Designers Tips and Tutorials Home Decor

Unity and Harmony: Interior Design Basics

February 29, 2016

Unity and Harmony! Welcome to part 4 of 4 in our CoContest Interior Design Basics series:

When it comes to building anything, it’s always a good idea to start from the foundations and work your way out. In the world of interior design, there remains a tried and tested suite of basic conventions to follow in order to produce excellent results. Last week, we looked at the importance of rhythm and focal point. Today, we’re taking a journey through the equally crucial elements of unity and harmony. Read on, and get inspired!

unity and harmony

via Jo Carmichael

What is unity?

Unity is considered one of the most important, though rather difficult to grasp, principles of design. Unity is brought about when every element of a piece fuses together to create a harmonic, balanced ‘whole’. In short, design unity is a state where all  elements are working together to produce a satisfying and aesthetically pleasing result. However, it’s worth remembering that a unifying interior doesn’t necessarily have to be a collection of matched pieces; this example above is a wonderful illustration of how different patterns and elements can come together to create a thoughtful and well designed space.

unity and harmony

via Amie Corley

What is harmony?

Unity and harmony are closely linked. In fact, unity is also sometimes called harmony; because of their similarities and shared properties, they’re easily mixed up. You could say that harmony relates to specific units, such as the way your choice of different geometric shapes synchronise or work together inside a given design setup. Take the fine example above: a harmonic design motif can be seen in the pattern of the furniture, floor rug, chandelier and corner plant. Unity, on the other hand, is about how all the different units – shape, colour, focal point, etc. – fit and work together.


unity and harmony

via Paul Massey

How to create unity

Unity can be created through a number of different ways and methods – too many to mention here! Ultimately, what ought to be strived for is a sense of overall aesthetic cohesiveness. If you’re starting from scratch, draw up a floor plan and move things around until they feel right. Work with different patterns and colours, and work towards creating a mood, feel and vibe of cohesion. When in doubt, always consult with a professional in the know to help guide you to united design brilliance.

unity and harmony

via Hugh Leslie

How to create harmony

The same can be said with harmony, though given that we’re working with specific elements within the overall picture here, our parameters are a little more defined. Harmony can be easily achieved with the right combination of patterns, colours, textures, as well as styles of furniture and accessory. Take this neat example above as a case in point: an effortlessly harmonic living space, vibrant with colour, texture and shape, but fundamentally balanced and in proportion.

unity and harmony

via Toby Scott

How to avoid mistakes

Though they might seem a little abstract to begin with, creating unity and harmony can be a lot more achievable than you might think. However, there are a few general pitfalls you might want to avoid along the way. Ensure your furniture and accessories complement each other rather than clash. Obviously, too much clutter can be a big design no-no; keeping things light and spacious is a good way to start, as our fine example above shows. Always give yourself maximum room to move (you can always add more afterwards). Ultimately, as you work your way through each element within your given design space, keep your eye on the greater whole and always strive for a beautiful, harmonic and united finish.

You Might Also Like