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How To Judge Beauty In Interior Design

In interior design there are all types of styles, furnishings, objects and finishes of which one can choose to decorate  a home.  Not all of them are beautiful.  Some are pretty, cool, neat, or edgy, or functional, or kid-friendly, or fun, or as we all know down right hideous.  Not being beautiful doesn’t render them wrong, unless beauty is your goal.

For those who truly want to create a beautiful, not just nice, interior I’m going to take you through a little train the eye exercise I’ve done with people to help hone their beauty meter.  I say hone, but this is also to define.  Many say they want a “beautiful home” when they really want something cute and fun.

scalamandre fabricsTake these two Scalamandre fabrics, both are geometric prints but the textural quality of the velvet on the first one ups it on the beauty scale.


Yes, beauty can be a bit subjective when it come so to people – not so much in interiors and furnishings.  The concept of beautiful does have some inherent characteristics:Characteristics of beauty in regard to interior designLet’s make this fun.   We’ll look at two similar items one is and one isn’t beautiful.  No trick questions, it is as easy as going to the eye doctor, one choice is better.

Entrance HallwaysWhich one  could be called beautiful, picture #1 or #2?  They have similar elements and even colors.  Both of these entrance halls via Pricey Pads are in multi-million dollar homes.  Both are historic homes.  Look again, which is visually more delightful?

The first one, is simpler, cleaner, more refined and less of mental mess. Visually it is softer, where the second one is clearly cold, hard and impersonal.

Tile textures Which tile offers the idea of beauty?  Both are textural tiles with curves, both have simple colors.  Did you pick the feather like tile?  If you did, you are right. The form and shape of the feather-like tile just seems to have that quality which invites you closer, to touch it, to examine it – this is beauty at work.

Kids get this.  Ever run after some child, “don’t touch that”?  Truly beautiful objects magnetically draw people in to touch, to be closer.  Worth noting, beauty and handprints are not for everyone.
Ottoman and stoolI’ll make this a bit more challenging.  Which one invites you in, gives you that little ahhh when you get closer?  Both are interesting and have similar twisted shapes.  Did you pick the first one?  Right again.

In this case the color and the material has a lot to do with it.  But gold, isn’t gold beautiful?  Not always and not here, not with the black.  Colors can fool you.  Wait I’m not saying black can not be beautiful, but here in combination with the gold it is a bit, oh let’s say retro disco fever.  Not the beautiful choice.

two chairsThe first chair is quirky and fun, but the second antique mahogany Regency style chair is exquisite beautiful to view and has an almost romantic element.  While the red chair is done well, it isn’t what one would call beautifulbeautiful and not beautiful furniture Now you have it down pat.  Do I even need to say anything here?   One is beautiful and the side of meat on a wood box is not.

Notice how the simpler something is, the more beautiful it is.  Whether a room or object, the less confusion we have when viewing, the easier it is to appreciate – this allows beauty to happen.

This doesn’t make all beautiful homes visually alike.  A contemporary home can be beautiful while a traditional home is not and visa versa.  Beautiful homes or rooms are about the special feeling they evoke regardless of their style and an individual’s taste.  Being able to view objects and interiors in terms of beauty, can lead you to a better interior in your home.


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6 Responses to How To Judge Beauty In Interior Design

  1. I love that you point out beauty can and should be recognized even when it is not your personal taste AND that simplicity is always a key ingredient . Right on!

  2. While I do agree with some of this, I have found that personal taste can be truly unpredictable and not necessarily one size fits all. Context can make a difference. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder… which keeps Interior Design interesting and on occasion frustrating… the personalities involved.

  3. Thank you Terri, beauty does have so little to do with personal likes or dislikes. 🙂

  4. Oh yes, context makes all the difference. Though I can’t say beauty is in the eye of the beholder because not everything someone calls beautiful truly is. Some things no matter what, just do not represent beauty. 🙂

  5. designlit

    I do agree on your points, but I can say beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. Some things may it be a simple chair or an ornament maybe a representation of beauty

  6. You are right about a simple chair or ornament having the quality of being beautiful. My position with there being a bit of black and white is for example: regardless of what it is on Duck Dynasty style camouflage in the interior is not going to fall in the truly beautiful category.

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