Interior Design Principles: Rhythm

3 Nov

Good example for the use of repetition and contrast

In Interior Design rhythm is all about visual pattern repetition. It is defined as continuity, recurrence or organized movement. To achieve these themes in a design, you can use repetition of  lines, forms, colours or textures. Rhythm can also be created by progression, transition or contrast. Using these tools will impart a sense of movement to your space, leading the eye from one design element to another.

Repetition is the use of the same element more than once throughout the space. It can be a pattern, colour, texture, line, or any other element. Too much repetition unrelieved by contrast of some sort leads to monotony and too little repetition leads to confusion.


Example for Progression, where the eye is drawn up the stairs by increasing the height of the print collection on the wall


Progression is taking an element and increasing or decreasing one or more of its qualities. The most obvious implementation of this would be a gradation by size. A collection of vases of varying sizes on a sideboard creates interest, because of the natural progression shown. Progression can also be achieved through the order of  similar artworks increasing in height along a staircase, leading the eye to the next level, or via colour, such as a monochromatic colour scheme, where each element is a slightly different shade of the same hue.

Transition is a bit harder to define. It tends to be a smoother flow, where the eye naturally glides from one area to another. The most common transition is the use of a curved line to gently lead the eye, such as a spiral staircase or an arched doorway.

Contrast is easy to achieve by putting two elements in opposition to one another, such as a white and black pillow on a bed. Opposition can also be implied by contrast in form, such as circles and squares together or through a mix of contemporary with antique, modern paintings in a traditional room, mismatching chairs at a solid table and so on. Contrast helps to enliven a space and create interest and individuality, but it needs to be used according to the style and theme and with restraint, or it may lead to confusion.

Example for Transition, where the eye naturally follows the curved lines


Personal Note: “In my next interior blog I will write about “Proportion”.

My Kids Art & Craft Classes are in full swing.  Every Tuesday and Thursday after school I teach children how to prepare for Christmas by making their own Advent calendars, Christmas Cards, Angels, Christmas Stockings, handcrafted tree ornaments made of beads, felt, paper and fabrics, Christmas card garlands,  and so on.  We have lots of fun! I will share some easy to follow projects with you later on. Why not make it a fun weekend with your kids?   

 So, stay tuned and have a happy and wonderful day!”   Beate

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