How to Think Like an Interior Designer: Form

The room above contains both open forms (recessed lights, chandelier, greenery) and closed forms (curtains, headboard, crown molding).

Throughout this series we’ve discussed the concept of space and line. These two principles are responsible for adding tone and character to a room’s interior. However, both elements lend to the concept of form. Line determines the space and form of an object.


Shapes Vs. Form

The concepts of shape and form are very similar. In fact, it can be difficult to differentiate between the two. How are these concepts different from each other? In interior design, shapes are often two dimensional. They have both width and height. On the other hand, forms are three dimensional objects that take up space. For instance, a speaker box is an example of form. The speaker consists of several shapes specifically squares that are put together to create form. Yes, form is solid mass that can be viewed from various angles.


Form can be created by combining at least two shapes. This element can be heightened using texture, color and pattern.


Types of Form

There are two types of form: geometric and natural. Geometric form is typically manmade while natural form is organic. Form can also be categorized as either open or closed. Open forms are objects that have a light and airy form, leading the eye away from the center and into the room.  Closed forms are heavier and dense, leading the eye into the object, creating a feeling of permanence and stability.


Importance of Form in Design

The use of form is essential for creating a well-decorated space. When form is used correctly it can create a sense of balance and great visual interest.  What are some ways you can implement form into your home’s decor? Form can be seen in your furnishing choices, decorative accessories and other objects that can provide functionality. Try to classify your furnishings and décor into open and closed forms! 


Without form a room would be flat. Sculptural type form is a great way to add drama to a space. Good form can be successfully achieved by taking into consideration both scale and proportion, which will be touched upon in future posts.  Form should be evenly distributed throughout a room. However, using too many unrelated types of forms in a space can be overwhelming and cause confusion in the design.


When selecting furnishings and decorative elements keep in mind that form has the power to transform a space!