Design Rules Interior Design

How to create drama in your interiors using texture, shapes and shadows

4th January 2016
South African Interior Design Inspiration

On my recent trip to South Africa, I was fascinated by the use of texture, shapes and shadows that are used in interiors. Due to the sheer amount of light that is available, you can use these elements to create dramatic interiors that work really well.

The way that texture is used is quite unique. Layers of textures in varying depths create very interesting interiors, and walls that are textured, that throw shadows, as well as the use of large indoor plants that create such interesting shapes and of course, shadows again. In England, we think about how to light a space and maximise the amount of light in a space, but in sunny South Africa, you need to think about how to limit light in a space. It’s an interesting problem to have.

As always, there’s a few things that we can learn from design cultures that are different to ours. Not necessarily copying, but thinking about these elements and how we could potentially apply them to our homes.

  • When creating a dramatic scheme, you want there to be lots of contrast and shadows that move during the day.
  • Study and notice how different types of light reflect on different textures. A rough texture often throws a softer shadow compared to a sharp edge.
  • Using the same colour in a range of textures can make the colour look very different.
  • In a dramatic space, you want touch and sight to be very important, think about placing textures throughout the room that make you want to walk over and touch and feel them.
  • Limit the amount of texture used in a space, two or three contrasting textures is enough.
  • The more extreme the texture contrast, the more drama you will add to the space.
  • Think of texture the same way you would think about using colour – it’s equally important.
  • Think about the shapes of your furniture, do the shapes work together in the room?
  • Look at the shadows that are cast by the furniture/plants in the room, does it create drama? Think of using large plants strelitzia, palm trees, monstera deliciosa etc. to create very dramatic shapes that throw large architectural shadows.
  • Use oversized floor lamps or large tall plants to ‘lift’ your eye up in the corners of the room.

These are just some tips that I was thinking about and reading about while away. They will definitely help you to add some drama to your interiors.

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