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Modern Living

December 2013 YuLan Ruan

Table of Contents Design Thesis …………………...4 About the Editor ………………...5 Elements of Design ………..........6 Line ……………………..7 Texture ………………….11 Light ……………………15 Color ……………………19 Space ……..…………….23 Shape ……...……………27 Form ……………………31 Principles of Design ……….…...35 Balance ……………….. 36 Harmony ……………….40 Emphasis ……………….44 Massing ………..……… 47 Rhythm …………………50 Proportion ………………54 Scale ……………………57

Design Thesis As the era evolves furthermore, people’s taste changes as well to go with the flow. We all want a home that we can settle in nicely and feel comfortable with. Although you may cannot tell the difference much from the outside because some houses can be very similar, but you can definitely tell how different one is from another once you get to the inside. Everyone’s home varies somehow, and the inside contains many design elements and principles such as color, space, balance, and harmony.

About the editor

My name is YuLan Ruan. I was born and originally raised in China. I stayed until the 6th grade and was then moved into the United States of America. The USA is a wonder ful place to live in. I am currently attending East Carolina University in Greenville, Nor th Carolina, and earning my degree as a major in Interior Design. I love to design new things and redesign what I already have ever since I was just a little girl. I have a big family, but ever yone is separated at dif ference places. I have to travel to go visit them. I love traveling to dif ference places because I can always find something new and inspiring.

Elements of Design  Line  Texture  Light  Color  Space  Shape  Form


• Straight horizontal lines provide a feeling of strength, solidity, or tranquility. It can be used to stretch and prolong shapes and forms. The feeling of solidity is shown by the horizontal lines of the building.

Straight Horizontal


• Straight vertical lines can be used to provide a feeling of height, strength, or dignity. The vertical lines in this picture draw attention from up and down giving it strength and dignity. The length of the vertical line determines the height.

Straight Vertical

• Curved lines can be used to provide a feeling of delicate or graceful effect. The curved lines created by the curtain in the picture creates a sense of graceful and softness to it. It also creates a sense of interest as comparing to just a plain flat curtain.



• Texture is the surface quality of an object. Not only that it can be touched or felt from memory or knowledge, it also gives a surface more interest and character, along with sound absorption or reflection. The texture from the picture below have a real surface quality that can actually be touched and feel. It has a tactile texture that is rough because the wood is not well polished.


• Implied Texture is a texture that you can see and feel, but cannot actually touch it because it does not have a real surface quality. Just like a picture, you can see and know the person inside, but you cannot touch him/her.


• Reflective textures can reflect the light and use it to brighten a space. Usually many well polished objects can reflect light such as glass, highly polished woods and walls such as the one in the picture on the left. The light of the lamp is reflected on the wall, even creating a slight image of how Reflective the lamp is like.



• People can be very sensitive to light if the proper amount is not used correctly. It can cause drowsiness and eye sight problems. Task lights are used for specific activities such as reading, washing, or writing. In this case, the task light on the left is used in the bathroom for washing.

• The most purest and typical form of light is natural lighting, coming from either the sun or the moon. It can spread warmth everywhere it hits and it is the most energy reserving types of light.


• There are many colors in the world that we can create and use as lights to create various mood effects and use for multi purposes. They can transform a room to have a completely different feeling, making the room much more interesting and having its own unique style. sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=R_K1olEPHvq8pM&tbnid=WjJgeFMDQlEqGM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwADgW&u 86145981351397


COLOR sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=MnQl_srlSguWZM&tbnid=WsttXyEJMyMkvM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwADgf&url=http%3A%2F

• A color can be changed to a new color by just simply changing the amount of hues or add another color. Saturation and the value of the color can also be altered to give more variety. Monochromatic color scheme is composed of one hue in different values. Usually patterns and texture are added to be more interesting. sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=1ZleCPTFN3RJIM&tbnid=bzk8yk30iLiXvM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwADigAQ&url=http%3A%2F


• Colors can alter the characteristic of objects. Cool colors usually are more serious and warm colors the opposite. Neutral colors fall in between the two and are usually very blendable with every other colors. Below is a neutral color scheme. sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=7fuJvDTHdP8lfM&tbnid=kLA4rfZAbiwxcM:&ved=0CA UQjBwwADgL& %2Fuploads%2F2012%2F09%2FNeutral-living-room2.jpeg&ei=tpdUorCIcvOkQeJxoGgCw&psig=AFQjCNEnB2aQW17gZuaJpDRYaNywMEqRA&ust=1386148150608501

Neutral Palette sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=xhdaeR1lox8jFM&tbn id=uZI69btoMpgLlM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwAA&url=http %2Ffs046%2F1102581599525%2Fimg%2F24.jpg%3Fa %3D1102881258253&ei=5qOdUvnmEoLakQe1Ng&psig =AFQjCNFcKz6YZfLGpBStB87XSfvbW1a29A&ust=13 86149222364900

• All colors have their opposite and both can help another to enhance the effects of the colors, making them more appealing to the eyes. Direct complementary colors are two colors that are directly opposite on the color wheel.

