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.

Cool Picks from Society6

Surrounding’s Marketing/Media Director turned us on to Society6.  It’s a site that offers artwork in various formats to create fun home decor (everything from prints and canvases to mugs and tote bags) at unbelievably inexpensive prices.  They have accent pillows, art, clocks, shower curtains, rugs and bedding.  A collective of artists from around the world join and allow their artwork to be turned into original decor.

Throw pillow available from Society6.


Original artwork Wall Clock, using Chanel logo, by Can Encin, available at Society6.

We’ve decided to use some of their products in a teen bedroom currently in the works at Surroundings.  We love how Society6 carries a theme across the board — one stop shopping for the fun at heart.  This was also a way to experiment with another new discovery, Sampleboad (but that’s a subject for a blog post of it’s own in the future).
Isabella other walls

Bedroom Sampleboard by Surroundings Interiors.

This teenager wants a Hollywood Glam/Shabby Chic bedroom.  Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe are favorites.
There were hundreds of Audrey and Marilyn prints, pillows, shower curtains, rugs and wall clocks from which to choose.   We have used a few of their framed prints and throw pillows for this project. It was a tough decision!

Audrey Hepburn Quote Print by S.L. Fina

We were looking at black and white art prints for our shabby chic room, and in keeping with that theme, found more black and white samples to share with you (even a cool lego print for boys):
2'x3' rug by Ewan Arnolda

2’x3′ rug by Ewan Arnolda


Shower curtain by Stephanie Dubois.


Lego Patent Art Print by Hugo Pascoal.

If you check out the Society6 website, you can spend lots of time scrolling through thousands of prints, from Hollywood icons, like Audrey & Marilyn, to funny quotes and bright, abstract collages.  Perfect for the kid, teen, or college student in your life. Great place to find fun room decor.  We enjoyed our time browsing their collections, and can’t wait to complete this teen bedroom.  Watch for photos of the final product!

Project: St. Pete

We are just beginning a new project on beautiful Snell Isle.  A family of four recently purchased this two story, five bedroom home and they plan to embark on a major update.  Previous owners left behind a mix of styles and features that take away from the contemporary, open feel of the house. Also, it is important to this family, who just moved to the area, to settle in and make their new place feel like home.  Follow along as we begin!

Here are a few before pics:

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In the family room, we will be redesigning the fireplace and pulling in the wood tone from the living/dining room flooring.  Although the travertine floor and fireplace are nice, warmth and architectural interest is lacking.   We will add color and tie all of the areas together through wood detailing, fabrics, and accessories that reflect the family’s personality.

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The powder bath, pictured above, is generously sized.  The clients want to replace the existing cabinet with a sleeker sink, add wallpaper, replace the mirror, lighting and plumbing fixtures. This bathroom is adjacent to the front entry of the house, near the living area so it needs to provide the WOW! factor.  Here’s a peek at the wallpaper.


Cole & Son, Geometric Circus

It is a bold and colorful contemporary geometric from Cole & Son.  The impetus for our color scheme starts here. Our clients want a modern, fun – yet functional – space with a neutral background and bold pops of jewel toned colors.

After a morning at our local designer showroom, Interiors Trading, we pulled these fabrics.  They are bright, with neutral backgrounds and natural patterns.


Inspiration for other areas of the house:


Bertoia Counter Stools with bright seat pad.


Vibeke Fonnesburg Schmidt Chandelier




Caesarston Nougat,

The transformation begins!  Our great crew, led by Steve Pres, started this week.

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Changes are underway!  We’ve staged this project so that work on the entire house will never be taking place at one time — our clients can live comfortably in their home (as long as the kids stay off the scaffolding).  As we progress we will share the ins and outs of the project, so check back for action and “After” photos!

What do you think?  Ready to join us on this colorful adventure?


What makes a room ‘work’?  It’s so much more than good furniture and art.  While it helps to have great pieces, returning to the basic principles of design creates a space that really feels complete (no matter the style).

There are six basic principles.  We’ll talk about each in the coming weeks.

First on the list is BALANCE.   On any given day, whether at work, with family & friends, choosing what to eat, or even deciding how many of our favorite episodes of “House of Cards” we can watch in one night, we are always striving to maintain balance.  Too much or too little of any one thing, and we find ourselves feeling discombobulated!  In design, just as in life, the same is true, we must find balance to feel comfortable and just right.

There are three types of balance (radial, asymmetrical and symmetrical) in design.  Each share the principle that a room must be visually balanced through placement of furniture, art, lighting, and accessories.  Take a look, and you can easily see how balance helps create a calm, comfortable space.

Radial Symmetry

A light fixture, table or rug is often (not always) the center point of the room.



Symmetrical Balance

It’s all in the name!  Symmetrical balance requires that certain patterns, configurations, and colors are repeated, or mirrored.  Think of your early math lessons, when you were asked to fold pages and shapes in half to determine symmetry.  In both pictures below, you can do this.  Draw a line down the middle of the picture, and both halves are identical.

The first picture, below, is an example of symmetrical balance in a client’s home.  The fireplace is the focal and starting point (you can see the before picture).

securedownload-8       Ruiz before sitting areasecuredownload-8

Here’s another good example from House Beautiful.   More perfect symmetry here — the chairs, brackets, palm sculptures, and vases are identical.   Symmetrical balance creates a clean, calm, ordered sense of style.


Asymmetrical Balance (definitely more challenging!)

Asymmetrical balance can be difficult to achieve, but when done correctly yields a creative result.  It’s subtly nuanced, with balance often created through color and visual weight of pieces.  In these rooms, you won’t see too much that is identical.

