• Design 101

    If you’ve ever wondered why your favorite room is so visually appealing or what makes your best loved painting so pleasing, it’s likely that they both meet some of the basic principles of design.

    Good design applies to everything from art to fashion to interior décor to, yes, even the exterior of your home. If you can understand a few basic design elements, you can better understand how pieces work together to create a successful visual composition. In the same way that line, color, shape and form work together to make your favorite outfit just that – your favorite. Here are some basic terms and definitions to help: 

    Line Image


    Just like you would draw a line with a pencil, for example, a line is the continuous movement of a point along a surface, such as by a pencil or brush. The edges of shapes and forms also create lines. That means, your roof can create lines on your house, along with doors, windows and molding. Every line has a directions - curved, horizontal, vertical, diagonal, and so on.



    Shape is defined as an area that stands out from the space next to or around it due to a defined or implied boundary and can be used to create visual interest and style. The shape of windows and doors, for example, can impact the exterior design of your house. You can also think about shape within the larger context of your home - how natural shapes (like landscaping) can contrast with the more geometric shape of your house. Balance is arranging elements so that no single part overpowers the other parts.



    Texture is how a surface feels in a tactile sense. Think of sandpaper or a baby blanket, for example. Texture is important in the exterior design of your home because, just like your favorite necklace, it can add depth and visual interest to the entire outfit.



    Space is the area provided for a particular purpose. It can have two dimensions (length and width), such as a floor, or it can have three dimensions (length, width, and height), such as siding. Look at your exterior space, like the side of your house, and see how it connects with the lines of your house, like window sills and roof lines.



    Color, particularly contrasting color, can be used to draw attention. Just like you learned in school, there are primary colors, secondary colors and tertiary colors. Complimentary colors are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel and are used to create contrast - a red door on a green house, for example. Analogous colors are colors that are found side by side on the color wheel and can be used to create soothing color blends. Monochromatic colors are tints and shades of a single color. See more beautiful palettes with our color selector color selector.

    To see how these elements work together in exterior design, click on Dream Designer (the floating tab to the right).