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Sharp vs. Soft Lines (in Design)

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interior decorating,interior design,unique interior design

A particular design is almost always more than the sum of its parts, but it always starts with the line. That line will either travel smoothly around a curve or end in a hard edge, and the difference can alter the entire feeling of a room, a piece of furniture, a rug, a lighting fixture … anything.

It’s easy to dismiss the power of a line. They are too often lost in the static and controversy of the overall design; a single tree that can’t be seen for the very forest that it helps to create. In this way, a line is its own worst enemy – except perhaps when they’re battling one another.

Sharp Lines

Anger. Precision. Speed. Severity. These are the feelings that sharp lines often convey. They have a way of forcing our eyes to follow them until they terminate at some flat and absolute horizon. Sharp lines can seem unforgiving and unyielding in their creases and corners. They leave us nowhere to hide; nowhere to snuggle and be safe.

But, there is also a sense of immediacy in sharp lines that can deliver comfort in their finality. Modern design confronts us with geometry that has broken with traditional fluff. It asks us to take chances, be daring and live – sometimes quite literally – on its edge. The sometime result is a freedom from conventional forms that allows us to take risks in our interpretations of reality.

Soft Lines

Soft lines, on the other hand, are the refuge of a sensible and sanguine temper. Calming curves have a way of lulling us into complacency, and even the most overworked loops have the power to sedate. “Fluffy,” “puffy” and “poufy” – the words themselves are made of soft and swirling tones.

Perhaps our coziness with curves comes from a more natural and instinctive place. We are nestled in cradling curves from birth and our bodies, which have inspired design throughout time, emulate more sumptuous forms. It’s no wonder, then, that we equate soft lines with warmth, life and vitality.

Sharp vs. Soft

These lines do, in fact, compete in design, and it’s difficult to combine them without causing visual (and emotional) disharmony. It can be uncomfortable when sharp lines interrupt the gentle sweep of a curve. Conversely, soft lines can easily dull the edge delivered by angular design, so the competition cuts both ways.

This battle is meted out in design decisions every day. To say there is a right answer would be more rigid than even the sharpest line. So, which do you prefer – sharp lines, soft lines or each in their place and time?

ATGStores.com welcomes you to vote on your favorite and talk about why you think so.

 

Somerton Home Furnishings cleverly merges curves and hard angles in the "Cirque" coffee table.

Marthena Home Furnishings take a stab at blending soft curves and fabrics with bold colors and straight lines in the "Sapphire" sofa.

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