Interior Design Principles: Creating Rhythm in Your Home

Rhythm. You know what it is in music. It's the beat, the driving force that keeps the music moving and the under current that pulls it along. But how can rhythm help you when decorating your home and why is it important?

First, let's define it in terms of interior decorating.


A principle of design seen in an interior as a visual flowing pattern or regular recurrence. The path the eye follows.

Interiors: An Introduction

Rhythm is what your eye and mind automatically anticipates seeing.

Why is it important?

  • It leads your eye through a space as well as your whole home
  • It gives a sense of stability and calm
  • It gives a home flow and your rooms a sense of connectedness
  • It satisfies that anticipation that your mind and eye automatically search for

Ways to achieve rhythm in your home

1. Repeat an element of design such as a color throughout the rooms in your home. In our apartment I repeat mustard yellow as an accent color in each of the rooms as a way of connecting the different spaces. If you're hanging a gallery wall you could use all the same color frames or when styling a bookshelf you could group your books by the color of the spines. Repetition could also be as simple as using matching lamps on your end tables.

via:  Casa Vogue

2. Instead of repeating just one element, you could alternate two or more elements. For example, on a gallery wall you could alternate the color of your frames to add a little more interest. Or if you collect colored glassware, you could alternate the colors when you display them in your cabinets or shelves. With your furniture you can alternate hard and soft pieces. In this image, the color of the accent pillows was alternated.

via:  Lonny  

via: Lonny 

3. Use various shades of the same color in a room or through out your house or various sizes of the same shape. For example, maybe you could use light pink pillows on your couch, and use a darker shade of pink for your drapes. Or think of a grouping of vases by your fireplace, all the same shape but in varying sizes. 

4. Create smooth transitions in your home in rooms and between spaces. You could do this by using the same flooring through out your house or moldings around the floors and ceilings. It could also be as simple as a runner placed on your stairs or down a hallway that leads your eye through the space.

5. We've talked a lot about repeating elements, but you also want to have some contrasting elements in your design as well. You can contrast colors such as the accent pillows you use on your bed or couch. You can contrast hard and soft textures in the placement of your furniture, and you can also use contrasting shapes next to each other. Here, the green walls and yellow contrast with each other.

Just like a symphony, there are many parts and elements that make up the perfect blend for your home. Some of those parts will be similar and repeat themselves, and some will be different and contrast with each other, but when pulled all together, they create a satisfying sense of unity and wholeness. And just like a symphony, it takes practice to get the blend of all the different parts just right and in sync with each other.  

What is an element that you use in your home to create a sense of unity through our your space? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments!