September feels: it’s all about the line

Continuing with the theme of discussing one of the 7 elements of interior design (if you missed our August inspiration, have a quick read on what these 7 elements are), this month we focus on the element of line.

What is ‘line’ in interior design?

When talking about line as it applies to interior design, it refers to the lines created by both the architecture and furnishings in a space. From forming the basics of width and height to enabling flow between areas, lines have a profound effect on interior design as they provide a large variety of visual effects. Line sets form and shape, encompassing both curved and straight planes and is responsible for harmony, contrast and unity. This element signifies movement and helps guide the eye throughout a room.


Chand Bawri, Step Well in India, photograph by Tyson Wheatley

Considered to be the oldest and deepest stepwell in India, Chand Baori is a deep four-sided structure consisting of some 3,500 Escher-esque steps; the spectacular use of horizontal and vertical lines can be seen down the three sides of this immense 13-storey temple, resulting in a visually spectacular masterpiece.


Pin wall lights by Vibia

Designed by Ichiro Iwasaki, this collection of wall lights is characterised not only by its ability to provide both indirect ambient light and a focussed reading light, but also the capacity for several fittings to be configured in a sort of light mural, utilising horizontal and vertical lines to instil continuity and comfort in a space.


Wall panelling

Whether it’s a classically elegant space or a cutting-edge, modern environment, employing decorative wall panelling can be an effortless way to incorporate the design element of line. The angular lines in this wall panelling evoke action while the dynamic nature of the diagonal lines creates drama and movement – perfect for a room with a staircase or modern fabric patterns.


Single line drawing by With One Line

Utilising a slightly different take on the interior design definition of line, this artwork incorporates a continupus flowing line to invoke simplicity yet draw attention.


Untitled artwork by artist Polly Nelson Nungala

Aboriginal artist Polly Nelson Nungala uses a repetitive pattern of curved lines that appear to weave and roll over one another, resulting in a sense of movement and grace. The way these lines harmoniously interact produces a visually mesmerising sense of calm.


Staircase designed by Oscar Niemeyer

Located in Itamaraty Palace, a building famous for its external arches and main hall free of columns, this freestanding staircase constructed from reinforced concrete was designed by the late Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. The spiral staircase is devoid of balustrades or other vertical lines of support – a deliberate design choice that bypasses straight angles in favour of sensual, free-flowing curves. Inspired by the Brazilian wilderness, these dynamic lines serve to unite and soften the horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines found in the rest of the architecture.


Minimalist exterior photograph by Stuart Allen

Horizontal lines create a feeling of security, while vertical lines give the impression of freedom and expansiveness. On a functional level, accentuating vertical lines – as seen on this exterior – gives the illusion of the structure being taller, while the horizontal lines that form the squares cut through this, resulting in a balanced exterior.


Cork and blond mahogany screen by Eileen Gray

Designed by Irish architect and designer Eileen Gray, this room divider incorporates a mixture of horizontal and vertical lines, striking a balance between the stability, formality and efficiency of the former with the flowing strength of the latter – the result is a striking centrepiece that engages the eye.