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A Guide to Incorporating Lines in Interior Design

Castlery|Apr 03, 2024

Lines are not mere physical boundaries; they are storytellers that help to shape the narrative of a room. They are the silent conductors orchestrating the visual symphony of a space, creating balance, visual harmony, and function in your home. 

Understanding the language of lines is paramount to crafting a captivating interior that you’ll love spending time in.

Let’s dive deeper into the concept of lines and how you can incorporate lines to turn any room into a masterpiece.

Understanding the language of lines

The power of direction

Lines have a remarkable influence on the perceived movement and spatial dynamics within an interior environment. They possess an innate ability to guide the eye, directing attention and shaping the overall experience of a space.

By strategically incorporating lines, you can manipulate the perceived height, width, and depth of a room.

A wall with vertical stripes in the dining area.

@glo.intr includes vertical stripes in the dining area to create the illusion of a taller space. Pictured: The Seb Extendable Dining Set.   

Creates visual interest

Mixing different types of lines – from bold and angular to soft and organic – creates visual contrast, capturing attention and stimulating the senses.

Juxtaposing sleek, straight lines with sinuous curves infuses a space with dynamic energy. Introducing textures like wood grain or metal accents can also accentuate the tactile quality of lines, inviting exploration and engagement. 

A person sitting on a platform bed in the bedroom.


@wasa.bihome’s arched frame in the bedroom creates a soft and cosy environment for relaxation. Pictured: The Dawson Bed. 

Layering lines of varying shapes, sizes, and textures can transform a static room into a multi-dimensional experience.

A balancing act

In the world of design, balance is the holy grail – the elusive harmony that ties a room together. 

Lines, with their inherent structure and order, serve as the backbone of balance in interior design. Whether symmetrical or asymmetrical, lines provide a framework upon which to arrange furniture, artwork, and architectural elements cohesively.

A curved bouclé sofa, a round coffee table, and a striped rug.

Mixing different lines can create a balanced space. Pictured: The Marlow Performance Bouclé Curve Sofa. Picture credits: @illawarragrand38

By carefully balancing the distribution of lines within a room, you create visual equilibrium, ensuring that no single element overwhelms the composition.

What are the types of lines in interior design?


Horizontal lines ground a space, anchoring it and promoting a feeling of relaxation and balance. 

They visually widen narrow rooms and create a sense of equilibrium, making them well-suited for creating cosy and intimate settings. 

A sectional sofa with a built-in wall shelf behind it in a living room.

Horizontal lines can visually widen narrow rooms. Pictured: The Hamilton Chaise Sectional Sofa. Picture credits: @studioging

Horizontal elements such as low-slung furniture or linear shelving units can be used to enhance the horizontal plane of a room and foster a sense of comfort and serenity.


Vertical lines draw the eye upward, making ceilings appear taller and spaces more expansive. They evoke feelings of strength, stability, and dignity, making them ideal for creating formal and imposing interiors. 

Vertical elements such as tall columns, floor-to-ceiling windows, or vertically striped wallpaper can be used to enhance the verticality of a space and instil a sense of elegance and sophistication.

A living room with floor-to-ceiling curtains, two armchairs, and a 2-seater sofa.

Vertical lines help draw the eye upward, making ceilings appear taller and expansive. Pictured: Paloma Bouclé Armchair in Snow. Picture credits: @hannahblackmore 


Curved lines offer a softer and more organic alternative to straight lines, infusing spaces with warmth and sensuality. They create a sense of fluidity and movement, inviting occupants to relax and unwind. 

Curved elements such as rounded furniture or arching doorways can be used to soften the harsh edges of a room and promote a nurturing environment conducive to socialising and rejuvenation. 

A room with an arched doorway, an armchair, and an oval rug.

Curved elements can help to soften the harsh edges of a room. Pictured: The Paloma Bouclé Armchair in Snow. Picture credits: @sophiayeong.dsign  

Curved lines are particularly effective in creating inviting and intimate spaces that foster emotional connections and well-being.


Diagonal lines inject energy and excitement into a space, breaking away from the static confines of vertical and horizontal lines. They create tension and drama, stimulating curiosity and engagement. 

Diagonal elements such as slanted rooflines, diagonal flooring patterns, or angular furniture arrangements can be used to add visual interest and unpredictability to a room. 

6 people sitting on a white sofa against a green patterned wall.

Diagonal lines add an element of excitement to a space. Pictured: The Auburn Performance Fabric Sofa. Picture credits: @jesssfam

Diagonal lines are particularly effective in creating modern and avant-garde interiors that exude vitality and innovation.


Circular lines introduce a sense of fluidity and harmony into a space, echoing the natural curves found in the environment. They create a soft and inviting atmosphere, encouraging relaxation and movement. 

Circular elements such as round tables, curved sofas, and circular mirrors can be used to soften the angularity of a room and promote a sense of unity and inclusivity. 

A round dining table with 3 chairs in a dining area.


Circular lines introduce a sense of fluidity and harmony to the space. Picture credits: The Theo Round Dining Table. Picture credits: @sarahgkhn

Circular lines are particularly effective in creating intimate and welcoming settings that foster social interaction and connection.


Zigzag lines convey energy and movement, adding a dynamic and playful element to a space. They create visual interest and excitement, stimulating the senses and capturing attention. 

Zigzag elements such as chevron patterns, zigzagging staircases, or angular artwork can be used to inject personality and vibrancy into a room. They are particularly effective in creating modern and eclectic interiors that exude creativity and spontaneity.

