The repetition of a design element creates harmony in a room and a theme comes from strong harmony.
This dining room is pleasant to look at; nothing leaps out shouting,”Look at me!” It’s balanced and the repetition of the circular design creates an understated theme.
The circular design of the hanging light fixture over the dining table is replicated in the chair backs. The interior scroll-work is hinted at in the floral arrangement and the circles repeat in the wallpaper. The wall sconces, candle holders and table accessories reinforce the circular design, and the table itself is circular. Relief from all the circular values is given through the strong vertical lines of the drapery, and the horizontal lines of the wainscotting.
You love the roses in the drapery fabric. It is repeated in a rose motif on a few sofa cushions or the area rug. If it’s a bedroom, then motif reappears on the pillow shams, bed skirt, lamp base and a picture or two. A soft-colored bouquet of roses painted on the front of a bedside table helps build the harmony.
These repeated elements do not have to be duplicated exactly; that could look very contrived and far to “picture perfect.” The scroll-work might be generally oval- shaped but is always the same color; there might be one type of rose repeated through the room and it is always the same color.
Which leads to theme — theme is taking harmony up just a notch.
Suppose you have a boy’s room to spruce up and his favorite sport is hockey. This one is easy; the room color scheme could be the same as the favorite team, hockey sticks can be repurposed as a curtain rod or lined up and used as a headboard. A few jerseys, some framed pictures, a bit of stenciling on a lamp shade and the theme is done. Don’t over-do it, but make sure one major element — a team’s logo, perhaps — is repeated at least three times,
The theme is the overall feeling you get when you walk into the room. The theme of the rose room might be a summer garden; build the theme with colors found in the rose garden. Perhaps the walls could be soft yellow, peach or pink — depending on the rose motif you chose. Add plants, and bouquets of real (or good faux) flowers. For an old-world feel, perhaps trellis wallpaper. No dark wood here; white wicker or white-washed wood. This is not the room to experiment with a red feature wall. Whereas it might be a spectacular backdrop for the jersey displays in the boy’s room.
Theme is sometimes difficult to spot in today’s decors that tend toward eclectic mixes of style and design. That is the way we live. However if you want a rose garden bedroom, achieving it is done through theme and harmony.