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Gestalt Principle of Closure in Interior Design: 20 Ways to Use it in Your Home

Gestalt Principle of Closure in Interior Design: 20 Ways to Use it in Your Home Applying the Gestalt Principles of Closure to Figure Designs: A New Era in Interior Design Inspired by Gestalt Psychology
Gestalt Principle of Closure in Interior Design: 20 Ways to Use it in Your Home

Meet the Author and Your Future Designer: Julio Arco is a passionate architect with years of experience in architecture, interior design, urban design, and housing. He studied at prestigious universities across North America and Europe. 


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Gestalt Principle of Closure in Interior Design: 20 Ways to Use it in Your Home

Applying the Gestalt Principles of Closure to Figure Designs: A New Era in Interior Design Inspired by Gestalt Psychology

The transformative power of interior design is something that has enchanted me from the early stages of my career, seducing my senses with its ability to shape and define our experiences within a space. One particular element of this discipline that has held me spellbound is the application of Gestalt Psychology, and more specifically, the principle of closure. 

Weaving this thread of Gestalt principles into interior design is much like the process of closure itself – as our minds complete a picture that our eyes see as incomplete, so too do these principles fill in the gaps, creating a seamless bond between form and function in design.

Now, what exactly is the principle of closure? It’s the cognitive phenomenon in which our brains strive to perceive a complete image even when elements are missing. The ‘Law of Closure,’ as it’s often referred, is an essential part of Gestalt psychology, a fascinating field that seeks to understand the mind’s perception of visual elements.

Interior design, with its inherent focus on aesthetics and functionality, is the perfect canvas for Gestalt psychology principles, and closure is perhaps one of its most compelling features. We see it when furniture placement delineates a space, our minds filling in the boundaries. It is present when a cluster of objects collectively form a singular unit, creating cohesion. The principle of closure is all around us, within and beyond the realm of design.

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To further illustrate this, here are 20 ways we can incorporate closure in interior design:

  1. Establishing Room Divisions: Strategically arranging furniture in a large open space can create the illusion of separate rooms, which is a testament to the Gestalt principle of closure. This could be a dining area in one corner, or a reading chair in another, with each having its unique feel, thus enabling your mind to perceive them as distinct spaces.
  2. Thoughtful Rug Placement: By defining a particular area within a room using rugs, you create a boundary that triggers a sense of closure. For instance, a large rug under a seating arrangement in the living room can distinguish the space as separate from the rest of the room.
  3. Effective Use of Colors: Different color schemes can enhance the perception of separate areas within the same room. This clever use of color not only helps define spaces but also allows for a sense of closure as your mind categorizes these areas as separate entities.
  4. Grouping Wall Art: Grouping related pieces of art together on a wall forms a cohesive whole, tricking the eye into mentally filling in the gaps and promoting a sense of completion or closure.
  5. Strategic Lighting: By positioning lights to highlight certain areas, you can delineate spaces. This spotlighting technique subtly guides the viewer’s gaze, enhancing the overall perception of closure in a room’s design.
  6. Furniture Pairing: Furniture that matches or complements each other can be grouped to create a sense of unity. This not only creates a pleasing aesthetic but also satisfies our innate tendency towards closure.
  7. Repetition of Shapes or Patterns: Repetition of shapes or patterns, whether in furniture, decor, or architecture, can create a sense of unity and closure. The recurring motif allows the eye to anticipate and thus complete the pattern.
  8. Mirrors for Closure: Large mirrors, particularly those placed at the end of a space, can reflect the room back on itself, creating a sense of continuity and promoting closure by extending the visual field and multiplying design elements.
  9. Creating a Focal Point: A large painting, a grand chandelier, or a striking piece of furniture can serve as a visual endpoint in a room’s layout, providing an immediate sense of satisfaction and completion.
  10. Symmetrical Arrangement: Arranging furniture or decor symmetrically can create a harmonious balance in a room. This equilibrium offers a sense of order, thus satisfying our desire for closure.
  11. Asymmetrical Balance for Closure: While asymmetry might suggest chaos, if done right, it can create a dynamic equilibrium that provides closure. This can be achieved through balancing different elements that have equal visual weight or interest.
  12. Use of Curtains or Screens: Curtains or screens can divide a larger space into more manageable areas, providing physical boundaries that create a sense of closure and making open spaces feel cozier.
  13. Plant Grouping: Similar to furniture, grouping indoor plants can create a natural barrier or boundary, giving a room an organic feel while suggesting a sense of closure.
  14. Patterned Wallpapers for Closure: Wallpapers with specific patterns or motifs can give walls a unifying element that provides visual closure. This can be particularly effective in tying together a room’s color scheme.
  15. Utilizing Shelves and Bookcases: Apart from their primary function, shelves and bookcases can act as room dividers, providing defined spaces that satisfy our desire for closure.
  16. Creating Visual Paths: By arranging furniture or decor to create a visual path leading to a focal point, such as a window or a piece of art, the eye is guided through the space, resulting in a sense of completeness.
  17. Maintaining Theme Consistency: Consistent themes in a room or a designated space enable the mind to easily categorize and perceive it as a separate entity, thereby promoting closure.
  18. Optimizing Negative Space: Not every area of a room needs to be filled. Leaving some spaces empty or “negative” can, paradoxically, lend a sense of balance and completion to a room. It’s about the artful balance between the occupied and unoccupied.
  19. Use of Symmetry in Architecture: Symmetrical architectural elements like equal-sized windows or matching columns on either side of a room provide a strong sense of order and balance, which, in turn, offers closure to the viewer.
  20. Incorporating Natural Elements: Elements such as plants, stones, or water features can add an organic sense of closure to a space. These elements provide a natural and pleasing unity, thus creating a satisfying feeling of closure to the room’s design. 
Gestalt Principle of Closure in Interior Design: 20 Ways to Use it in Your Home

