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Applying Design Elements to Event Décor Layout

Applying Design Elements to Event Décor Layout

Planning for an event is a big deal, fraught with a range of important decisions, possible oversights and consideration to make, which can make it a daunting task for anybody who has not already had plenty of experience with doing it.

Will you opt for event décor hire? Will you do it yourself? How large will the event be? How many guests are you expecting?

These questions and more require detailed answers if you are going to check all of the boxes. This is as true for corporate events and festivals as it is for weddings and birthdays.

If you have an upcoming event and are having a difficult time putting a plan for the theme and décor together, we have some helpful tips for you that will help you to take care of each and every detail.

By applying the same elements and principles used in any type of aesthetic design, you are sure to put together an event that leaves a lasting impression on all who attend; at least as far as comfort and aesthetics are concerned.

So, let’s have a look at what these principles and elements of design are, and how they can be applied to your décor plan.

The Elements of Design

The elements of design include colour, lines, shapes, form, texture and space. These are as important to a logo or painting as they are to the way you choose to layout your event.

Each of these elements can be looked at as tools, workable artefacts that can be used and incorporated in your plan to make the décor and theme of your event work cohesively.

Whether opting for event décor hire or you are sourcing and creating these elements yourself; each one should be used to enhance every aspect of your plan.

Colour & Light

Colour and light represent two sides of the same coin when it comes to any type of design. Why is this?

Because the way light reflects off of objects will affect their colour, and the way colour is used in a design, will also affect the amount of light it gets. This is particularly the case in décor, since light plays an important part of the design’s overall feel, comfort and style.

For the most part, you need to let plenty of light into the space without overdoing the colour, while at the same time ensuring that it is vibrant enough not to give off the impression of being dull.

There is no one-perfect-way to utilise colour and light in your plan, it is dependant on what look and feel you are going for.

Still, it is good to know that these two elements make up two of the most powerful interior design tools at your disposal, and should be used as such.


Lines are simply unclosed shapes, and they are found everywhere.

When designing a layout for the décor of your event, lines play an important part in its overall composition and as such, should be considered very carefully.

Part of this means knowing where they fall (and where their absence might be a problem) in your chosen venue, and what part they can play in enhancing your overall design.

They account for what we call sight lines, which are related to perspective in design, particularly where décor is concerned. If set up right, your guests will be treated to a better view from any perspective whereby each object in the space is carefully arranged to create an illusion of expanded perspective and more space; even when filled out.

Shape and Form

Shapes and forms, and how they relate to décor design, are also important.

The elements of design distinguish between shapes and forms, in that shapes are generally flat while forms take up more of a 3-dimensional space.

It’s the difference between the small round table (that offers surface space and acts as a shape) and the table’s centrepiece (the form) that takes up the surface space to fill it meaningfully.

When considering these two elements in décor design for any event, you need to consider the relationship between them; that is how forms make use of spaces created (or even taken away) by space.


Texture is an element of design that can easily be overlooked in décor design, but it plays an essential role in the finishing touches on the aesthetics of your event.

We will discuss the principles of uniformity and variety in a moment, but for now, it is important to know that the element of texture plays as pivotal a role in creating uniformity and variety that the elements of form and shape do.

Where can these elements be applied in décor design? Think of the textures of fabrics, furniture, drapery and even the carpet or wooden floor.

While they work quietly and in an unnoticed way in the background; these elements are often only noticed when they are overlooked, resulting in an inconsistent theme in the design.

An Added Extra: Practicality

The element of practicality isn’t mentioned anywhere in the fundamentals of design, but where setting up the décor for an event is concerned, it should be considered an essential element. Even if the entire design and layout is utterly breath-taking, it will count for nothing if there is no practicality and functionality behind it.

For example, you might be in love with the idea of an open-air event where everyone is seated comfortably beneath the blue sky, but how will your guests feel about rain or the blistering sun. In such cases, it would be far more practical to source a marquee for hire.

While it may not fit snuggly into the plan for your event’s décor, it will definitely serve the practical function of keeping your guests sheltered and comfortable.

The Principles of Design

If the elements of design tell you what you can use in your décor plan, the principles of design will show you the best way to use and combine these elements to arrive at an impressive, unique and cohesive theme for the event.

These principles include the way elements are balanced, how they are situated and use according to their proportions, which areas of the décor will attract the most attention, the way these elements create an illusion of movement, how repetition and variety are created and how each element of the décor design works together to form unity in the setting.


