Successfully using contrast in a space is just one of the seven principles of interior design that we’ll be looking at today.
This is the third in a series on learning all about the Principles Of Design. Click HERE to see the others!
The interior design principle of contrast refers to the difference in the luminance (or color) of objects and to the arrangement of opposite elements or effects in a space. There are many ways that contrast can be used in a room:
- light vs dark colors
- smooth vs rough textures
- large vs small shapes
- round vs square shapes
- high gloss vs matte finishes
- positive vs negative spaces.
The use of contrast is important for adding variety, visual interest and drama when designing a room. Let’s look at a few examples of the design principle of contrast in use around my home.
The makeover of my master bathroom isn’t complete yet, but all we have to do is take a close look at the vanities to see several examples of design contrast at work.
ROUND VS SQUARE SHAPES
The round mirror and rounded shapes of the light fixtures versus the rectangular vanities, the rectangular rug and the rectangular wall art is an easy one to spot.
The color contrast of mixing gold and silver hardware and accessories in the room. And the contrast of the darker blue rug against the light gray floor.
SOFT VS HARD
The hardness of the surfaces versus the softness of the towels and the hardness of the tile floor versus the softness of the rug.
But how do these principles come into play in the public rooms of your home? Let’s take a look around my family room.
This one corner of my family room is filled with several different types of design contrast.
- The round mirror on the wall versus my rectangular console table.
- The squareness of the gallery wall versus the round sconces above the artwork.
- The hardness of the wood of the furniture versus the softness of the couch, pillows and upholstered coffee table.
- The light colors of the couch and coffee table versus the darker pillows and darker picture frames.
- The solid patterns on the couch versus the patterned pillows.
You have to look a little harder to find the design contrasts on the fireplace side of the room, but they’re there.
- The squareness of the fireplace and French doors versus the roundness of the lamp and mantel accessories.
- The hardness of the brick of the fireplace versus the softness of the chair, pillows and greenery.
- The neutral color of the walls and fireplace versus the color of the artwork and painted side table.
- The smoothness of the walls versus the texture of the brick, shades, baskets and tufts in the back of the chair.
One thing to keep in mind as you’re decorating your spaces is that contrast doesn’t have to be done in large doses and it shouldn’t be overdone in a room or else it will lose it’s magical touch!