This room on luxe is calm, cool and collected.


Two more good examples of asymmetrical balance.



Balance is important, in life and design, yet it’s often something we don’t notice, until we are off kilter.  Maintaining balance provides us with stability, structure and peace!

Seeing Red

Central Florida is the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World — and the close of the annual Florida Strawberry Festival, which took place earlier this month in Plant City, Fl, has us thinking of the most beautiful and scrumptious of fruits.  Besides it’s sweet, sugary taste, the strawberry adds color and energy to any plate.


It’s that attractive red color, and how it’s a dashing and bold design choice, that we’ll be dishing about today.

Red is an emotionally intense color.  Red stimulates the metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure (in a good way!).  Red indicates courage, strength, power, passion, love and danger.  The color red is often used (in some variation) in dining rooms because of its appetite stimulating effect.

And guess what?  Pantone’s 2015 color of the year is Marsala – an earthy, sophisticated shade of red.

Pantone Color of the Year,

Pantone Color of the Year, Marsala,

Many designers insist that each room should have at least a touch of red.

Below are some beautiful examples of a range of reds in various settings that we think are bold, bright, and daring.

What’s black and white and ‘red’ all over?


Check out the stairs below, from Architectural Digest — I love how the color is worked into the room in an original and inspiring way.  Red is not just for walls!


Another bold red door, below, and the black, white and red color scheme is so sharp.


Image via HouseBeautiful.

Bold & Beautiful

Often, a bathroom or powder room is the place to go bold.  Wake up to red and forego the morning joe…


Source Lonny Magazine,


Images via HouseBeautiful.

The Softer Side of Red

In the first photo below, by House Beautiful, you can see how red can be happy and cheerful, and also work with a softer color pallette.


Image via HouseBeautiful.


A softer red, from

It works with powder blue too – very pretty!

Image via The Tao of Dana.

Here is a great example, from the photographer Marc Wouters, of how red pops with black and can create a dramatic, moody setting!


Image via Marc Wouters.

Art work provides a single touch of red, in Aerin Lauder’s office, below, yet against the black creates a dramatic mood.



Red is vibrant, whether you go bold or soft, and sometimes all you need is a touch of red…

This dramatic, red range and hood provide all the color against a neutral backdrop.


Image via HouseBeautiful.

And, from  Bunny Williams,this room appeared in House Beautiful in 2009 — just one red egg chair and spot the red binding on the book underneath the side table.


In the pictures below, you can see how a touch of red adds that extra drama and ‘oomph’ to almost any room.

Images via HouseBeautiful.


Images via Architectural Digest.


Just a ‘light’ red – a little goes a long way in this room.


A neutral, calm pallet is energized by the red, blown glass chandelier.

Images via Architectural Digest.

The last few pictures show how reds mix with almost every color.  So, can you incorporate red in your home? Add a pot of geraniums, or a bright throw pillow, a red vase, or a bold lamp…and remember there are many shades of red.

Viva Las Vegas!

A few weeks ago my family celebrated our Mom’s 80th birthday in Las Vegas.  We stayed at The Wynn, checked out a show and played lots of slot machines!  While everything is over-the-top-grand in Sin City, some things that happen in Vegas – like great interior design ideas – should not stay in Vegas.



This leather wall panel is fabulous.  It takes leather wall covering to a new level!

On the right, another great wall panel – a deep, rich, embroidered textile.


This ‘little’ powder room off The Wynn lobby featured an Art Deco vibe.  Beautiful!

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LOVED this gold framework detail and vases of red roses against a bold blue background at the end of the lobby hallway to the elevators.  Beautiful textural framed pieces were everywhere.  There was no corner that was inconsequential.   There is a design lesson lurking there.

image7  vegas wynn phones

At The Wynn no detail was overlooked…loved the oversized glass drapery hold backs.  I felt like stopping and calling someone every time I walked past these silver phones that could be found throughout the hotel – just fabulous.

It’s hard not to have a great time in Las Vegas, especially when there is design inspiration all around. We can’t all have choreographed, fountain and light displays in our backyard, but I gathered so much inspiration that could be incorporated into residential design.  It would be a sin not to share!

Welcome to Our Blog

Here at Surroundings Interiors, we are very excited, because this is our first blog ever.  Social media is not new to us – we are hooked on Houzz, pinned to Pinterest, and constantly checked in on Twitter and Instagram.

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Blogging – however – is new to us!  Based in Tampa, FL , we find inspiration everywhere…we see great design ideas during our travels, while watching a film, flipping through magazines, while shopping, or just out on the water enjoying the scenery.

Colorful kayaks in Rockport, Mass.

Colorful kayaks in Rockport, Mass.

Great painted, concrete path at Sunken Gardens, St. Pete, FL

Great painted, concrete path at Sunken Gardens, St. Pete, FL

We want to share our thoughts and ideas with you — so, this blog will be an open dialogue about all things interior (and sometimes exterior) design related!


Anna Maria Condo Remodel by Surroundings Interiors.

Mexican Hacienda style home by Surroundings Interiors.

Mexican Hacienda style home by Surroundings Interiors.

We also get a lot of questions from friends and family.  What color should I paint my walls?  Which fabric would you use?  How can I get more space out of my kitchen?  Do you think I can knock down this wall?


A client sends pictures of fabric samples!

We hope to tackle some of these questions and delve into the art of interior design as we share our current projects and design process.

Thanks for joining us and let us hear from you!

Sharon Laird, Surroundings Interiors