Session # 6 Harmony

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Good morning everyone and welcome to the final basic guideline to good design !


Harmony is the guideline that brings everything together

Harmony = (assuring all elements work together)

In a successful room, all the elements must work together in harmony. This means that everything should feel appropriate and nothing should feel out of place

In other words all pieces in your design should be in harmony with one another, and should exhibit the same sense of mood

Harmony includes (5) categories

  • Scale
  • Proportion
  • Symmetry
  • Quality
  • Budget

** Remember – A successful room is:

  • Functional
  • Expresses a mood
  • Exhibits a sense of harmony

Below is a photo of a room I feel is in perfect harmony

perfect harmony

A room works when all the elements – furniture, accessories, fabrics & colors – work together harmoniously. When you walk into a well-designed room, you immediately sense that everything in the room seems to work and that every element is just right


All the pieces should be of appropriate scale to the size of the space. In a small bedroom, a king-sized bed would be out of scale. It would not be in harmony with the size of the room. Smaller rooms need smaller scaled furniture

Same would go for a large living room, using small pieces of furniture will look completely out of place, and not in harmony with the size of the room


These examples may be simple – but they get the point across

Lamp harmony .1
Shade is to small for the base
Lamp harmony 1
Shade is to large for the base
Lamp harmony . 2
Perfect proportion

Proportions don’t only apply to individual pieces such as the table fixtures

To achieve a harmonious room, all the pieces must be in harmony to each other. The sofa must be in harmony with the side chairs, tables, cabinets and lighting

Your eye will tell you if something is off, if there are pieces out of place. If that happens (remove them) and replace with pieces more suitable in scale. When the room is in perfect harmony you will feel it !


Below is a perfect example of symmetry

b4be5efa64650a47c9498d8c4634c71e 2
Perfect symmetry

The definition of symmetry is:

Correspondence in size, form, and arrangement of parts on opposite sides of a plane, line or point. Regularity of form or arrangement in terms of like, reciprocal or corresponding parts

Good symmetry is when an arrangement is pleasing to the eye

A few (like) words are: Similarity, harmony, rhythm, balance, evenness & equality

Here are a few photos of GOOD symmetry & balance


Tip: Your rooms shape and size may not be conducive to creating a small intimate grouping like the one pictured above, but what ever the size, you now have the tools to create an arrangement that is functional, comfortable, harmonious & pleasing to the eye

Here are a few photos of NOT SO GOOD examples of symmetry & balance


I chose this photo because the accessories are not arranged in a pleasing manner plus they feel out of scale


I chose this photo, because my eye instantly went to the art work behind the chest. It looks to large for the arrangement, and the lamp feels to small. There is no sense of balance or symmetry here


Quality simply means that every piece you select should be harmonious in quality with all the other furniture and furnishings in the room

For example, if you are designing a room around authentic antiques, then an inexpensive replica would be out of harmony with the other pieces

Same would go for, if you are designing a room using budget friendly furniture, an original Louis XV chair would be unsuitable. It would be out of harmony with the economical nature of the other pieces of furniture

So when selecting the furniture & accessories for your new room, be sure they are (economically) suitable to each other


Budget also falls under harmony, in fact it might be one of the most important categories

When you first decide to design, re-design or re-fresh a room, the first thing you need to consider is budget !

Budget always plays a key role in design

Once you have a dollar amount in mind please use my (good rule of thumb) guide below

I am basing this off of a $5,000 dollar living room budget

Furniture: 45% = $2,250

Lighting: 20% = $1,000

Window treatments: 20% = $1,000

Accessories: 15% = $750

This is just a guideline, everyone will have a different scenario

It’s a good idea to keep this guide in mind. You don’t want to fall in love with a sofa that costs $3,000 and then not have enough to purchase the rest of the items ( keeping the design within the same economical nature)

I am going to end this final session with the perfect quote


” Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”

Antoine De Saint-Exupery

If you have questions on any of the sessions, or just have a personal design question, please send me an email and I will be more than happy to answer your questions


Next week I will post a re-cap of all the design sessions

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About the Author

Terri Ortega

Terri Ortega

Terri Ortega is a professional interior designer. She started Back to Basics Interior Design in 2019 with a mission to teach the basic guidelines of good design. Instead of just showing photos of beautifully designed rooms, she wanted to share with everyone the skills and tools to achieve the same professional results in their own homes.

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