Home Design 101: Keeping an Eye on Sightlines

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Home design isn’t just about furniture, fixtures and accessories. These tangible, concrete elements are important, yes, but to bring out the best aesthetics in the space, you should also pay attention to the things you don’t quite see. Case in point: sightlines.

These invisible lines marking the things you see from where you stand to where your eyes can reach can make or break your entire design. It’s one of those elements that would throw the room’s visual appeal out the window when they’re off, but would make a space a hundred times prettier than it’s supposed to be when they’re spot on.

Why Sightlines Matter

One of the ways sightlines improve or ruin a room’s aesthetics is by creating the first impression. Usually, you get your first glimpse at a space by the doorway. What you see from there already triggers an opinion or a feeling about the space.

For instance, you may be amazed at the large windows opening up to the sight of the garden, or you may not like it that the kitchen sink (with the dirty dishes) is in plain view.

This first impression, whether you like it or not, influences the overall perception of the space. Even though you have gorgeous pendant lights above your kitchen island or plush table runners and floor rugs, the fact that it’s the dirty dishes you first saw, you already feel uneasy about the space.

Sightlines also dictate the flow throughout the home. As you move past the doorway, you figure out how to navigate from one area to another. When sightlines are clear, you find a sense of cohesiveness in the rooms. Everything’s tied together that it pleases the eyes. But when the opposite happens and sightlines are obstructed, the flow gets compromised, too.

How to Bring Out Good Sightlines

person looking at color swatches

Given the ways sightlines affect your overall home design, your goal is to have good sightlines. One thing you should consider here is the focal point or the star of the room. This could be your fireplace, a window with a great view, an accent wall or a statement piece you can buy at a furniture store in Utah.

You want this design feature to be seen from any part of the room. But at the very least, you should keep the sightlines clear from where people usually catch the first glimpse, such as in the doorway. Treat the entryway as a frame that holds the focal point in place.

Another consideration for good sightlines is the furniture and fixtures. This is especially crucial when you have a closed-off floor plan. To maintain a good flow throughout the room and create unobstructed views, use low-backed furniture. Avoid hanging light fixtures, like dangling chandeliers, as well as tall indoor plants, as these can get in the way of clear sightlines.

If you’re using partitions, it’s best to use see-through materials. Glass is an obvious choice. But you can also have open bookshelves or racks if glass is beyond your budget. These materials will help in creating clear sightlines, all the same.

Again, designing a home is more than the things you can see and touch. If you’ve done all the right things in your furniture and fixtures and you still feel that there’s something off in your space, maybe, just maybe, it’s time to fix your eyes on your sightlines.

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