Essential Elements of Interior Design: Contemporary Powder Room

When I see a well-designed space that I viscerally respond to, I deconstruct what I see to understand what it is I find so appealing. It is the same thing that I teach my new clients to do as we go through the style discovery process together. I hope I can teach my clients to see the elements that make up successful and satisfying design.

In the image of this dramatic bath, I find appealing the contrast created by the dark gray geometric shape with light and dark shapes created by lighting. They are well-proportioned, geometrical shapes. The photo incorporates dynamic symmetry, and the concept of the golden section.
The definition of golden section, or golden mean, is “the division of a line so that the whole is to the greater part as that part is to the smaller part (i.e., in a ratio of 1 to 1/2 (√5 + 1)), a proportion that is considered to be particularly pleasing to the eye.”

Human beings find this dynamic symmetry inherently attractive and pleasing. The relationship between the sides of the golden rectangle is 1 to 1.68. These are principles of symmetry successfully used by Greeks in buildings of their design.

Notre Dame and the Parthenon are built using the golden mean. Human faces are in golden section proportions. The more proportioned, the more attractive we find a particular face.

In this design, there’s a deliberate repetition of one particular shape – the rectangle. The wall is light gray marble with a mirror. There’s a sense of depth, which is created by color and its different shades, color and the play of light creates depth. Taken together, these four elements: mirror, vanity, wall and accents, look rich and intriguing. The vanity serves as a base for a beautifully constructed visual presentation. It is a stage for beautiful shapes – understated, yet sophisticated.

The sink is high polished stainless steel by Callista, and is proportioned correctly for the overall effect. To me, the proportion of the faucet is just a bit small. It’s a missed opportunity for more of a statement. I would use a black faucet to heighten the contrast with the white marble countertop, and stain the white oak floors a darker color.

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