Direct Complementary


• Space is a continuous area that is free or occupied. Positive spaces are spaces that are occupied. In the picture below the positives spaces would be the structured parts of the window, not including the spaces in between.


• Negative spaces would be the opposite of positive spaces, just like negatives and positives. The negative spaces in the picture on the left would be the spaces in between the structure because they are free spaces.


• space sometimes only belongs to a certain someone and marked as their territory. The picture below can be an image of a private study room, which means is own by only one person and it is their space of territory. sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=4vNlUCvOs1YeOM&tbnid=K72hFvZp1nOrsM:&ved=0 CAUQjBwwADg8& %2F2010%2F11%2Fstudyroom.jpg&ei=xqydUomGHsyskAekmoGwAw&psig=AFQjCNEIm BCe6U31rh0ddh5ht1m7X2R0kg&ust=1386151494572826


SHAPE sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=Hb70dqWDIH5tNM&tbnid=_Y661pPs6MI9dM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwAA&url=http%3A%2F


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• Shapes are created with connecting lines. Abstract shapes are shapes that only exist in ideas or thoughts, not the natural world. In the picture on the left, the structure of the shelf may be simplified and reorganized from the original in some way to make it look this way.

• Natural or organic shapes are shapes that composed of curvilinear lines that flows, round, and turns like the ones that actually exists in nature. In the picture below, the interior shapes like the inside of a cave. sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=VPpE6EVkhvzSiM&tbnid=ASVuiQb_Bblt6M:&ved=0CAUQjBwwA Dgm& %2FAAAAAAAAAtg%2FiG-EM_sbUfY%2Fs1600%2Fnautilus %2B2.jpg&ei=4LadUo3VAsapkAffwIAw&psig=AFQjCNF8etm7EgciSSePLcfM30HzcYIQpg&ust=13861 54080094762

Natural/Organic sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=METobwVcqQZ1cM&tbnid=n mqJ273jHvm1qM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwAA&url=http%3A%2F %2F2009%2F12%2FThe-Otto-Bock-Building-Interior-Staircase550x824.jpg&ei=DbmdUvKGHYrokAe854GACA&psig=AFQjC NEIhdVTCumn8Ff-k8IQ4YICq0EdsA&ust=1386154637609395


• Shapes that shows movements are dynamic shapes. They can lead the human eyes to a certain point or direction. The picture on the left guides the eyes to look down, just like one needs to walk down the stairs.


• Form is the visible shape or configuration of an object. The basic geometric forms are circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles. The interior of the image below is mostly made of many rectangles together. sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=Loz8n1yvtZQ6KM&tbnid=x58kA5fUX6Eq6M:&ved=0CAUQjBwwAD g2& %2FVeK-04hmnPM%2Fs400%2FThe%2Bmodern%2Bgeometric%2Bhomeinterior.jpg&ei=NrydUom6LIagkQeEnYGADw&psig=AFQjCNGMfLkrv_LfuxNE1pW028e3dhr_A&ust=1386155446774802


• Abstract forms are usually hard to recognize. It may originate from something natural, but over simplified on the way and turn into something totally different from the original like the image on the upper left corner.

Abstract sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=sKb23aF_2o88iM&tbni d=jnlO4ESB065WtM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwADjUAQ&url= %2Fidlasia%2F2012%2FMar%2FPROJECTS %2FMountain %2F1.jpg&ei=EcGdUsrFNZLLkAeLiIGIBA&psig=AFQjC NGS9jgz8bDjP31aQbcjt1fv98l5xA&ust=13861566899257 61

• Forms that can be actually found in nature are natural forms. Natural forms are not used as much as other types of forms because they can be hard to organize into the spaces. However, they helps to make spaces much more interesting. The image below is a table originally inspired by the form of a snail shell.


Principles of Design  Balance  Harmony  Emphasis  Massing  Rhythm  Proportion  Scale

BALANCE sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=8jiqjcQKWQjEtM&tbnid=kvx4Lavps3HzSM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwADgM&url=http%3A%2F

Visual Symmetry • Symmetrical balance is created by arranging objects equally on either side of an imaginary line. Visual symmetry can be seen by just looking at an arrangement of objects. If the image below is cut in half, both side would look the same.

