Post by Kyle St. Romain.
A few weeks ago we discussed the various ways to achieve balanced design in your bedroom. To briefly recap, balance can be achieved in one of three ways: symmetrical, asymmetrical, or radial. Symmetrical balance is usually used in more formal spaces, while asymmetrical balance is often thought of as a more casual type of design. Radial balance can be either formal or informal, though it is most commonly used in dining arrangements where chairs are arranged in a circle around the dining table.
This week, I want to take a moment to discuss another fundamental principle of design, rhythm. Rhythm, also called repetition, is a way of timing your eyes’ movement through a space. While it is most often thought of in terms of music, rhythm is equally applicable to visual design. Rhythm is often the glue that holds the overall look of a room together.
Rhythm can be employed in a number of ways: linear rhythm, repetition, alternation, or progression—each of which will be discussed briefly below.
Linear rhythm relies on the movement of the viewers’ eyes across an individual line. A simple way to think of linear rhythm is to picture a sunset over the horizon; the horizon is the linear line that draws your eyes across the image. In your bedroom, you may hang your pictures at a certain height to create linear rhythm, or have a large headboard with a flat top as a focal point of the room.
Repetition involves the use of a particular pattern throughout a room to create a timing of movement across the room. Picture a wall with a lot of small pictures hanging very close to each other. Now picture that same room with fewer, larger pictures spaced further apart. In the room with the smaller pictures, your eyes would likely move swiftly across the room as they take in image, after image, after image, in quick succession. Contrast this with the larger, spaced out images: your eyes would likely move across the room much slower as each image commands more attention.
Alteration is a specific type of pattern that relies on a particular sequence of repetition. For example, your décor could alternate between large and small objects, or light and dark colors. Alternation is different than typical patterning, as it is not necessary to recreate the exact element throughout the pattern. For example, you could alternate between gold and blue stripes throughout your room, with each stripe being of a different size.
Progression is achieved by gradually increasing or decreasing the characteristic of an element throughout the room. For example, you could place a set of vases linearly and arrange them according to size, or color.
When thinking about the rhythm of your bedroom, don’t limit your thoughts to one perspective of the room. Rather, you need to be mindful of the overall feel of the room. The best way to see how to successfully employ rhythm in your bedroom’s design is to see what other people have done. As usual, Houzz is an excellent resource for this, and you can browse rooms that scream rhythm here.
How do you use rhythm in your own design? Share your thoughts in the comments below.