How to Think Like an Interior Designer Part 17: Variety

Variety is used in interior design to prevent a space from becoming too dull and predictable.  Incorporating elements different than the ones currently existing in the space helps add interest and excitement.  Even in the most subdued designs, creating a focus through slight variations of elements will add significance to the room’s layout.  This unpredictability will help draw attention to the space and add diversity to the design.


We previously discussed the principle of unity and how the viewer’s eye automatically seeks out a pattern when entering a room.  Variety seems to be the opposite principle, but they need to work together to make a layout successful.  Having one without the other would make a design appear unpolished and boring.  Here are some ways to incorporate variety throughout your home without sacrificing the unity of its arrangement.


Line:  If your living room furniture is arranged in straight, predictable lines, consider placing a few pieces at different angles to open the space to make it more comforting and accessible.  To soften up a kitchen’s lines, add circular stools at the island bar.  A circular table set in a room with vertically lined wall paper adds variety as well.


Color:  An accent wall in a complementary color to the room’s furnishings, a pop of color from a hanging art piece and a bright area rug are all things you can incorporate in your design.  Using different colors with your accessories will also make it easier to change them out during different times of the year depending on your changing preferences.


Form:  If there are a lot of angular pieces in the room, mix it up with a few curved items.  A large vase placed near the fireplace, round side tables for each end of a sofa or an Edison bulb fixture over the dining room table are all good examples.


Texture:  Smooth, sleek textures make a room feel cooler and more formal while thicker textures create an inviting atmosphere.  If you have a leather couch, add a warm blanket.  Use a small area rug in front of the sink or stove section in the kitchen to simultaneously add interest and comfort underfoot. 


Light:  Light can be used to bring focus to an area of the room at night time through spotlights on built-in shelves or you can create a statement by installing a detailed chandelier in the dining area.


Pattern:  An asymmetrical pattern will immediately draw the eye and give the room a playful look.  A pattern placed in a room will a lot of solid colors will give the viewer something more striking to look at.