Today’s post is a bit of a teaser.   

While vacationing a few weeks ago in Eastern Washington, I spent a lot of time outdoors.

And on my bike.

While riding the scenic back roads, it occurred to me that much of what we see in Nature mirrors the Elements of Design – the principal tools that designers, architects and all creative types invariably use in their craft.

These Elements of Design include everything from color, space, balance, shape, line, proportion and much more – while lending interest and excitement to a space.

Just as they do in Nature.

Let me explain.



Imagine the natural world without color!

It’s almost painful to think of.

Everywhere we look, on any given day, we are welcomed by a riot of color in our surroundings – both indoors and out.

Sometimes it makes sense to balance the colors of Nature outside your windows, with a soothing palette inside. A neutral palette can make strong colors pop – just as you see in the vivid sunsets shown above.

Other times, a desert landscape might call for bolder colors within.

Different colors dictate a different mood, and can lift our spirits.

In Nature, the most soothing colors are green and blue.



Balance in a room is achieved through Symmetry or Asymmetry in the basic layout of your furnishings.

The essence of Symmetry is this:

If you were to draw an imaginary line down the center of a room, dividing it in half – each half would be a mirror image of the other.

In Nature, we can find a perfect mirror image reflected in a lake, just like in this picture!

If we were to draw a vertical line down this image, the two halves would no longer match.

That’s asymmetry.

Lastly, if you picture the petals of a flower, radiating out from the center, that’s what we call a Radial arrangement.

Just like a set of dining chairs radiating out from a circular table.



For this exercise, when I think of pattern, the vineyards of Eastern Washington come to mind.

Not to mention, the alternating rhythm of vineyards and apple orchards that also come into play.

Each creates a pattern of its own.

Too much bold pattern could ruin a design, especially in the home, so knowing when to pare back is key,

If you love pattern, try focusing on just one favorite fabric or introducing softer colors to tie the room together.

Speaking of which…



There are so many natural rhythms in Nature, whether or not we are aware of it.

There’s the rhythm of the seasons, for one.

Rhythms and pattern are closely intertwined.

For example, in the image to the left, if you were to focus on just one object – the trees, perhaps – or a color (green), interspersed with the dusty browns of the hills, you will notice a pattern, yes, but also an inherent rhythm.

The latter is what makes your eye travel from one end of the panorama to the other, and back again.

As in Nature, rhythm plays an equally important role in your home.

It’s what lends excitement to a space, as our eyes take everything in.

Of course, it’s easy to overdo things.

That’s where Space comes in.

 …to be continued next week.