Unity and harmony are two principles of interior design that allow designers to create well-balanced and aesthetic spaces. Together with balance, proportion, contrast, rhythm, detail and emphasis, unity and harmony create the seven fundamentals of interior design.
Of those seven principles, harmony and unity are the guiding forces ensuring that everything fits together in a space. When there is a lack of unity in decorating may lead to a room that feels cluttered and chaotic.
Although these two terms aren’t complex, achieving harmony and unity within a space can often be challenging. Discover how to create unity in interior design with this guide from Minotti London.
How to Create Harmony Through Unity in Interior Design
While there are many unique elements that make up this interior, everything works together to create a sense of harmony | Designed by Rodolfo Dordoni for © Minotti London
In interior design, unity is the use of similarity and repetition in elements to create visual and conceptual connections and pull everything together into a cohesive whole whereas harmony is the sense that everything fits together.
In other words, unity is the repetition of elements to achieve harmony. When unity and harmony are at play, all the interior details in a room, such as the placement of furniture, the colour scheme and decorative elements, blend together in a calming sense of togetherness.
Below are five simple ways to create a sense of harmony through unity in a space.
Establish a Theme
This living space features a monochrome theme, one that’s so precise that every element of the design is immediately brought together | Designed by Rodolfo Dordoni for © Minotti London
Achieving unity in a space begins with establishing a dominant theme or motif. This can be something as simple as using the same colour scheme throughout the room or something more complex such as using art and furniture pieces that reflect a specific time period or style, such as mid-century modern.
Choosing a theme is essential to achieve unity and harmony as it allows for all the different elements within a space to merge into a whole. While each component within the design scheme serves its individual purpose, when they’re combined, they work together to create an aesthetically pleasing environment.
Choose a Unifying Element
Harmony can be achieved by focusing on one unifying element to apply throughout the space. This could be as simple as using a dominant colour or pattern or choosing furniture pieces with similar shapes and textures.
For example, if the dominant element in the room is a large navy blue sofa, adding other features in this colour, such as curtains or pouffes, will create visual unity where everything matches seamlessly.
Once the primary design element has been established, one can use complementary colours and textures in other areas of the room. The secondary design elements should aim to complement the focal colour or pattern rather than compete with it.
Add Contrast for Visual Interest
While unity and harmony are essential to creating visually balanced spaces, it’s also vital that everything doesn’t look the same. This can be achieved by applying contrast to add depth and create visual interest in a room that would otherwise feel monotonous.
Too much contrast, however, can make space look busy and chaotic. Following the 60-30-10 rule of interior design is an excellent way to avoid creating a visual dissonance by applying too many accent colours or patterns to a space.
A perfect balance between unity and contrast can be achieved by choosing one or two accent colours for accessories, such as artwork or throw pillows that don’t clash with the main colour scheme. This ensures that the accent colour is used sparingly around the room and provides contrast without breaking the unity and harmony.
Make Use of Repetition
The use of repetition in interior design is a technique often employed to create rhythm and bring harmony to a space | Designed by Rodolfo Dordoni for Minotti London
Repetition is a common technique that can help achieve unity and harmony in interior design. Repetition is defined as the use of an element or elements more than once in the same design, which allows for the creation of visual connections between objects, so they feel like they belong together on some level.
This can be achieved by using colours, patterns and textures that share similar characteristics. It can be an accent colour, a distinctive decorative element, or a pattern that draws the eye.
For example, if the dining room has white walls and dark-coloured furniture, then using dark-coloured furniture in other rooms will help tie them together visually. Another example of this is the use of a specific shape throughout the space, such as a round coffee table and lamps with a round base.
Focus on the Space as a Whole
Creating a unified and harmonious interior design often requires thorough planning and attention to detail with the right combination of colours, textures, patterns, shapes and styles. However, focusing too much on the individual pieces rather than the space as a whole can often influence our perspective and be misguiding as a result.
To create a cohesive look and feel, start with the overall design of the room rather than individual elements. Allowing oneself to take a step back to look at the space as a whole is the best way to avoid making decisions based on the smallest details rather than overall balance and flow.
This will ensure that all of the elements in the space come together — from furniture placement to lighting choices — before moving to progress.
Understanding Harmony & Unity in Interior Design
Unity and harmony in interior design are two concepts that are often confused with one another. While they do go hand in hand, they are also different in many ways and understanding that is essential to creating beautiful and harmonious interior spaces.
There are many ways to achieve unity and harmony in interior design. In this guide, we have covered the following:
- Establishing a theme
- Choosing a unifying element
- Adding contrast for visual interest
- Making use of repetition
- Focusing on the space as a whole
By following the advice highlighted in this guide, one can easily design a space that feels complete.