In the past, you may have relied on your intuition in order to decorate or stage your home…but let’s talk about key ingredients to add to that intuition. There is a fine art to composition, whether in paint, music or decorating. There are also basic principles and elements that apply to the creation of a harmonious composition. For ease in understanding and clarification, those principles are proportion, scale, emphasis, balance, rhythm and style. These principles guide us as we coordinate the elements or components of design (ie, line, form, color & value, texture, pattern, light and space). Broken principles will often make us feel wrong about a room. You may not recognize exactly what is bothering you about a room, but you will not feel comfortable or maybe you will just feel uneasy or not at rest in a room without harmony.
Let’s break down one of my favorite elements and a key ingredient to always consider when decorating or staging a home…Rhythm and Symmetry.
Rhythm and Symmetry
Is there a pattern or repetition of objects, color, form or texture to your room? Most people are drawn to like objects — a pair of lamps, similarly colored decor accessories, or similar shapes in a room. All of these are examples of repetition which helps to create rhythm, symmetry and cohesion in your home. Likewise, we are drawn to symmetry as it relates to an echo of similar objects down an invisible center line.
Symmetry refers to the same arrangement of parts, objects or forms on both sides of an imagined or real centerline. This is usually seen in more traditional arrangements, for example, a mantel with a powerful main piece plus matching candlesticks or art pieces on each side.
Asymmetry refers to the balance between objects of different sizes as the result of placement usually seen in more modern or contemporary settings. For example, pairs of items, repeated patterns on pillows and ottomans, or a single dominant color thread throughout the room.
All of these items help to create movement and cohesion in a room. Liken rhythm and repetition in a home as a steady beat in a song. While barely noticed in the overall composition, it is the tie that binds within the room. By creating repetition within, you are linking each space and creating harmony within the home. Conversely, it jars the senses if there is a complete change of color, style and feel from one room to the next.
An easy way to create rhythm in a room is through the use of symmetry and pairs. Symmetry gives harmony to a room because it balances the tensions on the eye. We tend to view a room much like we would read a book, from side to side not top to bottom. When an arrangement is symmetrical, it will always contain at least one pair of items. Rhythm, accomplished through symmetry, pairs and repetition results in harmony within a room and peaceful transitions between rooms.
Homes are an expression of who we are and what we aspire to be. Take this one element and walk through your home and make note of the rhythm within.