Structural Symmetry sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=CWtuCbs5mwxGVM& tbnid=dXH1ardOdP9CqM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwADhh&url FQjCNHpuSBf5CT3XQGbEY3LU7Jz0_e7g&ust=1386165830041806

• Structural symmetry can be located within the structure of an object. The structures will look exactly the same if imagining a line was down from the middle. In the image on the left, every part of the structure are mirrored from the other side. sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=kZrh2D dNRscAyM&tbnid=L75yNSGHhhH7HM: &ved=0CAUQjBwwADgm&url=http%3A %2Fwp-content%2Fuploads %2F2013%2F03%2F4Den1.jpg&ei=qeadUpqJFcvMsQTzooH4A Q&psig=AFQjCNFzE39EVY13K8_PoQPu tJZyp4SjGg&ust=1386166313403512

Visual Asymmetry

• Asymmetrical balance is created by grouping objects or furnishings to give a sense of equilibrium. Many different objects are included in the images below, however, they are all still balanced.

HARMONY %2Fwpcontent%2Fuploads %2FAhwahnee.jpg&ei=8SScUvDcGZSQkAfOmIHwDw&psig=AFQjCNGUBkt5txtWayjK4Dkd_IMhUqLC7g&ust=1386051185465185

Unity through Color • Harmony in design means all parts of the visual image relate to and complement each other. In the image below, the color yellow is used with different values and saturation to all blend together in harmony. A feeling of elegant is shown through the use of variety. sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=iiD4KdZXJOCBvM&tbnid=vKS9q LqdBiu8uM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwADgL&url=http%3A%2F %2FAAAAAAAAAbI%2FcdbgvX5iWds %2Fs1600%2FUnity5.jpg&ei=uidUoHDGNWosQSjg4HIAw&psig=AFQjCNEtr2_rDXLllbL0ZSSrKcRl34h6w&ust=1386166906453879

Unity through Repetition • Unity can also be seen by using repetition. The repetition of the same draperies ties the entire space together as a unity in harmony. It would have been different if the draperies were not the same colors or styles, where as the space can appear separated instead of one. sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=OAKk3oPzx2nZRM&tbnid=Cfl lFkaY4-PIlM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwAA&url=http%3A%2F %2FAAAAAAAADLU%2FcU6xaQxfO3A 1uuT0YCI9OA&ust=1386167743869707

Variety through Color • Variety can be shown by simply changing one single detail. It can be colors, shapes, types, direction, etc. In an image such as the one below, one can clearly tell that there is variety within it because of all the various colors that are used. However, even with all the different color, they still all blend in harmony. %2F2013%2F05%2FThe-Joy-of-Variety-Colorful-Living-Room-Color-Scheme-Interior-Design.jpg&ei=tudUtKKK4i2kAeDp4CoDA&psig=AFQjCNHqmBO3qpJdvVwTCyeRrlScvn65Qw&ust=1386168630760495

EMPHASIS sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=EPCZpIdCo6qsvM&tbnid=sM_dbckCd3PS0M:&ved=0CAUQjBwwAA&url=http%3A%2F %2F2013%2F01%2F02%2Fdc00d1a6.jpg.505x650_q85.jpg&ei=SyScUvC6IMeekQePqYHIDg&psig=AFQjCNEiNnr2uCIJq7-

Visual Focal Point

• The Focal point is something that draws attention from one the most. It should be the first thing one sees once they are within eye sight. Within the image below, the orange seating is the visual focal point when one’s eyes will immediately turn to it once within eye sight because it stands out the most. sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=7M_603TbDkRtgM&tbnid=rnOpnhkFPW0ihM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwA Dhz& 86170027688120

Structural Focal Point • Structural focal point refers to a focal point that can be easily identified within the structure of an object. The focal point of the image below would be the spider like structure at the top that is secured by a beam. It is the most attracting object within the image. %2Fmodern_contemporary_home_interior_custom_design_Topsider_10039.jpg&ei=sP2dUq2IK4e2kAen9YHQAw&psig=AFQjCNFoeE B5nv22r0e_buIitGjTDENP9g&ust=1386172208749660

MASSING sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=HGKWr5sMFOgEKM&tbnid=USL9O4QWLGMFbM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwADgg&url=http%3A%2F

Actual Density • Actual density is when an object densely takes up space while it is there, something that has a mass to it. In the image below, density is shown by the crowding of furniture. The pillows for example are in very close contact with another, giving the sofa even more feeling of density to it. sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=BGT_KLjavaj_PM&tbnid=8K6VQe1ZQiXLkM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwA DgJ& =1386178392508513

