“We shape our homes and then our homes shape us.” – Winston Churchill
There are several factors that contribute to Churchill’s observation: the dynamics of the family, the family situation and the ambience experienced in the home.
The design principles that will drive an amiable environment for family life are the unchanging elements of good design. When the “rules” are ignored, you will most likely feel that there is something amiss with a space. You might not be able to verbalize just what the problem is, but it is almost certain that a rule has been broken.
The basic design principles are balance, focus, harmony, proportion and rhythm.
Balance: You will most likely feel if a room is unbalanced. Balance simply refers to the visual equilibrium of a room, which is achieved by the placement of objects within a room according to visual weight. Shape, color and texture all help to determine their visual weight.
Focus: This refers to the direction the eye travels and remains as it first enters a space. A multitude of focal points in a room make it quite uncomfortable, as there is no place for the eye to rest.
Harmony: This is achieved when the elements of a room work together to form a visually pleasing cohesiveness with the proper balance of variety and unity. Harmony in design is similarity of components or objects looking like they belong together. This unity can be defined as a design thread that tells a story from one element to another.
Proportion: Ah, Proportion and his best friend Scale. This is something the real estate agent fails to mention when showing you a home with a two story great room. Technically, proportion refers to how the elements within an object relate to the object as a whole, while scale relates to the size of an object compared to the space in which it is located.
Rhythm: The rhythm of a room controls the visual flow around a room. Rhythm allows the eyes to move around from one object to another and creates a harmonious atmosphere in a room.
A family home that incorporates these is not unlike the paints that an artist uses in the creation of a breathtaking work of art – each color and brushstroke plays off another color within the guidelines of design principle. The result is a warm, inviting space for living.