Shaping your Home into a pleasant Experience

At the recent Grand Design Live show in London, three interior designers were asked to create rooms based on three basic design principles, namely function, mood and personality.Using only materials and products available to the general public in either British stores or online, each one of the designers came up with a stunning result.

To understand why these rooms were so gorgeous – and why most projects undertaken by interior designers look exquisite – it is elemental to know that interior design is not just a matter of decorating rooms nicely. In essence, interior design is not just a surface treatment, but an effort to shape spaces by manipulating spatial volume through drawing on aspects of architecture, environmental and colour psychology, product design and traditional decoration.

eicó investigated to determine exactly what this means. The fact is, most interior designers work with a set of key principles. Knowing these principles and using them when planning how to decorate your home will help you to create spaces that look as though they were designed by professionals. Let’s take a look at these principles.

Pleasant experience colour schemeHarmony and Unity – The basic idea here is to think of your home as a whole – a selection of related spaces linked by halls and stairs. As such, it is recommended to have a common theme and style run throughout the entire abode. This does not mean every room should contain the same design elements. What it does mean is that all spaces should complement each other and work together as a whole. A good way to achieve this is to carefully pick a set of three or four colours and use varying shades of them throughout your home.

A fine example of colours that will go extremely well together was shown in the June 2013 issue of Period Ideas. This magazine suggested using some of eicó’s colours – Apple, Budapest, Fired Clay and Sunset (see image) – in varying shades and combinations to turn a room into a cool haven of peaceful serenity.

Balance – This second principle of interior design is best described as distributing visual weight within a room in an even – or equal – fashion. The style of balance may be asymmetrical, radial or symmetrical.

Asymmetrical Balance – Mostly used in modern design, this type of balance relies on using dissimilar objects with equal attraction to the eye – or visual weight. Feeling less contrived and more casual, this can be a little difficult to achieve, but suggests movement and therefore makes interiors more lively.

Radial Balance – Here, design elements are carefully arranged around a central focus. Spiral staircases are an excellent example of this. Rarely used, this style can – if used appropriately – provide interesting counterpoints.

Symmetrical Balance – Typically found within traditional interiors, this style is characterised by one side of a vertical axis mirroring the other. In other words, objects on one side of the room are repeated and positioned in the same way on the room’s other side.

Focal Points – Every well designed room should have a focal point – or more if it is particularly large. This may consist of a work of art, highlighted furniture or a fireplace; a flat screen TV or a wall painted in a contrasting colour. To prevent focusing all of the beholders attention on this focal point, balance should, however, be preserved.

Rhythm – This is all about the repetition of visual patterns. Defined as continuity and recurrence – or organised movement – rhythm is about contrast, transition, progression and repetition. It leads the viewer’s eyes from one element of the design to the next and creates a sense of fluid movement.

Contrast – Fairly straightforward, contrast introduces opposing elements into the overall scheme. This may involve using opposing shapes – like squares and circles – or opposing colours, such as black and white; red and green or purple and yellow scatter cushions, for example. The main thing to remember is not to use too much contrast, as this can ruin the overall appearance.

Transition – This is focused on smooth movement, where the eye is being guided naturally along different areas. It is most commonly achieved through gently curving lines – like an arched doorway, for instance.

Progression – The most obvious methods of implementing progression are using size and/ or colour. An assembly of candles in varying sizes would be an excellent example of progression. Colour progression can be achieved by using several shades of the same colour.

Repetition – Repetition is basically using one or more elements of the design more than once. This could be repeating colours, lines, patterns or texture. The pattern or colour of curtains, for instance, could be repeated in cushions.

Detail – Often overlooked, detail is actually of vital importance. Little things like cupboard and door handles, light switches and trims on lamp shades or cushions underpin everything else mentioned above. In essence, these details need to be right without becoming obvious. Detail takes three major principles into consideration: proportion, scale and colour.

Proportion and Scale – As both of these principles are concerned with shape and size, they really go hand in hand. Proportion deals with the ratio between design elements and between each element and the overall design. A tiny lampshade on a huge base, for example, would be well out of proportion. Scale, on the other hand, deals with the comparison of one object’s

Colour – The colours used in any given room can and will affect those frequenting them in varying ways. Some can induce peace and harmony, while others can go as far as inducing depression or rage. It is therefore essential to choose colours wisely – if in doubt, it often helps to take a look at blogs offering details on colour psychology, decorating ideas, and so on.

As the range of colours in fabrics, furnishings and carpets, etc, tends to be more limited than available colour ranges in paints, is typically better to start by choosing these first of all and then matching paints to go with them. Eicó’s free colour cards can help in this endeavour, and if you can not find the right colours, eicó can create the right hue for you by matching a sample of your fabric and creating your very own personal colour range.

The idea is to use colours to create the ambience you desire bearing your personal likes/dislikes and the purpose of a room in mind. This, of course, takes us right back to the beginning of this post – creating rooms based on the principles of mood, personality and function. If you are unsure as to whether the colours you have in mind will work, you can use sample pots to experiment with before making your final decision.

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