The Principles of Design for Kitchens and Bathrooms

Good design is defined as unity of design and a timeless look. But to achieve unity and an evergreen look one must give consideration to all the principles of design. Remodeling your kitchen and bathroom is so much more than selecting fixtures and painting the walls. A good remodel will have a well thought out design concept that begins with the principles of design as its foundation.

The principles are balance, rhythm, emphasis/focal point, scale, proportion, and harmony/unity. In order to have a better understanding of these concepts we will look at each at it pertains to bathroom remodel planning and kitchen planning.

Let’s start with balance which is the distribution of the visual weight of objects, colors, textures and space. On a recent powder room design a client requested tile to be installed above the vanity all the way up the wall and considered tiling the whole wall not just above the vanity. The powder room being very small could only visually support a small amount of tile without making the space feel bulky or heavy. Based on the principle of balance we opted for less is more and decided not to do the whole wall. Thought was also given to the light pendants we chose, again wanting to keep the room balanced we chose streamline lights that had very little bulk and clear glass to keep the balance of the space feeling light. These decisions helped the design of this small room feel spacious even with the lack of square footage.

Moving onto rhythm. The easiest way to create rhythm within a space is to repeat elements of design which can include line, shape, texture, color, pattern and light. In a recent bathroom project we used floral like mosaic in the shower, on the floor and on an accent wall. We repeated the pattern in several areas over mute color tile to give the bathroom rhythm. In a recent kitchen we used straight lines on the cabinet doors, hardware, light fixtures and furniture to create rhythm and flow. The idea is to keep the eye moving in a natural way that makes one feel relaxed and comfortable in the space and never overwhelmed.

Emphasis/focal point is one of my favorite principles of design to work with. Here the idea is to showcase a portion of the design and hold the viewer’s attention. Often referred to as the “wow” factor one can be as creative as they want as long as thought is given to the rest of the design principles. One of my favorite design projects was a master bathroom that was designed in all marble. The entire bathroom was jaw dropping so creating a focal point meant we had to get creative. The solution was building a false wall to house a fireplace and wall to wall niche tiled in herringbone which was accented with sun from a skylight. Though the entire space was breathtaking everyone who entered held their attention to the false wall we created. …

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Zen Garden Design – Principles and History

Zen gardens, originating with Buddhist monks centuries ago, have become all the rage recently. Combining a balance of natural and architectural elements and a blend of humble, simple design juxtaposed with natural wonders, these gardens offer tranquility and beauty galore. As for that balance, Zen gardeners adhere to the principle of (female) yin and the (male) yang. Every facet of a Zen garden is characterized by one or the other, i.e. water is yin; earth is yang. The epitome of a Zen garden is achieved when yin and yang balance for harmonious feng shui; this adheres to a second principle of working with nature’s tendencies as much as your landscape allows.

Designed to produce a 3-D effect of height and depth, a Zen garden is planned with foreground and background to draw one’s focus. More harmony is achieved by balancing different colors, sizes, and shapes of flora, so no one plant overwhelms. Trees and larger shrubbery placed at the rear of your garden offer privacy and a natural backdrop. More feng shui tips for your Zen garden?

Planting for your climate: Mosses, ground covers, ornamental grasses, hardy flowering blooms, shrubs, and focal point trees, in varied heights, colors, and textures, add lush vibrancy to your garden. Drought-resistant plants thrive in a Zen garden’s sandy areas and are perfect for low-rainfall zones. Mosses and low-maintenance ground covers serve to soften straight lines, such as pre-existing walkways, and promote the flow of chi. Choose plants that will flourish in your region.

Nature’s Rocks: Rocks give dimension to a Zen garden. They reflect permanence and respect for the passing of time, while adding energy and emotion to your landscape. Select unique rocks and stones, organizing them according to their special characteristics and sizes; place them where best suited for your garden’s flow. Choose smooth, well-worn stones for added appeal.

Water Features: All elements have a purpose in a Zen garden. Water features such as pools, ponds and fountains offer yin energy and encourage beneficial chi.  Garden lighting to highlight special areas balances that with yang (male) energy. You get the idea. Water elements can include natural facets already in your landscape, i.e. a pre-existing stream or pond, or may be added – either naturally or man-made. Sand and pebble formations can also be used to represent water: swirl sand with a rake or fingertips to create a rippling water effect – the swirls also promote the flow of chi in your garden. While sand areas are lovely, I prefer using them in tandem with actual water features for more dramatic appeal.

