PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN…
The designer works with the 4 tools or elements of
design: line, form, color, and texture. But now they
must follow the “RULES” about using those tools.
The rules are called the principles of design.
There are 5 principles
Harmony refers to the pleasing relationships among
the parts of a composition. Harmony is achieved
through similarity among all of the elements of
design… LINE, FORM, COLOR, AND TEXTURE.
The viewer will experience
a feeling of satisfaction
and agreement if harmony
has been achieved.
Unity is the bonding
together of all elements by
organization and balance.
Harmony and unity are
Horizontal line is used throughout the room, unifying it and
creating harmony. Notice the furniture lines, the stripes in the
bed linens, and the lines in the painting above the headboard.
Harmony is achieved
because the room is
unified by the color
scheme. The red, yellow,
blue, and green are
repeated in the crib
linens, the bumper pads,
the diaper holder, the
window valance, and the
The heavy textures of
the wicker furniture, the
ceiling boards, the
metal light fixture, the
plants, and the roll-up
shades pulls the room
together and creates
Curved forms are prevalent, showing up in the
upholstered furniture, the archway, the grand
piano, the coffee table, the lamp shade, and
the throw pillows. Those forms, throughout
the room, cause harmony in the room.
The opposite of harmony is
discord. A sense of discord
in a room might be created
by mixing too many lines,
forms, colors, and textures.
In this room, too many items
are crammed into too small
of space. Pictures take up too
much of the wall space
There is too much clutter.
Furniture styles do not
complement each other.
Knickknacks are too large.
A composition in which all
parts demand equal
attention from the viewer,
may be confusing or
lacking in interest.
Emphasis is the
which requires the
viewer to focus on
a given point or
Don’t ignore a great
view. Make sure you
set up your furniture
so you can take
advantage of it. It can
be your center of
interest… where you
put the emphasis.
Large pictures look best in the center of your primary wall - a wall that catches
the eye of someone entering the room.
Your painting looks best when it hangs at eye level (this is called museum
hanging), which means that the center of the canvas should be about 60" above
the floor (can be even lower when next to a seating area).
When you hang your painting over a couch or other large furniture piece, the
general rule is to allow 6" to 8" above the furniture, even if this is higher than 60
in your room
might be on a
piece of wall
Pictures on the wall are
a good center of
interest; a good place to
put visual focus.
A fireplace should always be the center
of attention in a room.
A sad statement about our American society… making a television
set the center of interest in a room. Here, the artwork is hung too
high to be the visual focal point, so the TV receives all the emphasis.
It is always a good idea to emphasize
the most pleasing items and to try to
disguise those not as pleasing.
Exposed pipes under a bathroom sink,
loose cords needed for computers in the
office area and appliances in the kitchen,
and a window with an unpleasant view are
challenges for the designer. You do not
want these areas to become a point of
Harmony & Emphasis project…
1. Using magazines or catalogs, find one picture of a full room that you
feel easily illustrates the two principles… harmony and emphasis.
2. Mount that picture on a piece of 8 x 10 paper, in a vertical or
horizontal position. You may mat the picture if desired.
3. Using a computer, add a typewritten
title, your name, and descriptions.
4. Describe the “point of emphasis” in
your room picture. Where is the
focus? Justify your answer.
5. Describe how “harmony” is achieved
in your picture. Which one(s) of the
elements is used to achieve the
harmony, and where is it repeated in
the room design to pull the room
HARMONY & EMPHASIS
IN INTERIOR DESIGN BY Your
Harmony: Harmony is achieved through line,
color, and texture. The curved line is repeated
in the archway, the wingback chairs, the top of
the firebox, and the small table. The neutral
colors are repeated in the furniture and walls.
The rough textures are evident in the stone
walls, the rough woods, and the stitching on the
The emphasis in
this room is on
The chairs are all
the hearth as a