Do you have rhythm?

Rhythm is all around us.  We hear it but we also see it, sometimes without realizing it.  It’s an inherent part of nature.  In the world of interior design it is one of the guiding principles.  It creates interest, focus and leads your eye through a room.  It can be subtle or make a bold statement.

It is attained though repetition of any of the design elements: line, color, light, texture, pattern, scale or proportion.  Alternating two or more elements in a regular pattern is another method.  Progression is also a way to create rhythm (for example moving from light to dark ombre).

Below is a sampling of some great rooms, and a few of the ways we incorporate design elements to create rhythm.

Rhythm comes into play in various ways in this room including the color blue, the wallpaper pattern and the crown moulding detail.


Interior Design by Tom Scheerer, House Beautiful, 2013 via

The grand beds, with their graceful curves and black and white linens make for a beautiful and restive retreat.  Notice the rhythm created by using the same dark wood of the beds for the artwork and mirror framing.  The same color tone and straight lines can be seen decorating the shams.  The vertical lines of the canopies are repeated in the wood detailing of the ceiling.



In the picture below, we love how the floor pattern creates rhythm through repetition and leads your eye across the room as you enter.  There is also the repeat of the great turquoise tables and brass mirrors (balance is here too – revisit our 1st Design Principles blog, Balancing Act).  The detailed crown moulding is another example of rhythm at work.



Again, a floor pattern that draws the eye around the room, is mirrored by the patterned ceiling in this gorgeous room by Kelly Werstler.  The colors, black, brass, and gray, are repeated throughout (the black table, grey sculpture and small gold accessory in the forefront even maintain the beat here).


At Asiate, a restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City, you can imagine having a quiet, elegant dinner among the seemingly endless rows of booths and tables.  There is repetition in the architecture, the wallpaper in each booth, and the accents (the pillows, the simple red flowers and silver vase), and the multiple system of lights installed to create an airy sculpture.


Creating a somewhat predictable (yet interesting), easy to follow rhythm in commercial spaces is important in influencing the emotional state of customers and clients.  Calm, comfortable patrons (as well as employees) are the happiest!

new you

A New You, by Surroundings Interiors

HW reception

Hunter Warfield by Surroundings Interiors

In your own home or commercial space you can create rhythm through lighting installations, artwork, tile and fabric patterns.

Ruiz lighting

Surroundings Interiors

Duncan Am Stairs

Surroundings Interiors


We used this Ikat for a client. Ikats are bold and can be found in various colors, patterns and textures.


Rhythm can be subtle and natural.

Dot art SKB

Sometimes, with Rhythm, more is more.

Spelling rhythm may be the biggest challenge…soooo many consonants!  Thank goodness for spell check.  Send us pictures to add to our rhythm collection.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s