A Primer on Harmony and Unity for Clueless Home Decorators

moving to a new home

What makes spaces aesthetically pleasing is often the subtle elements. Think about it: the two sofas on each side of the coffee table creating symmetry, the black ottoman making a sharp contrast from the neutral-toned walls, or the soft, smooth tactile material on the silk throw pillow cover. Since most of these ‘good’ elements are so subtle, a lot of homeowners tend to overlook them. Such is the case in the principles of harmony and unity. If you want to achieve a clean, cohesive look on your home, you can’t afford to miss these elements.

The ‘One Good’ Design

Harmony and unity seem to be interchangeable, but in technical design terms, they’re distinct from each other. The former refers to that atmosphere of all the elements in the room fitting together. It’s like each piece has a connection to another. It may be in terms of aesthetics, motif, vibe, etc. The latter, on the other hand, pertains to the repetition of the elements to achieve a uniform look. Often, you use colors, shapes, or materials for this. Both harmony and unity aim for one thing: cohesion. That look and feel of the elements being tied together.

Why exactly is cohesion the goal? Well, in simple terms, it’s good for the eyes. When you walk into a room that has recognizable patterns, you interpret it as aesthetically-pleasing precisely because you can easily make sense of it. On the flip side, when a space has too many random-looking stuff, you feel like the whole thing is a mess (even though there’s no actual clutter). That’s why if you want to pull off a really good interior design, Utah-based experts encourage keeping in mind the principles of harmony and unity when introducing elements, when you buy furniture, when you choose color schemes, and whatnot.

Cohesion in Action

decorative room inside house

How exactly can you apply harmony and unity in your room? Think similarity. Choose the same colors, textures, patterns, and materials in different elements in the space. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with these many details, a good trick is to find one interesting piece in the room, focus on it and replicate its characteristics in the other design features. For example, you chose your brick fireplace. Maybe you can have its orange-brown-ish hue in your walls or some of the furniture. Then you can replicate its rough surface in the floors, choosing a distressed pattern. These touches of characteristics will make for one cohesive look in your design.

Just a word of caution when you apply harmony and unity: do it in moderation. Too much of it will make the space boring and uninteresting because everything looks similar. Treat these principles as the foundation of your design. Once you apply it and you’re already in the finishing touches, introduce elements that add a ‘pop’ of visual interest, for instance, in accent furniture or art pieces.

Again, the very elements that make your room beautiful are subtle. You might make the mistake of neglecting harmony and unity. Don’t. Keep them in mind as you build your design.

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