[x_custom_headline type=”center” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h2″ accent=”true”]Design Deconstructed[/x_custom_headline]
Huntington House Furniture “Pop of Color” Loft Living Room
Creating a beautiful home design is both an artistic and scientific process. With regards to the artistic aspects of design the following (in my opinion) are necessary traits one must possess: creativity, ability to visualize an end state, an unique sense of style – a signature style so to speak, and potentially most important, an insatiable sense of curiosity coupled with a confident risk-taking attitude. The rules of design (including color theory) on the other hand are clearly defined and accepted principles and guidelines – consider it a form of art married with math and science. These design principles used by artists, sculptors and others in the visual arts, relate to the geometry of design and to color theory, and are the topics on which I will focus on in this post which is all about deconstructing design to its basic elements and rules.
A quick disclosure here before we begin. Huntington House is a Decorating Diva content sponsor – allowing me, through their generosity and financial support, to bring educational and inspiring decorating and design materials to our readers at no cost to you.
The room design for this decorating lesson is shown below and was designed by the creative team at Huntington House Furniture.
Design Principles and Color Theory
When reduced to its most essential essence design principles can be defined by the following terms: scale, proportionality, balance, rhythmic form, focal point/space emphasis and color rhythm. Color theory provides us with an understanding of the science and psychology of color, and how to use those colors to create a variety of effects within a space.
DD DISCLAIMER: These are basic and general guidelines, and as with all rules they can be broken. And they are often broken, and in some cases, beautifully so, by experienced artists and designers that wish to convey a statement-making visual narrative.
Scale refers to the relative size relationship between two objects. For instance in this large, open room with soaring ceilings and very tall walls, and window doors, small furniture and decor could be swallowed up visually. As shown in this photo, the furniture is the perfect scale for the room.
Proportionality speaks to the visual relationship between elements in a space as well as the relationship between the elements and the space itself. In this airy loft, the composition of the furniture pieces are in beautiful proportion to one other, and to the room in whole.
Balance in interior design is the fine-tuned effort to create a form of visual equilibrium. This space expresses an asymmetrical and casually, informal visual balance centered on an imaginary vertical axis that can be traced from the chandelier down to the rug via the coffee table between the sofa and accent chairs. Further visual balance is achieved by the accent chair facing the sitting area which has been delineated by the rug as an “inner space” and the large painting hung above the sofa which brings horizontal balance and vertical balance in relationship to the window doors. Balance is also achieved through the use of textures both visual and tactile. For instance, the smooth metal and glass table balances the velvety pink chairs, and “visually” rough textured floor. Visual weight of the design elements should also be considered when striving for room balance.
Rhythmic Form exists to guide and please the eye as it travels the room, and does so by using one or more common elements or themes to tie together various disparate design elements. The loft living space in this example utilizes various repetitious forms and patterns in the architecture and decoration to create an aesthetically pleasing interior. Horizontal lines, which express a sense of harmony and stability, are repeated in an explicit form in the ceiling beams, the wood floor planks, the window doors, the lamp shade, the sofa skirt, the chandelier arms, and the rug. Implicitly, the horizontal lines are defined by the negative linear space between the two pink accent chairs, and in the lines within the painting. Vertical lines send a visual message of permanence and strength. The vertical lines in the architectural elements can be found in the window doors. Decorative elements showcasing vertical lines include the accent table, coffee table and legs on the accent chairs. Organic shapes in the decor reflect the curvature of the sofa arms, accent chair’s back and arms, the various accent tables throughout the room, the arched window doors, and the circular form of the chandelier. On a mico-pattern level, you can easily identify the harmonious and complimentary patterns between the Asian garden stool table and the upholstery on the accent chair.
Focal Point is the major emphasis in a room either by architecture or design. In the loft discussed here, the architectural focal point are the arched window door features.
Color Rhythm as is the case with rhythmic form being able to create a relationship between many different design pieces through the use of one unifying characteristic extends to color. We achieve this through the use of color theory and principles to devise a color design scheme that offers a repetitive and harmonious effect to create a room with character, story and personality. This effect can be implemented through textiles, paint, flooring, art, and decorative accessories. The walls in this space are almost neutral – sporting a sunny, yellow-white with the flooring in a complementary neutral ash-toned light brown and a beautifully, tailored sofa dressed in an off-white upholstery. A vibrant complementary color scheme adds a sense of verve to the overall neutral room design with the introduction of two dominant colors opposite each other on the color wheel – pink (red based color) and chartreuse (yellow-green based color). Fresh, fun, bold color and drama are introduced with hits of sophisticated pinks in the art, vases, flowers, and accent chairs. Cosmopolitan black and white inspired accent pieces balance out the bold pink with a geometrically patterned accent chair and a pair of fluid chevron-patterned throw pillows. For an unexpected artful twist, chartreuse green is introduced into the interior through the use of a velvety pillow, round Asian garden table and decorative accents.
Color Theory lays bare the scientific explanation of color – or better stated how we perceive color based on our physiology, and even how we respond to color based on psychology.
The Science of Color
Color is a physical attribute of visible light. Within that color spectrum, red has the longest wavelength while violet has the shortest. And the wavelengths are of vital importance because the way our brains interpret those signals results in how we see color or , in other words, how we “sense” color with our eyes. The perception of color occurs when an object absorbs all color light wavelengths except one – that one light color is reflected to our eyes as the “color” of the object. Returning to this room design and using the pink chair as an example to illustrate the color sensation concept – the chair absorbs all colors of light except pink. The pink light is reflected back to us, and that is how we sense the color of the chair as pink.