A person sitting on a bed with a tall patterned headboard.

Zig-zag lines add an element of playfulness to the space. Pictured: The Aziza Area Rug. Picture credits: @withhasnab

How to use lines in interior design

Visually lengthen or shorten the space

One of the best ways you can use lines in interior design is to visually stretch or shorten a room. As they can influence perception within a space, you can create an illusion to create more spacious or shorter rooms. 

For example, for rooms with short ceilings, incorporate vertical lines to create the illusion of height, visually elongating the space. Floor-to-ceiling curtains, tall mirrors, or vertical stripes on walls are all great ways to make the ceiling appear higher and more spacious.

Two cats in a living room playing on a white sofa.

@viviandotme opts for floor-to-ceiling curtains, helping to heighten the space. Pictured: The Dawson Extended Sofa with Ottoman

On the other hand, if you have a long and narrow space, incorporating horizontal lines can visually shorten the space by emphasising its width rather than its height. For instance, laying horizontal stripes on walls or using low furniture pieces can create a sense of coziness and intimacy.

Establishing visual harmony

Creating a visually balanced space has a lot to do with lines. Applying the principles of symmetry and asymmetry, you can create cohesive compositions.

Symmetrical arrangements, characterised by the balanced placement of identical or similar elements on either side of a central axis, create a sense of order and stability. Use symmetrical lines in furniture placement, artwork, or architectural features for a classic and formal look.

A sofa and dining room in a living room with floor-to-ceiling windows.

@eedesignandbuild makes uses of vertical lines in the space to create visual harmony. Pictured: The Hamilton Round Chaise Sectional Sofa

Asymmetrical arrangements introduce dynamic tension and visual interest by offsetting different elements in a deliberate yet informal manner. Experiment with asymmetrical lines in furniture grouping, eclectic decor, or wall arrangements to evoke a modern and eclectic vibe.

Define zones

Lines can be instrumental in delineating different functional areas within a space, especially in open-plan layouts. By strategically placing furniture or architectural elements, you can create imaginary boundaries using lines.

For example, you can use large area rugs with distinct patterns or borders that can visually demarcate seating areas in living rooms or dining zones in open kitchens. 

An open layout home with a living room clearly delineated with a rug.

Lines can help delineate the space, especially if you have an open layout. Pictured: The Hamilton Chaise Sectional Sofa. Picture credits: @livingthis.smithadventure

Beams, dropped ceilings, or changes in height can define specific areas, such as a cosy reading nook or a dining space within a larger room.

Even transitioning from one type of flooring material to another, like from hardwood to tile, can establish separate zones while maintaining visual continuity.

Direct traffic flow

While we’re not recommending you create literal lines to mark a walkway, lines can serve as guiding paths, subtly directing the flow of movement within a space. This is especially useful in high-traffic areas or rooms with multiple entry points. 

One way you can do this is to position furniture along natural pathways as this encourages intuitive circulation. Align seating arrangements parallel to walkways to facilitate movement without obstructing the flow.

An open layout home with a kitchen island, living area, and dining space.

For a home with a unique layout, lines can help direct traffic flow. Pictured: The Harper TV Console. Picture credits: @squareroomsmag

Strategic placement of lines, such as a series of pendant lights or a gallery wall, can also draw attention along a desired route, guiding you from one area to another.

Create focal points

Lines can lead the eye toward focal points, anchoring the visual composition of a room and adding visual interest.

Vertical or horizontal lines on a feature wall can draw attention to a specific area, such as a fireplace or artwork. 

A large fireplace in a living room with a leather sofa, two armchairs, and a coffee table.

Lines can help to draw the eye towards focal points in the space. Pictured: The Jonathan Leather Sofa with Ottoman and Paloma Bouclé Armchairs. Picture credits: @myrusticmodernhome

If you want to highlight architectural features or even accent furniture, use accent lines or contrasting colours to make them stand out as focal points within the space.

Add depth and dimension

As mentioned above, lines can manipulate perceptions of space, adding depth and dimension to interiors. 

Employ linear perspective techniques, such as converging lines or vanishing points, to create an illusion of depth in interiors. This can be achieved through architectural features like recessed alcoves, tapered walls, or perspective artwork.

A platform bed in the middle of a bedroom.

@wearecellular cleverly includes a recessed ceiling in the bedroom to create depth and dimension. Pictured: The Dawson Bed

Incorporate layers of lines through textural contrasts, such as combining smooth surfaces with rough textures or incorporating linear patterns in upholstery, rugs, and window treatments. This interplay of lines adds visual richness and depth to the space.

Introduce patterns 

All patterns are made up of lines that can evoke various moods, set the tone for a room, and reflect the style of the space. 

Choose patterned flooring such as tiles, hardwoods, or carpets to add visual interest to the floor. Patterned textiles such as rugs, throw pillows, curtains, and upholstery can also liven up an otherwise bland space. 

A leather sofa in a living room with checkered wallpaper and throw cushions.

Patterns liven up and add visual interest to any space. Pictured: The Jonathan Leather Sofa. Picture credits: @duvaldesignllc 

By incorporating these patterns into textiles, flooring, or wallpaper, you can infuse a room with visual interest and rhythm. 

Lines are all around us, but how you use them in interior design can make all the difference. They are the threads that weave together form, function, and aesthetics. By understanding the language of lines and harnessing their power, you can create spaces that not only look visually stunning, but also feel harmonious and inviting.

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