Space and light are the next two important elements to consider. If a room has forever-closed shutters, draperies, or blinds at the windows, you are doing yourself a design disservice. I’m not saying that you have to flood your rooms with light, but a natural light source is critical to the breathability of a room design. Space expands visually when the lighting is good and these two elements work hand-in-hand to open up a space. Don’t forget, you can also introduce “light” into a dark room with creative paint selections. Light colors visually expand space and dark paint choices will absorb light and give a cozier ambience to larger rooms.
The last two “building blocks” of design are pattern and texture. Think of these as the signature decoration on an exquisite wedding cake. The cake may be quite beautiful with its three or four tiers and smooth fondant frosting, but until you’ve added some visual interest, it’s not done. Pattern and texture allow you to express your creativity in very individual ways and complete your room design successfully. This is where floor coverings truly come into play. Think of the choices you have today! There is a constellation of options.
For example, hardwood floors with their natural grain and enhanced surface textures can transform a room. This is one way to build in memorable character through texture. Don’t forget that Luxury Vinyl Tile can simulate real wood exquisitely too. Ceramic tile can introduce pattern and texture simultaneously and has become the leading choice for stunning kitchens and bathrooms. Let’s not forget about carpet. You have to be impressed with how far carpet has come over the last decade in terms of style, aesthetics and function. Residential carpets now offer woven patterns that add just the right dose of pattern to fulfill that necessary Element. If you’ve already introduced pattern through other elements in the room, then carpet can subtly underscore what you’ve done and become your “texture” ingredient. Texture can be smooth (velvet Saxony carpets) or high-profile (friezes, cut/loops, berbers, shags). The final touch to completing the frosting on your cake is to add—in small doses-- artwork, minimal accessories, or area rugs to finish the room.
Once you have the building blocks mastered, there is no stopping you. As you become attentive to the all important “eight”, your rooms will take on a sophistication they’ve never had before. Now go play with your blocks….
(Be sure to read my next FloorTalk blog for an innovative new floor covering that addresses line, form and shape in an eye-popping way…)