When applied skillfully, the Gestalt principles of closure can revolutionize figure designs in interior design. This principle permeates the field of design and other related disciplines, such as architecture. For instance, the way buildings frame the sky can create distinct forms, engaging the principle of closure.

Moreover, evidence-based design, which emphasizes the use of credible evidence to influence design decisions, has started incorporating Gestalt principles, reflecting their efficacy and relevance in modern design thinking. This is a clear indication of the exciting crossovers happening between psychology and design.

On a personal note, I have seen the transformative power of these principles in my own work. I once had a client who was struggling with a large, open-plan living room. The vastness of the space was overwhelming, and they could not figure out how to make it feel cozy and intimate.

Gestalt Principle of Closure in Interior Design: 20 Ways to Use it in Your Home

Using the principle of closure, I suggested the strategic placement of furniture and rugs to create implied boundaries. The result was remarkable – the space was transformed from a daunting open area into a welcoming, unified space.

The application of the Gestalt principles of closure to figure designs heralds a new era in interior design, one inspired by the tantalizing intersection of psychology and aesthetics. Like the principle itself, it is about connecting the dots, finding unity in diversity, and creating a harmonious whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Indeed, the future of interior design lies in the continued exploration and integration of such interdisciplinary knowledge, where we draw from fields as diverse as psychology, architecture, and design theory to create spaces that are not just beautiful, but also psychologically pleasing. Embrace the principles of Gestalt psychology in your interior design endeavors, and witness the transformation unfold.

Gestalt Principle of Closure in Interior Design: 20 Ways to Use it in Your Home

Final Thoughts

As we close this journey of exploring the Gestalt principle of closure in interior design, it’s clear that interior design isn’t simply about beautifying a home—it’s an immersive, multidimensional field that constantly evolves, borrowing from numerous disciplines including gestalt psychology, and incorporating principles such similarity, continuity, and closure. By applying these principles to our designs, we tap into the human brain’s predilection for recognizing patterns and completing forms, thereby creating spaces that feel balanced and satisfying.

We’ve seen how well-planned furniture placement can delineate a space through the principle of closure, how the human eye prefers to see complete shapes, and how we can use this knowledge to create coherent and cohesive interior designs. Gestalt theory is truly a designer’s best friend. Whether it’s the principle of figure, law of closure, law of similarity, or principle of continuity, each guideline presents a potent tool to create inviting and harmonious spaces.

Beyond a home’s walls, these principles transcend the realms of design, finding application in various categories. Whether it’s designing a logo that will capture a user’s attention on a web page, or arranging content on an online site for optimal user experience, the principles of Gestalt theory have a universal relevance.

In entertainment, sports, gaming, science, or tech categories, designers can capitalize on these principles to create a sense of order and unity. Our brain’s tendency to seek closure extends beyond the realm of interior design and into every aspect of our visual perception.

But let’s not forget, the act of design is also about personal expression and creating spaces that resonate with our individuality. Incorporating personal touches such as a favorite image, a piece of art, or an outdoor rug that brings a pop of color, adds that extra dimension to our designs.

Designers, armed with the knowledge of these gestalt principles, can tailor their designs to evoke specific feelings and reactions, all while providing a positive experience for the end-user. It’s no surprise that these designers are not just creators of spaces; they are architects of experiences.

A design that’s rich with well-thought-out elements—be it the architecture, the use of light and shadow, the scale of furniture, or the color theory applied—brings an additional layer of depth to a home. Such design elements create a symphony of shapes, forms, textures, and patterns that lend harmony to space.

It’s remarkable how a principle discovered years ago still holds a significant place in the realm of interior design. These principles are not just theories to be read in a text; they are real-world tools to be implemented, tools that can transform the way we perceive and interact with our environment.