How you feel about colors can be shaped by your past as well as cultural influences. If you experienced a horrible car accident as a young child and that car was red, you may find the color red leads to anxiety or fear for you. Culture and society have a tremendous impact on our perception of color, too. For example in Western societies white implies purity and innocence and is used widely in bridal gowns. In China, the color white is representative of a state of mourning.
Color in Design
Color used in design can be evocative, tell a story and set a mood. Understanding color’s vocabulary and a set of basics color schemes will help you in the use of color in your home. First for the terminology which includes:
- Value references the lightness (tint) or darkness (shade) of a particular color.
- Hue is just another term for color and can be used interchangeably.
- Chroma is the intensity of the color – how bright or dull it appears.
Next a rudimentary understanding of the color wheel, its properties and how colors are created is required. In the image above a color wheel example shows a wide spectrum of colors – what’s interesting to note is that all those colors started with a simple combination of the three primary colors: red, blue, and yellow. Then those colors in the color wheel are blended with each other to produce a secondary color wheel that includes the “parent” colors red, blue, and yellow in addition to the color “offsprings” of orange (red+yellow), green (blue+yellow), and purple (red+blue). And the process can be repeated over and over again to create nearly infinite numbers of color combinations.
Color Temperature and Its Psychological Characteristics
The color wheel also provides a visual representation of color temperature. As can be noted from the above illustrated color wheel, warm colors are red, yellow, and orange based, while cool colors are blue, purple and green based.
Cool colors can slow down your perception of time and can produce an environment that seems cold and distant (As often is associated with professional environments -cubeville). Cool colors can also have passive, calming qualities that aid concentration and can create a mood of peacefulness and tranquility. An example of a calming cool color is an aqua blue, reminiscent of the beautiful blue of the ocean. A cool color that can be harsh and cold in psychological impact would be a deep blue-grey used in large quantities. Warm colors tend to speed up our perception of time. As a matter of fact fast food restaurants use red and orange heavily in their decor to get customers in and out fast, so they can make more money per customer. Warm colors also lead us to have feelings of warmth and coziness and are often associated with happiness and comfort.
Aside from ascertaining color temperature from the color wheel, it can also be used to devise color schemes. A few of those color schemes are:
Monochromatic Color Schemes are very simple, and basic color schemes that can result in a truly luxe, sophisticated, elegant and rich interior that exudes a fresh timeless appeal. A monochromatic color scheme is characterized by the use of one color varying in tone from light to dark. This color palette tends to have a calming and serene profile. When teamed with neutrals such as gray, black and/or white it offers depth and interest while avoiding a visual flatness that may occur when contrasting color elements are ignored.
Analogous Color Schemes are composed of three colors that sit adjacent to each other on the tertiary color wheel. The color science behind this is simple and for this example we will use the color yellow. In this case the middle color on the wheel is yellow-green and is created by mixing the primary color of yellow (primary color wheel element) with the secondary color of green (secondary color wheel element created by mixing primary colors blue and yellow.). You will note that this color scheme also utilizes addition of white and black to create variations of the base colors as in the monochromatic color recipe above.
Complementary Color Schemes yield schemes that rely on the tensions created by warm and cool color tones working together in an interior space, they can create visual contrast in a high-drama or in a low-key fashion. It all depends on which colors you choose, and what tones are used in the implementation. A complementary color scheme is created by picking one color from the color wheel to be used as the dominant color, and then selecting the hue opposite of it on the color wheel – preferably to be used as the accent color in the room. In this loft living room we are studying, a complementary color scheme is featured in an otherwise neutral interior. The colors used are also somewhat grayed keeping the overall tone of the room color calm and soothing.
Tetradic Color Scheme offers a richly varied color scheme utilizing four colors created from two complementary color pairings, the Tetradic color scheme offers the highest number of color combinations. Access to these numerous colorful combinations offers substantial creative freedom, but it’s also one of the harder color schemes to implement in a harmonious and balanced method. The Tetradic scheme, sometimes also referred to as Double Complementary, follows the same color science rules as the complementary color scheme and expounds on the number of pairings.
Get the Look
Want to translate this elegant, casual loft look for your home? It’s easy, with the decorating know-how you just learned from this design and color lesson and following my design concept board below – it shows all the design ingredients you’ll need to get the look.
Furniture and Décor Resources: Fort Chaffee Engineered – Northern White Oak by Invincible – Carpet One Floor and Home, Petriolo 6-Light Deep Patina Bronze Chandelier- LampsPlus, Lippa 20″ Wood Side Table in White – LexMod, “Untitled 81” Pink abstract painting acrylic on paper on cradled wood –Etsy, Double Fortune Chartreuse Yellow Green Pierced Asian Garden Seat Stool – Kathy Kuo Home , Jemma Garden Stool – Home Decorators, 6″ Tall Red Oslo Recycled Glass Vase – Amazon ,Pink Czech Vase, 1970s Chrome and Glass Round Coffee or End Table – 1st Dibs , Flokati Rug – Vintage, Nuovo Foyer Table – Burke Décor, Vintage Green Ceramic Vase – In Style Decor, and Safavieh White Bamboo Column Table Lamp – Overstock.
Huntington House Furniture: White skirted sofa (3206-20) – shown in white (61373-89) with graphic black and white chevron pillows (70164-78) and kidney pillow (shown in loft room image at top of post) in citron velvet (Henry Quince upholstery). Fuchsia chair (7706-50) in custom fuchsia velvet (Striato Blossom) and antique silver nail-head trim. Black and white embroidered geometric chair (70156-78) in espresso finish (7738-50).
Disclosure: All opinions expressed in this post are all my own. This is a sponsored post/branded content for Huntington House Furniture. We appreciate the generous sponsorship of design brands that support the Decorating Diva blog and make it possible for me to bring you, our wonderful readers, excellent design and lifestyle articles throughout the year.