Paths and Walkways: Paths should never be straight, as chi energy is supposed to flow gently. A Zen garden craves meanderings and curves to soften straight lines and edging, because a curved path encourages chi to move more slowly and freely. If you already have straight paths, plant mosses to soften them; allow plants to grow over edges to help chi to circulate freely.

Bridges: Most of us have seen the stock …

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Principles of Cowboy Home Decor

Coming under different names – western, rustic, or cowboy home decor – this interior design style creates a very different look, both comfortable and rural. The cowboy home decor uses a lot of little details, sometimes very unusual, to recreate a different era, but you can be assured that most of these things are simple and easy to find.

Materials

Natural materials like metal, rock, wood, and leather, traditionally used in the West make essential part of the entire cowboy home decor. Furniture in this style is usually made in a larger scale and without any fancy or fussy detail. There is plenty of log furniture, twig and branch furniture, and mission style furnishings.

Colors

As with any theme, especially cowboy home decor, color is of the utmost importance to achieve the total look. The wood tends to be honey colored and the metals should be black. Accent colors are usually a terra cotta, brick red, navy, or forest green, mixed with a neutral background of creams, grays, and tans such as found in a western style fabric or wall hanging.

Fabrics

The choice of fabrics should fall on tough types. Leather is perfect for cowboy home decor, as well as anything rough, textured, and tactile. Suede, wool tweed, birch bark, denim, fur, and even saddle blankets can be used to add the cowboy theme to a room.

Motifs

There is no question that a motif is necessary when completing the cowboy home decor. They can include any type of animals such as deer, cattle, bear, moose, or fish. Antlers are extremely popular as well as a wall hanging or a chandelier, but look for a more creative use for them to be unique. You could make any of these items into a candelabrum, candle holder, or even a place to hang up coats according to your personal preference.

Other motifs include outdoor scenes such as fishing, riding, hunting, lakes, rivers, pine cones, oak trees, wildflowers, and grasses. The cowboy home decor is all about bringing the outside in, so do it as much as you can without being overwhelmed. Luckily this is one of the decors when more is better.

Cowboy home decor is good not only for your home, but also cabin or barn. It will add a comfortable feel, and can cost you almost nothing. You can use anything – from horseshoe sconces and twig framed mirrors to old jeans, dried flowers, and quilts. Use your creativity, and enjoy the fun of decorating your dwelling in such a limitless way.

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The Principles of Interior Design

Scientifically one can break interior design down into a few design principles. But be aware because these are not rules, rather see the principles as fundamental underpinnings for a feeling, flair or intuition to interior design.

Principle 1: UNITY

When doing interior design it is necessary to think of the house as a totality; a series of spaces linked together by halls and stairways. It is therefore appropriate that a common style and theme runs throughout. This is not to say that all interior design elements should be the same but they should work together and complement each other to strengthen the whole composition. A way to create this theme or storyline is with the well considered use of color.

Principle 2: FOCAL POINT

Interior design's biggest enemy is boredom. A well-designed room always has, depending on the size of it, one or more focal points. A focal point must be dominant to draw attention and interesting enough to encourage the viewer to look further. A focal point thus must have a lasting impression but must also be an integral part of the decoration linked through scale, style, color or theme.

Principle 3: BALANCE

Balance can be described as the equal distribution of visual weight in a room.
The simplest, and most formal type of balance is symmetrical balance, where the same objects are repeated in the same positions on either side of a vertical axis, such as one would find in old fashioned state or gala rooms.

Asymmetrical balance is more appropriate in design today. Balance is achieved with some dissimilar objects that have equal visual weight or eye attraction. Asymmetrical balance is more casual and less contrived in feeling, but more difficult to achieve.

Principle 4: PROPORTION

Proportion refers to the relative size measured against other elements or against some mental norm or standard. This design principle is of extreme importance when decorating a room.

Principle 5: RHYTHM

In musical terms we would describe rhythm as the beat or pulse of the music. In interior design, rhythm is all about visual pattern repetition. Visual rhythm is based on movement. As in music, rhythm in design can also be staccato – abrupt and dynamic or legato – connecting and flowing.

Principle 6: COLOR

Color is an element that tends to inspire emotion in people because color has an influence on the value of life above and beyond other considerations. Colors therefore have a definite impact on the atmosphere that you want to create when doing interior design.

Principle 7: DETAILS

Another important element of interior design where it is necessary to take infinite pains is details. Everything from the trimming on the lamp shade, the color of the piping on the scatter cushion, to the light switches and cupboard handles need attention. Unlike color people find details boring. As a result it gets neglected and skimmed over or generally left out.
As color expresses the whole spirit and life of a scheme; details are just as an important underpinning …

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