Modern farmhouse, mid-century modern, contemporary. I bet a specific type of apartment style comes to mind when you think about these terms. And while traveling down the Pinterest rabbit hole exploring the impeccably styled apartment versions of these styles can be intoxicating to say the least, it’s not always individual.
Your apartment, especially your first place, is an expression of who you are. You are not an accessory of the apartment, the apartment is the accessory to your personality.
Here’s an example: A high-end design magazine tells you that you that it’s design-suicide to mix a Scandinavian style coffee table with a gilded age style couch. But, you love both of those pieces of furniture. More so, you like them together. So do it!
While design has basic principles, your apartment is an expression of you! Don’t be afraid to take risks based on what other people have to say about it. Draw from different sources of information and curate a home that is purely yours.
Let’s take a look at the 5 basic design principles: Balance, Unity, Rhythm, Proportion and Emphasis.
Balance refers to the visual stability of the space and how symmetry and asymmetry work to achieve composition. For instance, if I have a couch, loveseat, coffee table, console and 2 side tables in my living room and nothing in my dining room, the space is not balanced. The placement of objects in a room will influence how you and your guests eyes move around the room, and in turn, how comfortable you feel in the space. This balance of things will be different for everyone and based on how you personally use your space.
Unity is the overall harmony between elements of a design. So right now you may be thinking- “Nat, you literally just told us to design however we want, and now you’re telling us there needs to be unity? What the heck?” Okay, just let me explain.
Unity should not be confused with style. A style is a set furniture and decor type that falls into a defined range of parameters. Unity is how these items tie together with one another. Whether it be non-clashing patterns, complementary or directly contrasting colors, or purchasing furniture that’s the same color with different design styles.
Whether it be a repetition of colors, patterns, or materials- using a general rhythm scheme within a space can help tie it all together. To confuse you just a bit more, rhythm is not the same as unity. Maybe rhythm is buying matching succulent planters and placing them all around your home. This will help to connect various parts of your space. Or, maybe gold accents are your rhythm. There’s no perfect formula to how you use rhythm in your space. Just keep in mind that it will help bring your space together.
This is where paying attention to your apartments dimensions can help ensure a more cohesive style. Simply finding a suitable number of objects to own (sometimes less is more!) can give a space proportion. Sometimes, instead of three futons, you may just need a loveseat and a chair.
Remember this- color, contrast, shape and texture. This can be the main point of focus in a room that every other piece of furniture or decor will work around. This could be a unique piece of artwork from a local fair, a unique table, or in my case- a yellow couch. Taking the plunge on a unique piece of furniture or decor can be daunting, but if you let all your other items work around this emphasized piece, it will help to tie your space together.
While these principles aren’t set in stone, they’ll set up some great general guidelines to reference when configuring your apartment. Draw inspiration from your favorite styles and fuse them in a way that makes your apartment unique to who you are. Happy designing!