Optical Density • Optical density is when an object appears to be dense, but is not actually dense. In the space below, the room may look dense, but it is not if you look closely. There is a lot of spaces between each furniture, making the room not as dense. sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=V9PvMyj4JDC1KM&tbnid=RnoxNYtzEqjvlM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwADgs&url=http %2Fs640%2Fbest-house-interiorideas.jpg&ei=4BSeUqb4O6TLsQT98YHYBQ&psig=AFQjCNENYdL1VvY1fitAnHgC2tczrxSa7Q&ust=13861781450666 12

RHYTHM sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=FrRjEnAqTNFIXM&tbnid=rGxgIMtl29rd8M:&ved=0CAUQjBwwADgQ&url=http%3A%2F %2Fs640%2FVPremiosPorcelanosa_JetroConti_01.jpg&ei=bCacUpKjDovrkQf2m4DIDQ&psig=AFQjCNHO00GkWmP42_8L44nANQGp mJ3DDg&ust=1386051564300019

Repetitive • Repetitive rhythm refers to objects that repeats in self, details, or environments in a rhythmical way. The image below has a repetitive rhythm because the use of repeating rectangles and lines, especially the ones on the wall, leading a sense of direction. sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=mpKnz1VPkNn5yM&tbnid=KfrXgvWQIjEo2M:&ved =0CAUQjBwwAA& %2Fuploads %2F2010%2F11%2F1_2_shootfactory.jpg&ei=oPqdUtTrJpHksAT12YHADQ&psig=AF QjCNEFqCYWq_W6-FWHYGd4SH-0_s4ozg&ust=1386171424700091

Climatic • Climatic rhythm is rhythm with an excitement point somewhere. In the image below, the climax of the rhythm scheme is the bottle of flowers on the table because it draws attention the most. The position of the sofas also help to create rhythm. sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=LQrS_1V5dNXfWM&tbnid=OZQqpXfnhxTiwM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwADgJ&url=http%3A%2F

Transitional/Flowing • Transitional or flowing rhythm is a rhythm that keeps the viewer’s eyes moving along with it. The greenish yellow color in the image helps to create movement in a curved way by looking either from the front left curving to the front right or the other way around. sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=cg3J3_DlCbpDjM&tbnid=8uHuVRNGn 3WRhM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwADgj& %2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2013%2F09%2Fliving-room-dining-roomcombo-273.jpg&ei=kxmeUsrfEYTxkQe_y4CoCQ&psig=AFQjCNGAVXL2aZ3Vcu3Vh3MNOlX0lDeAw&ust=1386179347342356

PROPORTION sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=2qLCmDOFGaAzHM&tbnid=tmNebeHnyGLAiM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwADgO&url=http%3A%2F %3F__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION%3D1302011674718&ei=XSecUtnVJIeOkAfjoCoBw&psig=AFQjCNHZPKviWp0PctodTuQ_kPJ-OTKI0Q&ust=1386051805654216

Object in Proportion with Space

• The proportion of an object can be affected by size and the environment it is located in. objects being in proportion with space means that all the furniture pieces are the right size that they supposed to be and they all fit perfectly well in the space provided just like the image below. sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=lNaLald10gibwM&tbnid=_PJXfnoETMOcSM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwADgJ&url=http%3A%2F %2F2012%2F07%2Ffurniture_q3nsb.jpg&ei=0RueUrOrFo_PkQfZxoCQCg&psig=AFQjCNEgINXWn6uKTcDHUYzEsa7LzU8khQ &ust=1386179921438097

Object Not in Proportion with space

• When objects are not in proportion with the space provided, it means that the object is either too big or too small for the space. In the image below, the chair is not in proportion because it is too big in human scale.

SCALE sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=HtGQUr7AK1kaGM&tbnid=03ysNzAyCQxHdM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwADhJ&url=http%3A%2F

Human Scale • The human scale is a scale that used for measurement when making things according to the human size. The image below shows a standard combination of chairs and a table in human scale for an average person to use. sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=9kd5c7qJ_mHK3M&tbnid=xAjQY__AyQcjrM:&ved=0CAUQjBwwAA&url=http%3A%2F

Symbolic Scale • Symbolic scale is a scale used to make things much bigger or smaller than the human scale. In the image below, symbolic scale is shown with the watch tower that is placed in front of the house. A real watch tower would be much larger than this one. PCroArcGfO6iWQQDxZnrA&ust=1386181545970615

References • Author/Editor: YuLan Ruan • Photos taken by author in

Teachey, NC • Other Resources: https://

Ruan YuLan F13 ECU