Designing a Room Using Specific Artwork – Part 2

Designing a Room Using Specific Artwork –   Part 2

Using the Elements of Design For Designing a Room

In my last Blog titled “Designing a Room around a Specific Piece of Art” I discussed using a large piece of Art as a Focal Point or the Center of Interest for the design of a room. For Art Lovers who have collected Art over the years or those new collectors just starting their Art collections, they may not realize that if they renovate a room/home or build a new home they can use their Art as the inspiration for a room’s design and if using an Interior Designer/Decorator you can direct them to use a beloved piece of Art as inspiration for any room. There is so much great information in my first Blog that I suggest reading “Designing a Room around a specific piece of Art” first to give a basic understanding of designing a room around a specific piece of Art.
In this Blog I am further elaborating on Room Design so the next step is learning about the “Elements of Design”. Elements of Design apply to not only room design but also to composing and designing a painting, sculpture, commercial art, architecture and many other artistic pursuits.

The Elements of Design are as follows:


Space is the most important element of designing a room. One must consider the space available and its specific uses. A space that is filled with furniture and decorative items is called a Positive Space and an empty space is called a Negative Space. To have a pleasant design it is important to balance the positive and negative spaces while trying to avoid overcrowding of furniture/Art/decorative items. When placing furniture there must be proper space/clearances for moving and circulating about the space.

In regards to “Designing A room with Art as the Focal Point” lets start with a simple concept and that is to have the proper amount of “space” and clearances between furniture/walls and so measuring the room, measuring the size of furniture and measuring the proper clearances of circulation spaces around the furniture is critical especially if buying new furniture for a room. An example is there should be at least 5 feet clear minimum from dining room table edge to a wall or another piece of furniture to allow dining room chairs to be pulled out and still leaving a few feet clear for people to walk past the pulled out dining room chair. In other words don’t over stuff a room with too much furniture. I often see that people will place as much furniture around the perimeter of the room as possible, and it’s important to carefully consider each piece of furniture, to place a truly special piece allowing negative space around it to give it the significance it deserves.


Horizontal “lines” in a room are: tables, chairs and beds. Horizontal lines add a safe and secure feeling to a space. Vertical “lines” of windows, doorways and columns create a free open feeling. In contrast angular lines create action and drama like the diagonal of a staircase. There needs to be a balance between the horizontal and vertical lines in a space to create a balanced room.

In regards to “Designing A room with Art as the Focal Point” the lines in a room must vary, if for example you have a lot of vertical doors, windows and columns it might be a nice variation to use a several horizontal pieces like art and furniture. You would not want a lot of tall furniture with a room with a lot vertical lines either.  It’s very important to have a variety of heights and widths of furniture in a room so the eye follows around the rooms drifting up (vertical lines), across (horizontal lines) and down (vertical lines) and at different heights which creates interest and flow.


Forms are 3 dimensional shapes in a space. Forms are created by a combination of two or more shapes and can be accentuated with elements like texture, pattern and colour. Form can create harmony and several forms can add balance to the space. There are two types of forms – Geometric which are man-made with straight lines and Natural which are organic shapes like curves.

In regards to “Designing A room with Art as the Focal Point” If for example the Artwork has more organic curves and shapes in the design one could create harmony throughout the room by incorporating similar shaped curves in the furniture, light fixtures and/or fabrics.


Light sets the mood in a living space and highlights important elements. There are three major types of lighting – Task Lighting, Accent Lighting and Mood Lighting. Task lights are table, desk or bed lamps which have a specific task. Accent lights highlight item like artworks, structures, sculptures. Mood or ambient lighting basically set the mood of a room.

In regards to “Designing A room with Art as the Focal Point” creating a focal point of art can truly be enhanced by light shining directly on the Art piece, making the art even more of a “focal point”. This “Accent Lighting” can be very dramatic. If one could not afford to wire in ceiling lights (pot lights or light fixtures specifically for art) or wall lighting (wall mounted lighting for art) there are also plug in varieties of lighting for artwork that are placed behind the Art. It is important to do your research by visiting your local lighting store and ask them what they have available for lighting artwork for wall, ceiling and plug in applications.


