Essential Elements of Interior Design:Pebble Beach Dining Room

 By Larisa McShane

To the untrained eye, it’s often difficult to understand why a room design works so well. Intuitively, you know it does. There’s something inherently pleasing about it; you want to spend time in the space, you feel inspired, and comfortable being there.To help you to really understand why you feel a certain way in a space, you can dissect the design elements that went into creating it.

Take a look at this room…It gives off an airy, refined, sophisticated vibe, while still retaining casual.

Pebble Beach Residence contemporary dining room
Doug Dun / BAR Architects

Glance at the photo and you’ll see that the breezy, airy feel comes from the large opening to the outside, as well as the large open window to the kitchen. Look closer and you’ll notice that even in the doorway to the kitchen, the transom allows light and air to pass through. The high ceiling gives a sense of expansion upwards, as the wood planks recede into the sky. However the ceiling fixture drops down in two tiers, closing in the space, and bringing an intimacy to the dining table.

The refined sophistication is created by the consistent repetition of geometric elements with a variation of scale across all the surfaces. The lighting fixture consists of rectangular shapes, which is mimicked by the rectangular tiles in the floor. The contrasting grout on the wall brings out the rectangular shapes of the wall tiles.

You might also sense that the dining room table feels ungrounded in the space -like it’s sitting alone in too large of a space. Placing an area rug under the dining room table, or a contrasting tile design which overflows under the table,  would give the table more emphasis in the room and a solid visual base to rest on.

As you think about the re-design of your home, look at photos of spaces which appeal to you and ask yourself these questions: How does this space make me feel? Which design elements evoke those feelings? How can I use those design elements to create the mood I am looking for?

Larisa McShane and Associates is an award winning full service interior design firm in Villanova, PA.  For more personalized ideas, call us to schedule our signature personal style discovery at  610-772-0445 or visit


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