When you’re planning to redecorate, redesign, or completely remodel your interior, you’ll give a lot of thought to what particular aesthetic you’re going for, how to arrange the furniture, which materials will feature prominently, and so on. But have you considered how to manage a viewer’s impression?
A strong impact can be delivered by effectively using contrast when designing your new interior. With the right visual organization, you’ll be able to create areas of interest that will guide a visitor’s gaze through and around the entire room. Here are some ways to use contrast in your project.
Picking the right color scheme can be the easiest way to generate contrast. You can select colors based on hue, value, temperature, or intensity. Bold, high contrast schemes such as black and white can be dramatic, but too much contrast can be difficult for people to process visually, creating strain and confusion instead of guiding the eye. Give the viewer’s eye somewhere to rest by adding neutral colors and support shades. You can also use contrast sparingly with the contrasting color as an accent, deployed in specific areas.
Light and shadow
Don’t just aim for a brightly lit room. Instead, set up your lighting so that you have control and can adjust it to draw interest.
By manipulating light and shadow, you can effortlessly create areas of contrast. Maximize the sources of natural light in the room, then carefully select the right curtains or blinds so that you can create interesting shadows when desired. Creative lamps, chandeliers, and candle holders can all generate contrast with their shadows once lit.
Contrast can also be achieved by putting different materials together. Your visitors don’t even need to get up close and touch the material; the surface can instantly convey a particular texture, and by matching materials with contrasting textures, you’re able to draw interest.
Laying handmade modern rugs over a natural stone floor, for instance, will give viewers the impression of the warm, textured fabric meeting the cool, rough stone. The natural grain of wood and the smooth polish of metal can be used in a similar way. Varying materials in different parts of a room can thus generate interest.
Working with the different forms and shapes in your home is another way of generating contrast. Furniture is often a core component of this endeavor; your chairs and tables usually present sharp angles and solid, geometric shapes. In the right areas, the irregular or organic forms of art objects, indoor plants, floor tiles, upholstery, picture frames, and other decorations will create contrast with adjacent forms. Pairing hard edges with soft curves is another easy way to lead the eye with contrasting shapes.
Using contrasting styles in the same room can be a bit more difficult to pull off properly. Mixing rustic with industrial, or minimalist with Baroque, can lead to a clashing, confusing mess. Try to identify the elements of a particular style that work together, especially in conjunction with the other tips above. If you do it correctly, they can mesh and the result will be eclectic and interesting.
Using contrast is one of the experienced designer’s best tools to capture the viewer’s attention and lead their eyes around a space, making it interesting. Use these tips to create contrast in your home while maintaining the right balance.