Colour establishes colour connections between objects in a room and set the room’s mood. Colours are chosen based on the psychology and the personality of the users of the room. Colour has three major qualities: Hue, Value and Intensity. These qualities are critical in a rooms design.

 In regards to “Designing A room with Art as the Focal Point” as discussed in the last Blog picking the 3 most dominant colours in the artwork and finding a colour match at your local paint store. Ask your local paint store for a paint fan so you can match colour as closely as possible. The reason a paint fan is helpful is you can take it home and match the colour in the actual room you are designing. You can take that paint fan with you to select fabrics and decorative items. When incorporating that art colour into your room, often you should select a lighter version of that colour instead of an exact match to the artwork. Sometimes if the colour is too pastel and too sweet selecting a dulled down version of the colour is preferable. A paint fan is great because each page of the fan has the colour and variations of that same colour from dark to light. Using lighter variations of a colour often may be a better choice to help create harmony as the colour weaves its way through the room in lighter and darker tones. But in very small amounts it also looks great to add the intense version of the colour as well. It’s also important to look at the colours “in your own home” in the light of the “actual room” you are designing. Never select a final colour in the light of the paint store as it will be a totally different light. Light at different times of the day cast a different colour, and different light bulbs have a warm or cool light, so select colours and match colours in your own home and in the actual room you are designing. Look at the colours in the morning, afternoon and at night as colour can change during different times of the day. Some colours may look completely different and look horrible at a certain time of the day, or under incandescent or halogen lights in the evening. It usually takes me 2 or three days of looking at colours during different times of the day to make a final decision. Again a Interior designer/decorators advice could be very helpful when colour selections are made.


Texture deals with surfaces and determines how a surface looks and feels. It adds interest and depth to a space further defining the mood and feeling of a space. There are two types of Texture– Visual Texture where the texture is only visible and Actual Texture where the texture is seen and felt. Pillow covers, bed spreads, fabrics on furniture, wall paint or wallpapers all have texture. When there is a dominant main texture there must be a contrasting texture to create interest and avoid monotony.

In regards to “Designing A room with Art as the Focal Point” if the artwork has a texture it will be the main and dominant texture but there should also be a contrasting texture to avoid monotony. Painted Walls, wall papers, fabrics like pillows, bed spreads, drapery all have texture. For example if your artwork has very crisp sharp textures a nice contrast would be soft textured fabrics on decorative pillows for example.


Patterns add interest and life to a room with the use of interesting shapes and colour. Patterns create a feeling and make a statement of their own. The colours and shapes add interest and continuity and can create an attractive and repetitive design.

In regards to “Designing A room with Art as the Focal Point” if the Artwork has a lot of pattern and colour it may be best avoid a dramatic pattern/colour in fabrics, a subtle pattern in the same colour might work. But the art of mixing patterns/colour is complicated and the help of an Interior Decorator/Designer may be very helpful as well. Fabrics can be expensive and purchasing something that doesn’t work is an expensive mistake and cut fabrics cannot be returned at stores. 

The Pics in this Blog:

 I had a number of Art pieces to select from to use as my focal point. I chose my Original 30’ x 40” Oil Painting on Canvas titled “White Peonies VXII” featured in the picture above. This Original Oil painting on canvas is available for sale $1,895.00 CAD. The Original Oil painting to the left “White Peonies VIII” has been sold however and there are Limited Edition signed Giclee Prints on canvas available in 2 sizes. These 2 paintings are from my “White Peony Series” see them under the “Gallery” tab, then the “Oil” tab on my website.

See my next Blog “The 80/20 Rule for Room Design when Designing a Room around a specific piece of Art”and many upcoming new Blogs featuring my  thoughts and views on Art, Design, Lifestyle, Food and all things beautiful.
 If you have a question about Designing a Room with Art as the Focal Point please contact Kimberley Cook Fine Art by email

About Artist Kimberley Cook:

Artist Kimberley Cook AFCA CSPWC has been painting in Oils and Watercolours for over 25 years and she loves to make her surroundings beautiful whether in her home, studio or garden with her creative ideas and wants to help others create their own gorgeous space! To Kimberley “creating is like breathing” a very necessary part of her life.