So, whether you’re looking to arrange an L-shaped sofa, brighten a room, or decorate a large wall, remember the principles we’ve learned. Embrace the opposition in design, celebrate asymmetry, or play with symmetry. Mount your TV on a stone fireplace, decorate a half wall, or fill up a niche in a way that respects these laws, because understanding and applying the Gestalt principles will make your design journey as fulfilling and enjoyable as the end result.

At its heart, interior design is about creating spaces that not just look great but feel complete. Spaces that offer closure. Because at the end of the day, the way our spaces make us feel matters the most. That’s the true power of design. That’s the magic of Gestalt!

Gestalt Principle of Closure in Interior Design: 20 Ways to Use it in Your Home

Principle of Closure in Interior Design – FAQ

1. How can the Gestalt principle of closure be applied to interior design to make a space more harmonious? 

   The Gestalt principle of closure in interior design can enhance the harmony of a space by creating a sense of completeness. For example, thoughtful furniture placement can delineate a space through the principle of closure, giving the brain the illusion of a closed-off, cohesive space even when it’s not entirely separated.

2. What are some ways I can use the Gestalt psychology concept of continuity in my living room design? 

   In Gestalt psychology, the principle of continuity suggests that our eyes follow lines, paths, or curves, creating a fluid, continuous direction. In a living room design, you might place a large, curved sofa facing a round coffee table, creating a sense of continuity and flow in the arrangement.

3. How do Gestalt principles, especially the principle of closure, influence the aesthetics of interior design? 

   The principle of closure, part of Gestalt principles, plays a substantial role in interior design. It works on the premise that the human eye prefers to see complete shapes. Even if a space is open-plan, using elements like rugs, furniture, or lighting can create a visual ‘closure,’ making the space feel more organized and aesthetically pleasing.

4. I’ve heard about the principle of similarity in Gestalt psychology. Can you share some ways to apply this in interior design? 

   The principle of similarity is a cornerstone of both Gestalt psychology and interior design. It suggests that things which share visual characteristics like shape, size, or color will be seen as belonging together. For instance, you can create a harmonious design by choosing furniture and accessories that share a color palette or material.

5. Can you explain how the Gestalt principle of figure and ground could be applied in the context of interior design? 

   The Gestalt principle of figure and ground involves differentiating a shape (the figure) from its surrounding area (the ground). In interior design, this might involve creating a contrast between furniture (figure) and the walls or flooring (ground). This can be achieved through color, texture, or lighting, highlighting the ‘figure’ and making your design elements stand out.

6. How do principles from Gestalt psychology, such as closure and similarity, apply to UX design? 

   Gestalt principles like closure and similarity are also fundamental to UX design. For instance, in a web layout, strategically grouped similar items (similarity principle) or a connected series of dots creating an unseen line (closure principle) can guide a user’s eyes to essential elements or information.

7. I’m redoing my home office in a minimalist style. Are there any Gestalt principles I should consider to enhance the design? 

   Absolutely! When designing a minimalist home office, consider the Gestalt principle of simplicity, which states that observers will perceive and interpret ambiguous or complex images as the simplest form possible. This means choosing clean lines, simple shapes, and a limited color palette to create a serene, uncluttered space.

8. How can I leverage the Gestalt principle of closure in my webflow design to create a more user-friendly website? 

   In webflow design, the Gestalt principle of closure can be used to guide the viewer’s eye across the page. By carefully arranging elements and utilizing negative space, you can create implied shapes or paths that the user’s eye will naturally follow, improving navigation and overall user experience.

9. Could you provide some examples of how interior design principles align with Gestalt psychology when designing spaces that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing? 

   Interior design principles often align with Gestalt psychology to create spaces that are both beautiful and functional. For example, the principle of balance in design corresponds to the Gestalt theory’s symmetry principle, where elements on either side of a design are mirrored, promoting equilibrium and harmony in a room. 

10. If I want to design my living room in a specific style, how can Gestalt principles guide me in choosing furniture, colors, and layout? 

   Gestalt principles can indeed guide your decision-making process when designing a living room in a specific style. The principle of similarity, for instance, encourages the use of consistent design elements like color, texture, or form. This can help you curate furniture and decor that feel cohesive with your chosen style. Likewise, the principle of closure can inform the layout, allowing you to create ‘zones’ within the room without physical partitions, maintaining an open feel while still delineating different functional areas. Ultimately, these principles aim to create a space that is both visually appealing and functional, optimizing your living experience.

Gestalt Principle of Closure in Interior Design: 20 Ways to Use it in Your Home
Gestalt Principle of Closure in Interior Design: 20 Ways to Use it in Your Home

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M.Arch. Julio Arco
M.Arch. Julio Arco

Bachelor of Architecture - ITESM University
Master of Architecture - McGill University
Architecture in Urban Context Certificate - LDM University
Interior Designer - Havenly
Architecture Professor - ITESM University

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