How to Think Like an Interior Designer Part 16: Unity

The principle of unity is the concept of pulling all the elements and principles of interior design together to create a connected look to the space you are decorating.  To ensure that the result is successful, it is essential to plan and decide what the dominant features of the room will be.  This will prevent the room’s design from becoming overwhelmed with an abundance of focal points.


Connecting the elements can be done in multiple ways that will result in the grouping of certain pieces together while keeping each section cohesive to the overall arrangement.  Upon entering a room, the viewer’s eye automatically looks for a pattern to recognize.  Having a sense of order to a design creates an inviting environment which the viewer seeks out involuntarily.


Elements can be grouped together by proximity, similarity, continuation and alignment.  Proximity is the method of placing items close together to make it obvious that they are related to one another.  A sofa with accompanying loveseat and coffee table is an example of this.  A group can be assembled through similarity by placing repetitive items together.  Using items similar in color, size or shape will accomplish this.  A blue area rug under an upholstered chair with blue accent pillow staged in front of a painting with a similar shade of blue in it is a good representation of this method.  Alignment is achieved through the lining up of edges to bring focus to them.  Coordinating chairs at a kitchen island or lining up artwork frames on a wall are obvious displays of alignment. Finally, continuation provides direction from one element to another through signified lines, curves or edges.  The light beaming down from a chandelier can lead the viewer’s eye to a circular coffee table surrounded by a half-moon shaped sofa with globe lamps at each end. 


When deciding which groupings to use for the space, remember to maintain the main theme of the room.  Keep a common motif that binds them all together no matter what proximity they are to one another.