Home » What Is Rhythm In Interior Design? | Learn to Apply

What Is Rhythm In Interior Design? | Learn to Apply

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Successful rhythm in interior design keeps the viewer interested, allowing viewers to take in every part of the design of a room. A key design principle, rhythm encourages the eyes to move in an organized way around a room.

Source: pinterest

What is the rhythm in interior design? Rhythm in interior design is all about the visual repetitions of patterns. Rhythm is defined as recurrence, continuity or organized movement. When you repeat color, shapes, pattern, texture or complementary similar pieces through space, you create visual interest and rhythm.

When you use the elements of design well, it brings a sense of variety, an underlying unity, and organization to our spaces. Stay with me and learn how.

So What Is Rhythm In Interior?

In design, you can create rhythm by thinking about contrast, transition, progression, and repetition. When you use these mechanisms you create senses of movement in your interior, as you lead the attention of the viewer from one element of design to another. 

A room with no rhythm is like an untended garden. Full of potential, but not much else. Serious interior designers should not stop until they feel the appropriate level of rhythm was achieved within a space.

There is almost no point in putting effort into all the details that go into creating a beautiful space without the intention of achieving rhythm. It needs to be prioritized becouse it is just another level up in the scale of interior design principles. Rhythm is what makes you finally take a deep breath and say, “This room looks fantastic.”

5 Different Types Of Rhythm in interior

In interior design, there are five principles of rhythm. This includes radiation, contrast, transition, gradation, and repetition.

These principles bring your interiors a sense of calm. Knowing how to use each type of rhythm alone and with the other types will bring your interior design another level up. These are skills worth learning if you are serious about perfecting your craft to the fullest.


Radiation is an element of rhythm in interior design when the features in the room are balanced and repeated around a center point.

Rhythm in interior design - Radiation
Source: Pinterest

Some examples:

  • circular table with a vase of flowers and chairs radiating off the table.
  • Stairs going in circle around center point like on image presented above.
  • Adding a circular pendant light on top of the table plus two circle prints on the wall emphasizes radiation.
  • circular mirrors repeating and radiating around each other. This creates a soothing, balanced look that appeals to every viewer. 


Contrast is an element of rhythm that involves directly opposing colors and shapes. It can be found in many different ways. Below are some examples:

  • Shapes – curves in a chair compared to strong square lines on table
  • Colors – Green and red, the opposite colors in color wheels, create contrast. The green in your garden against your red window shutters and door, for instance.
  • Styles – Many dining rooms have plenty of traditional details of architecture already built-in. You can hang modern paintings to contrast old-fashioned interiors, for instance.

Always Keep in mind Balance and Focal point of your room. All interior and rhythm should correlate. Key is to find perfect blend.


Through the transition, rhythm leads the eyes gently and subtly into an uninterrupted, continuous flow from one spot in the room to the next.

Transition is not as easy to define as the other principles. Unlike gradation or repetition, transitions tend to be a smooth flow, in which the eyes glide from one spot to another. Using a curvy line to lead the eye gently is the most common use of transition. Examples of this include rounded edges, winding paths or arched doorways. 

Example: the curved lines of a couch accentuate curves in bay windows, leading your eyes around the room interior.


Another principle of rhythm is gradation. The size of the same room objects changes from large to small or from small to large, from light to dark or vice versa. This creates a nice rhythm drawing the eyes up and down the line of gradation.

This type of rhythm is taking different sized elements and decreasing or increasing one or more of its qualities. Varied sizes would be the most obvious implementation of this.

Different sized candle clusters on a basic tray create a great interest due to its shown progression.

You can also use color to achieve gradation such as a monochrome color scheme where every element is a shade slightly different from one hue. 


Repetition is a principle of rhythm that is based on similar patterns, colors, textures, forms shapes and similar lines throughout your interiors. The technique of repetition gives the room a clear sense of cohesiveness and stability.

Example of interior design rhythm present in yoga center
Source: Pinterest

For instance, when the eyes follow a continuous movement along the halls by using repeating floor lights or upright posts.

When you repeat framed prints that are the same size, this is an effortless method of achieving a gentle, lovely rhythm. Repetition is using the same elements more than one time in space.

Why is rhythm important in interior design?

The odds are, you are most likely used to hearing music connected to the rhythm. It ties all the choruses, stanzas and bridges in a song. In interior design, it works the same way. Though you may not have made a connection in the past, the individual design elements tie everything together in a subtle pattern, just as it does in music.

Rhythm is important in interior design because a lot of people feel that it is the secret to a well-executed design. It is what gives interiors on the top-end extra hints of sophistication. If you can’t put your finger on the way something has not come together really, rhythm or balance is probably what your interior design lacks.

Take your interiors up another notch by discovering and knowing how to work with it. Put efforts into applying it into your future design and you will be truly surprised at how much impact a few basic alterations can bring.

Via: Archdaily

In design, rhythm is all about creating contrast for visual interest and repetitive patterns. This can be done by using the same shapes and colors at varying intervals. The purpose is to keep your eye moving around the rooms. Since life happens in a color-filled room, keep the shapes you use in your compositions as basic as you can.

The goal is to be minimalistic. since the rest of the world is complex enough. Shapes that repeat when they can soothe the nervous system, the brain, and the eye.

What are examples of establishing a rhythm in design?

One example is establishing a rhythm by using colorful pillows. Echo it again in the rug and another time in a painting. Repetitions such as this help in carrying your eyes around the room.
In decorating rooms, planting a garden, planning a dinner party, decorating your bedroom or buying clothes, the more repetitive and similar the colors and shapes are, the greater the impact.
Chairs can be a bit different if you are an antique collector but they need to be compatible in style, color, and shape. One-color needs to dominate a space. One color needs to be predominant.
When too many things are going on, it is a bit like weeds in a garden, distracting everyone from the flowers.
You need to feel rhythm rather than see it. It is more like perceiving rather than precisely measuring.
Take a break and then look at your room once again with fresh eyes. If your space feels rhythmic and your eyes easily move through it, your design is complete. However, if you feel that something is a bit off, keep tweaking the elements until you fill that everything is all right. 

How do you create balance in rhythm?

Rhythmic balance is created when there is an even weight distribution in a room. Each of the elements of design needs to work with other elements to create a true equilibrium. There are three rhythmic balance styles: radial, asymmetrical and symmetrical.Radial symmetry- is when all design elements are arrayed around one central point. Asymmetrical balance – You achieve balance with dissimilar objects that have eye attractions or equal visual weights. Asymmetrical balance is less forced and more casual in feeling but harder to achieve. Asymmetry suggests movement and the result is interiors that are much more lively.Symmetrical balance – found in old-fashioned interiors, symmetrical balance is characterized by repeating the same objects in the same position on either side of vertical elements.

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