Design Principles – 2 Rhythm (Series, 2 of 6)

Read Paulina Bird’s (House of Bird) insights into the 6 Principles of Design and how applying these principles can influence a successful design and create beautiful spaces.  This Six Part Series breaks the design mystery down to its most simple and most easily understood elements – a must for any design enthusiast.

Continue Paulina Bird’s insight into the world of design and how the Design Principle ‘Rhythm’ is applied.


Rhythm can be described as timed movement through space, an easy connected path along which the eye follows at regular arrangement of motifs.  Impression artists used the rhythm of brush strokes to define their painting.  Van Gough paintings play a graphic illustration of rhythm in art.

The presence of rhythm creates predictability and order in composition.  Just as rhythm in music is listened to and the timed beat is audible so the rhythm in visual design is sensed by the eyes rather than the ears.  This is also similar to Balance.  If we sense the predictability and order in our homes we are more inclined to relax and feel comfortable with choices.

Pic 2

Telling a “story” using the same or similar themes in a colour/interior selection is an important role to master and this is RHYTHM used at its essence and a favourite of mine.  Most customers warm to this attitude in my selections as there is care taken in helping their home feel united and systematic yet allowing the character of each room to be defined by choices that run this theme.


Rhythm creates a sense of movement and so not to confuse it with pattern.  It can be repeated in different forms of the same, such as colour, size and even texture.  An example of this can be seen in the bathroom design process.  If you add a charcoal porcelain to your floor with white walls and then add a charcoal mosaic as a feature to your niche, you are using a rhythm of colour, in which the eye links the two areas.  They are the same, yet a different product.  If the tiles are 300 x 600 and the mosaics are also rectangular 150×100, then the rhythm of shapes also enhances a scheme.  This is a basic scenario in a simple scheme I have illustrated, yet transfer these principles into a complicated design and they are a huge asset.

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Using pattern, rhythm and repetition as design principles may all seem to be splitting hairs, but if we grasp the differences it adds character, style and visual impact to any scheme.  A successful scheme has balance, even while the elements used are not symmetrical, but they can be given rhythm by the use of similar repetition.

Happy Designing.

By Paulina Bird

Links to all six parts: Design Principles – 1 Balance (Series, 1 of 6)Design Principles – 2 Rhythm (Series, 2 of 6)Design Principles – 3 Movement (Series, 3 of 6)Design Principles – 4 Stability (Series, 4 of 6)Design Principles – 5 Dominance (Series, 5 of 6)Design Principles – 6 Tension (Series, 6 of 6).

Explore our showroom for yourself – 2a Gordon Avenue Geelong West.  You can also book your no obligation complimentary appointment with our design team – learn more about our Concept Consult here.

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About Paulina Bird

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