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How to Think Like an Interior Designer: Form

* Photo Credit: Imola, Vein

Understanding form and how it influences the look of a space is an important part of the design process.  Form describes the outline of any three-dimensional object that takes up space in the room you are working with.  Form is created through the combination of two or more two-dimensional shapes, creating angles and giving the object mass.  While the concept seems simple enough, putting a design plan into action requires a deeper understanding of this design element.

The shapes used to create form are divided into two categories: geometric and organic.  Geometric shapes have distinct lines and are usually man-made.  Circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles all fall into this category.  Organic shapes have more free-flowing lines, and their borders are generally not symmetrical.  Because of this, these forms are considered to be more natural.  Incorporating both types of shapes into a room will give it a more welcome feeling.  Too many hard edges in a room do not promote relaxation, so allow a few organic shapes to soften the look.

Form can also be open or closed.  Open forms can be looked through and have negative space which gives the objects an airy feeling.  Closed forms lack negative space and exhibit an enclosed surface.  As a result, they appear to have more visual weight than their open counterparts.  Forms can be perceived as heavier or lighter no matter how much the item weighs.  Objects with more visual weight promote sturdiness while forms that appear to be lighter give the viewer an impression of delicacy.

 

Understanding how forms are recognized will assist you in bringing balance to a room.  It is pleasant to use a dominant shape in the space and add additional objects that look similar to accessorize the room.  A large rectangular desk can be paired nicely with rectangular shelving on the walls.  Maintain control of the shapes you choose for your space as too much of the same can overwhelm the space and too many different shapes can give a room an incongruent look.