Interior Design 101: “To Harmonize the Whole is the Task of Art”

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 To Harmonize the Whole is the Task of Art 

This quote from renowned artist Wassily Kandinsky serves as the mantra for all of our work at Hoskins Interior Design. Harmony is the ultimate goal of every one of our projects. For us, it means everything in the space must contribute to a balanced and beautiful look, otherwise the room will irritate rather than welcome those who use it.

Unlike Kandinsky, interior designers are not original creators; rather they are people who artfully combine the creations of others. From natural elements like plants, flowers, stone and wood, to items made by artists and craftsmen like furniture, rugs and fabrics, interior designers gather these pieces and bring them together in an artful way. We mix elements such as color, texture, pattern, structure, light and sculpture, prioritizing and balancing what is important to the client with the characteristics of the space. It is here that our expertise truly shines, lending our knowledge of form and functionality to our clients to ensure they end up with a home they love.

If you are a regular reader of our blog, you have heard us say over and over, “everything cannot be the star”. This concept is rooted in the idea of creating harmony. We begin a design project with our clients’ priorities in mind. It could be an inherited piece of furniture is the most important element to them, or a collection of glass pieces or sculptures. In another space, the architectural details are what must shine. Regardless of the choice, that central element will serve as the basis for the rest of the design scheme. Every other material, accessory, piece of furniture, fabric, color, etc. may be chosen based on highlighting that one aspect. This purposeful approach ensures balance and harmony for the space, with each element supporting the other to create a cohesive look.

This concept can be difficult for some homeowners who value their belongings and do not want to ignore their importance. However, if we try to combine too many star elements in a space, they end up fighting each other for attention. This competition leads to a “cacophony of things” design scheme, making the space feel uncomfortable and unorganized. We help our clients prioritize their lovely pieces based on the goals for their space, and then advise them on how the other items can be used in different rooms in their homes. This way their prized possessions to do not get lost in the chaos.

Combining elements to achieve balance happens on a macro and micro level in an interior design scheme. Once the large items in a room are placed in relation to each other and the space, we begin filling in the smaller elements. A small grouping on a side tabletop is placed in relation to the seating vignette it is a part of. From there a piece of art is hung on the wall in relation to that seating vignette. Every element relates to all the other elements in a space, and combining all of them to create harmony is a challenging endeavor. Interior designers create the whole space through paying attention to all the layers of the design. Even negative space is important. Consider the arrangement of artwork on a wall. The balance of the piece is based on the image itself as it relates to the mat, as the mat relates to the frame as the frame relates to the other items on the wall. The negative space strongly affects the balance. It is also important to consider where the grouping is in relation to the furniture placement. All the elements of design come into play when creating balance and harmony in a space.

So, where does one begin when implementing a harmonious interior design scheme? Set your priorities, and then address the largest items first, such as architectural elements like fireplaces and windows. Then you can add rugs and large pieces of furniture. Consider scale, size, clearances between these foundation pieces, and the way they should function and relate to each other in the space. Remember you are working in the third dimension, so if you are working from a two-dimensional image of your perfect design, you will have to consider how each piece supports the other as you move around the space rather than just look at it from afar. For many homeowners, the most difficult part of designing a space is placing the finishing touches, like accessories and lighting. We suggest taking a step back and asking, “What does it need?” Add in an element, step back and determine what else is necessary, then add another piece. Make sure you are bringing in simple things that allow the items that are supposed to shine, shine! Think of those other elements as the supporting cast for the star(s) in the room. Always be looking at the whole and how every item relates to each other to create harmony in your space.

Creating a well-designed home that suits you in both style and functionality is not a straightforward process—that is why there are professional interior designers out there! The Hoskins Interior Design Team would be honored to help you design the space you are dreaming of. Send us an email or give us a call at 317-253-8986.




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