Of all the elements of design, line is often the most dominant. It not only outlines forms but also describes an object’s primary direction. It is line that puts limitations on space. Forms are developed by lines, but not every line creates a form. There are two types of lines – straight and curved.
Straight Lines can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. Many pieces of furniture have straight lines and the lines are usually a dominant horizontal line. Many times, a room has too many horizontal lines and not enough vertical, diagonal or curved lines.
Horizontal lines are very important in design – they add the feeling of repose, restfulness and casualness. They are often thought to be masculine in nature, giving solidity to the room.
Vertical lines add height and dignity. They are strong and direct. Vertical emphasis comes from door frames, windows, screens, tall and narrow furniture, draperies and wall coverings.
Diagonal lines attract attention and can also lead the eye. The question is: Where does the eye want to go? So, you have to make sure the diagonal line goes somewhere and not nowhere. For example, a group of paintings hung on a diagonal may lead the eye up to a dead end at the ceiling. That’s not good. Diagonals need to be controlled as they are in triangles and diamonds. Hanging your pictures along the stairway is good design. Since diagonals suggest movement, do not use too many – they will disturb the room’s tranquility.
Curved lines are gracefull and suggest femininity. They are often combined with strong verticals – as in draperies.
Using Lines Successfully
Usually, horizontal lines dominate a room. They are the easiest and safest to rely on. Verticals, diagonals, and curves can provide relief and variety. If a room is decorated primarily for a man, straight lines will enhance the feeling on masculinity. Curves are more appropriate in rooms for women. Diagonals should be stopped where two lines meet at a point. Too many diagonals will make a room feel restless.
Article based on the book “The Art of Interior Design”.