The June theme on Wit & Delight is all about the art of the mix in interior design. I wanted to share more info on this topic and write about how you can apply the art of the mix in your own home.
When I first sat down to write this article, I thought of the book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat (one I highly recommend!). No, this is not an interior design book, but it is a book that helps people figure out how to mix and balance different elements in the realm of cooking. I decided to take a similar approach and write about how one can mix different elements in the realm of interior design.
Today I’m sharing the five key interior design elements all of my favorite rooms have in common: color, pattern, texture, something old, and something that grounds the space. Here’s why each of these elements matters.
5 Interior Design Elements Every Room Needs
If you’ve ever taken a painting class, you know that painters generally begin with a big field of one color on their canvas, which they then add to as they go. Consider the room you’re designing a canvas. Choose your base color first (which may be the existing color of the room or a color you plan to bring in), then consider which complementary colors you’d like to add to the mix. This article on color theory will help you begin to get a sense of how different colors play together. This article from House & Garden is also an interesting take on color rules to follow, according to interior designers.
Pattern adds interest, depth, and emotion to any room. Without it, a space can feel somewhat flat. Patterns can be bold or subtle, colorful or neutral, and applied broadly or selectively. From wallpaper to upholstery to rugs to decor items, there is no shortage of ways to bring pattern into a home.
I LOVE adding texture to any room. Similar to rooms without pattern, rooms without a variety of textures feel somewhat dull to me. I especially like to bring in texture through fabrics (e.g., velvet, linen, wool) and materials (e.g., rattan, marble, rustic wood, metal).
4. Something Old
There is always room for something antique in any room, particularly in spaces that are mostly filled with newer pieces. Be it furniture, art, light fixtures, or small decor items, old pieces bring character and charm to a home.
5. Something That Grounds the Space
A grounding element is something that acts as the foundation of a room; it’s the thing that brings the entire design together. I most often use an area rug to ground a space. It helps define the seating area in a living room, bedroom, or dining room. It also offers another opportunity to bring color and texture to a space. Wallpaper can also be used as a grounding element, especially if you apply it to an accent wall and use a bold pattern.
If you keep these five elements at the forefront of your mind throughout the design process, the art of the mix will become so much simpler. All of these elements are things you can continue to push and pull as your design preferences evolve. After all, each room in our home is meant to be seasoned and refined, bit by bit, rather than updated and finished in one fell swoop.
If you’re interested in learning more about mixing elements in interior design, these are a few resources I’d recommend:
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