Balance concerns itself with the way various visual elements are arranged and distributed in the décor to make each one work together and enhance the others.

The principle of balance takes into account the concept of ‘visual-weight’ in all objects and elements present as part of the décor, and includes the elements of colour, texture and space.

By the principle of balance, each and every element should enhance others by being paired with them in a real-world space.


Proportion describes the way in which all parts of a design relate to one another. Has a low-set table created too much space in a corner, proportion demands that the space be effectively filled to compliment it?

This might be achieved, for example, by placing a tall vase that fills the space between the floor and ceiling without detracting from the design or table layout.

Having said this, proportion is generally related to an object’s physical attributes like size and dimension.

Proportion is also important when it comes to directing the eye and creating emphasis, which brings us to the next point.


Emphasis, where attention is directed, what becomes most noticeable as part of the design. At any event there is something (often more than one thing) that should be drawing guest attention.

It could be the stage at a music concert, the main table at a wedding, the speaker at a conference.

Your design needs to understand where emphasis needs to be fostered at your event, and every element should work in a subtle way to direct attention to it.

The need for emphasis might not even need to be as practical as that, but can be used to enhance aesthetics by distracting attention away from certain elements or drawing attention to them.


Movement isn’t a literal term in design; so, if you were wondering how it relates to objects in a fixed position, it has more to do with how the décor’s design directs the eye around the space.

Flowers on columns can direct the eye up towards elegant drapery, or the arrangement of seating can lead guests to look down the aisle or towards the main table at a wedding.


Repetition is essential for creating patterns in décor design. It may also be necessary to create a sense of movement, cohesiveness and even emphasis (as discussed above).

By repeating certain elements such as the layout of lighting, the arrangement of tables and tablecloths, or placing flowers in the same arrangements on columns, naturally pleasing patterns can be created that add to the cohesiveness of the overall design.


On the other side of repetition is variety, the way elements of the design change from place to place.

This is important when accentuating certain details of the décor, creating a sense of movement or creating a sense of balance, proportion and emphasis.

These variety ensures that smaller details are able to grab and hold the attention of guests while contrasting repetitive elements to enhance their impact on the overall aesthetics of the design.


The principle of unity concerns the way in which all of the abovementioned elements and principles work together to create a design that is cohesive in every way. Even those elements that stand out as unique should somehow compliment those that are repeated.

To do this, unity requires a marriage of every one of these principles in a meaningful, well-thought out way, so that, even though they are all separate from each other, they still work together to form a sense of harmony between them.

Neutral colour pallets in décor design help to achieve this result, but of course, are not appropriate for every theme and event. As long as they don’t clash and you make the best use of elements such as repetition, variety, proportion and balance, you will be able to achieve a sense of unity that is still unique to the intended theme of your décor.

If, for instance, you have hired a stretch tent with cream fabrics that are enhanced by the sunshine, your table-settings should work from a similar colour pallet to complete the look.

What to Consider Before You Get Started

The above information should give you a fairly good point to start from when designing décor for your event. However, whether you are looking to orchestrate the above elements and principles yourself, or prefer the route of hiring event décor, there are a few simple considerations to make to ensure you are able and equipped to pull of the design you are imagining.

The Venue

The size, layour and generally style of the venue, even before it has been dressed by your design needs to be carefully looked at to determine which approaches and designs would fit best inside of its shell. Is it inside or outside, is there enough light? Is it warm enough? Will it provide enough space for each of your guests? These are but a few of the questions you should consider when thinking about the venue in your design.

The Type and Time of the Event

The type of event you are hosting, as well as the time of day (and season) it is being hosted at, will also determine the style, theme considerations you need to make in its design.

Your Expected Audience

Who are your guests going to be? What are they expecting from the event? What are their requirements for comfort? These are a few of the questions you should have answers to even before you get started.

Time Available for Preparation

It is vital to work within your time constraints when designing a décor layout. For instance, if your design is particularly complicated but you only have a week to get started, you might want to simplify it significantly. If, on the other hand, you have an extensive budget and six months to plan, there is no reason not to go all out.

Contact Stretch Tents

If you are hosting an event soon and would like to make the most of its décor, speak to us here at Stretch Tents South Africa. We offer specialised marquee, tent and event décor hire services that are sure to put the spark in your next event.

Feel free to get into contact with one of our representatives today, or visit our website for additional details on our offers and services.`

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