Dramatic Interiors | 7 Design Concepts

Designer mentors Beth and Carolina of Pulp Design Studios share 7 design concepts to create a dramatic interior!>>

No matter what your budget, style, or taste, there are some simple design concepts that you can apply to any interior to create instant drama. There are seven techniques that we use when designing for clients that will create an eye-catching appeal to any space.

Hierarchy in Scale Not everything needs to be the hero. When you have too many items competing for attention in your space it loses focus. Think in stair-steps when placing your pieces. In the room pictured above, look at the three main focal points: the headboard, the lamps, and the bedding. They stair step down in heights and scale to lead your eye through the space.


Stark Contrast A bold contrast in color and pattern is always sure to create excitement. It’s eye catching and demands attention. This room is almost completely monochromatic, but because of some dramatic tonal changes the space makes a powerful statement.

Large Scale Pattern A unique pattern that is large in scale is one of the easiest ways to create a jaw dropping space. A wall covering, fabric, or simply a pillow can all do the trick.


Repetition The use of repetition is one of the greatest ways to design for drama. It creates consistency and often helps to fill space in a creative way. The repetition in this living room goes beyond just the wall art and flows into the pillows, and even the rug pattern. The result is a dramatic space that keeps the eye flowing through all the details.


Bold Use of Color What’s bolder than color? Not much. Fearless use of color is a no-brainer when it comes to dramatic interiors.


Heroic Symmetry There are plenty of ways to create balance that don’t involve symmetry. But, when your space is perfectly symmetrical it can give a firm sense of authority and structure that is incredibly powerful.


Dynamic Lines A great starburst, the lines in tufting, and angular shapes can all create an amazing sense of drama because there is a central focal point that radiates out the rest of the space. Take this pillow, for instance; rather than simply making a pillow out of a striped fabric, we mitered the corners to create a square pattern that forms a sort of ‘design bullseye’. One simple change creates instant impact.

Of course, you aren’t limited to these seven concepts! There are plenty of other ways to create drama that my require a trained eye and are more difficult to implement. For instance, a great interior designer can create amazingly dramatic spaces by going completely white or a small scale light fixture can create an unexpected sense of subtle drama. But, you have to know the rules to break them! A good professional designer can give you that unique edge that goes beyond drama to take your interior to the next level.


Beth Dotolo, author of this feature, is principal of  Pulp Design Studios,  an Interior Design firm in Dallas. You can also see more of professional photographer Kevin Dotolo ‘s work on his website.

A full list of all our global mentors [ who are top professional interior designers ] on our Mentors Page.

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