Line – Elements of Design

Line Hero

We’re exploring the various elements of design to assist you in achieving the dream look for your space. We’re turning our attention to the way line affects your overall aesthetic.

P - Searles Homewares Kassine Round Wall Mirror P - Searles Homewares Hyfield Wall Mirror, Bronze P - Casa Uno Square Wide Metal Cutout Mirror
L to R: Searles Homewares Kassine Round Wall Mirror, Searles Homewares Hyfield Wall Mirror, Bronze, and Casa Uno Square Wide Metal Cutout Mirror, online at Zanui.

When you’re styling your home, there are various different design elements and principles that are helpful to consider. An intuitive approach will work a treat if you have a keen (albeit untrained) eye for what looks sharp. However even the style-savants amongst us can benefit from getting back to basics!

Whilst elements like texture and light might be more readily discussed, the kind of lines you engage with in your space also influences the mood you evoke…

The lines of your furniture and décor carve up the negative space of your room. They create shapes and collude with colour, texture, light and pattern to imbue your interiors with unique ambience.

Rapee Tetris Cushion and Crossroad Throw Motyaj Coco Urn Planter
This Rapee cushion and throw collection breaks up the lines of this sofa, contributing geo-chic line patterns, whilst the Motyaj Coco Urn Planter introduces elegant curved lines to this living interior. Browse decor and furniture online at Zanui.

Understanding the nature of different kinds of lines will help you realise your desired aesthetic. Spare some time to consider the kinds of lines at play within the interiors you admire. Now take a look at the lines at work in the rooms in your home. Comparing the two can give you insight into how to draw these two looks closer together.

Zanui Chloe Light Grey 2.5 Seater Sofa, Boston Check Throw, MidnightMarble Crosses Print Art and Square Leather Cushion. Browse furniture and decor online at Zanui.

Lines can lead the eye, outline an object, divide a space, and communicate emotion. The form of a line creates a sense of direction. It’s also responsible for the feel of a design. Lines deliver different emotional responses, from svelte curves like those of the Valby Occasional Chair to sleek diagonals like the Lennox Side Table.

Within most spaces, there is a fusion of different kinds of lines. The majority of lines are straight (vertical, horizontal or diagonal) rather than curved, but a surfeit of straight lines can leave a space looking cold.

Hoxton Art House Pacific Lines Framed Print Rapee Sonny and Clyde Cushions
L to R: Hoxton Art House Pacific Lines Framed Print showcases sleek horizontal lines whilst this Rapee cushion and throw ensemble adds movement and breaks up the lines of this sofa. Browse cushions and wall art online at Zanui.

The structural elements of your room, your furniture and your décor, including your lighting, contribute lines within a space. The direction, frequency, and the way you choose to emphasise the lines in your space will determine the mood you evoke.

Vertical lines

Vertical lines suggest a feeling of strength, dignity and height. They are also associated with spirituality. They draw the eye upwards, creating a more formal atmosphere.

Their refined element works well in formal dining rooms and professional environments, but too many vertical lines can feel austere. For smaller spaces, vertical floor lamps enhance the sense of height. Narrow bookshelves and portrait-shaped wall art also work well.

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Vertical lines at play in contemporary and classical architecture. Images sourced L to R: designboomdotcom and

Horizontal lines

Horizontal lines tend to create a restful, informal feeling. They draw the eye across and work well in casual rooms. Looking out on/or walking towards the horizon is associated with happy ever after scenarios and a sense of tranquil calmness.

Horizontal lines make a room appear wider or longer. However too many horizontal lines may make your room feel flat and bland.

Alex Perry for Linen House Allegra Quilt Cover Set 3
Fusing vertical and horizontal lines makes for a balanced space. L: Alex Perry for Linen House Allegra Quilt Cover Set. R:  Zanui Chloe 2.5 Seater Sofa, Black, Beaumont & Braddock Cube Concrete Square Side TableBallard Floor Lamp, Black, and Amalia Chunky Weave Wool Rug, Black, available online at Zanui.

Horizontal and vertical lines in combination communicate solidity and stability. However if these remain unbroken, the resulting aesthetic can be jarring – a kind of bleak minimalism.

P - Cafe Lighting Marrakech Wall MirrorP - Casa Uno Rustic 2-Handle Pot P - Casa Uno Ceramic Urn VaseSounds like HOME Cycle Round Mirror, Mustard
Planters, urns and mirrors inject svelte curves into your space in an understated way. L to R: Cafe Lighting Marrakech Wall Mirror, Casa Uno Rustic 2-Handle PotCasa Uno Ceramic Urn Vase, and Sounds like HOME Cycle Round Mirror, Mustard. Browse vases and mirrors online at Zanui.

There’s a theme developing… Can you feel it? Too much of one kind of line leads you down the path towards ad nauseam!

United Artworks K Line Painted Canvas Wall Art
The United Artworks K Line Painted Canvas Wall Art of furniture online at Zanui. This room exploits straight, diagonal and some curved lines to striking effect.

Diagonal lines

Diagonal lines suggest a feeling of movement and direction. Too many diagonals may create a feeling of unrest.

This dynamic wall art and quilt cover set (below) illustrates the vibrancy of diagonals and their ability to add punchy drama to your interiors.

Alex Perry for Linen House Coco Quilt Cover Set, Black
Alex Perry for Linen House Coco Quilt Cover Set, Black. Browse bedding online at Zanui.

Herringbones and chevrons work well in cushions, throws and rugs because they are confined to a specific space. They inject vibrancy without overwhelming your aesthetic.

Hoxton Art House Best Dressed Framed Print
The Hoxton Art House Best Dressed Framed Print showcases a seductive curve in the arch of the horse’s neck that introduces a softness to this bedroom interior. Browse wall art online at Zanui.

Curved lines

Curved lines have a softening, graceful effect and suggest movement and rhythm. They are associated with the organic shapes of nature.

Shallow curves are associated with comfort as well as the human body, whilst acute curves suggest turbulence…

Hoxton Art House Botanical Vintage Abstract Canvas Print Alex Perry for Linen House Han Quilt Cover Set
Curves can soften your space through wall art, soft furnishings or in your furniture design. L to R: Hoxton Art House Botanical Vintage Abstract Canvas Print and Alex Perry for Linen House Han Quilt Cover Set. Browse wall art and bedlinen online at Zanui.

Curves balance the harshness of straight lines. Doric columns provide a classical example of refined vertical lines combined with the grace of curves.

Alex Perry for Linen House Opera Quilt Cover Set Hoxton Art House Old Town Canvas Print
Balanced spaces. L to R: Alex Perry for Linen House Opera Quilt Cover Set and Hoxton Art House Old Town Canvas Print. Browse decor and furniture online at Zanui.

Balancing the lines within your space is the key to harmonious décor, from the lines of your big-ticket items like sofas, dining tables, coffee and side tables, and beds to your décor accents – your vases, light fixtures, wall art and so on.

Examine your interiors. Instill vertical lines to enhance their height and horizontal for greater breadth. Explore using diverse patterns in your cushions, throws and rugs to soften vertical and horizontal lines. And have fun!

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.