Today we are going to talk about Harmony and Unity.  These two Principles of Design are intertwined and must be talked about together.  Without them, a space will feel uncomfortable, with them, a space will have a sense of calm – the space will just work.

As they are quite similar – let’s try to distinguish them.  Harmony creates unity by stressing similarities of separate but related parts. It looks at relationships between individual elements.  When all those diverse parts work together you have achieved unity. Unity requires you to takes a step back and see if the entire room works.


Repeating similar elements like colors, texture, style of furnishings, and shapes all create these relationships.  

Kristina MiletievaThe kitchen pendant form is repeated in the chandelier over the table as well as in the chairs.  Natural wood and the use of black and white are repeated elements throughout. 

You can also achieve harmony by the placement of objects.  Again – this all about the relationship between the elements in the room.  If there are groups of dissimilar objects or furniture, clustering can help them feel more in harmony with the others. 

radostina : 79ideasThis Breakfast Corner creates harmony with grouping the three colorful chairs around the table with the three neutral chairs.  Bright, large pendants are in a cluster together overhead and are near the other colorful elements in the room against a white backdrop.


Unity is a principle of wholeness.  Both visual unity and conceptual unity are important to a space.  Contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity help us achieve visual unity. Each decision requires you to think about producing a single general effect – big picture decisions as well as small detail decisions.  Choices like images, colors, and style should fit in conceptually as well as harmonize with the other elements in the room.  Unity leads to more order and organization which is important when someone is experiencing a space – it leads to comfort. 

MyDomaine This space combines a lot of the methods to create harmony and unity.  Pink, cream, and pale blue are in multiple textures throughout the space.  Pink flowers on the Kitchen Island tie to the pink ottoman as well as the throw pillows. The contrast of the bold pink against the cream and pale blue work together nicely.  The shape and metal tones of the light fixtures repeat in the Island chairs – as is the bright pop of white.

One way to test your design for unity is to add or take away something and see if the design is hurt.  If you then have to rearrange because you know that the relationships are so strong with the elements you have chosen.  You want intention with every placement.

When creating a space that has harmony and unity, don’t forget to include the principles of emphasisbalance, and scale & proportion to truly create a unified design! Enjoy!

Contributing Author: Abby Tappendorf

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