How to Think Like an Interior Designer Part 12: Rhythm

The principle of rhythm can be described as a pattern that provides movement through a design.  It connects all the room’s elements together, providing order and unity to the space.  Without it, a room can feel disjointed and out of proportion.  That’s why it’s a good idea to educate yourself on how to achieve rhythm in your design and ensure that your living space feels harmonious when you enter it.  There are three main ways to incorporate rhythm into your home’s layout: repetition, alternation and progression. 


Repetition uses repeated elements of the room’s design in a regular, recognizable way.  Examples of this method are placing 4 to 6 matching picture frames with similarly photos in them on the wall above your couch in the living room.  Carrying the pattern through the room would be matching the mat board color in the frames to the couch.  Repetition can also be seen in matching pendants lights hanging from the ceiling and identical throw pillows as accessories to the room. You can also use repetition through lines.  If there are vertical lines on an upholstered chair, you can repeat the pattern in a vertically striped wallpaper or area rug.


Alternation is the method of using two or more elements in a pattern that repeats throughout the space.  An example of this would be using the color combination of black and white with square shapes.  These colors can be utilized through a tile floor design, black and white pillows, frames, area rug and wallpaper.  Another example of repeating elements would be combining circular furnishings, neutral colors and textures.  You would see something like a half-moon shaped leather couch in a taupe color on top of a round stone colored area rug with circular glass side tables. 


Progression is a pattern developed through a sequence of colors or objects in recognizable way.  An example of this being used in your home can be through accessories ranging from small to large or low to high.  This can be seen in a set of nesting tables in the corner of a room or a three-piece animal sculpture that advances in size.  Window panels with progressively changing color, candlesticks ascending in height and abstract paintings featuring the same color in different levels of saturation are also good examples of progression.


Using your new knowledge of rhythm, make your home unforgettable with a discernible pattern that will delight you and your guests.