The 12 Design Personalities small menu wheel


The Design Personality we call Action suits those who are excited by change and motion and are repelled by mundane routine. The degree of Action is individual, ranging from a simple desire to shake things up a little, all the way to a vital need for extreme experiences and constant movement. If this is one of your dominant Design Personalities, then your sense of home requires a dynamic rhythm that resides somewhere along this spectrum.

Incorporating Action in your design could entail a complete transformation of your living space, or it could be simply replacing a piece of furniture or painting one wall in a bold color. Whatever the case may be, Action is achieved using motion and repetition.  Try taking one or several elements and repeating them—three pictures that together form one image, or several throw pillows on your sofa, for example. Diagonal lines also add a dynamic touch, and when combined with strong colors, the volume of Action increases.

A boy running with arms outstretched in space where lighted wires stretch out in all directions from above
Photography mahdis mousavi


A place that speaks Action is achieved by creating movement and intrigue in the foundations of your room. Our eyes are accustomed to rooms that are square, walls that are straight, and openings that are symmetrical; adding an irregular shape or angle will mix things up and create the interest we are looking for. The diagonal line is a powerful expression of movement that can be used in different ways to create a sense of motion—in a staircase, a rooftop, or in a window, for example. A moderate slope can draw attention to an area and inspire interest, but the sharper its angle, the greater our reaction. It is therefore important to explore and keep in mind the level of emotion we are trying to evoke.

A small apartment with a smooth gray floor and many diagonal lines: black chairs with polygon shapes, wooden cabinets at odd angles, and a yellow leather living room sofa with an oblique joint standing lamp.

Rhythm, which is the second way to bring Action into a space, is achieved through repetition, progression, and playing with light. An open staircase is a great example of a diagonal that incorporates qualities of rhythm. Columns, openings, niches or any repeating structural element give a room its cadence, and when these elements cast shadows, they achieve a whole new layer of rhythm.

Shadow streaks resulting from vertical blinds give rhythm to a round wooden table and chair made of walnut with bold rings
Photography Medhat Ayad


Rhythm and motion can also be created through styling and the way we organize our space. By putting our coffee table somewhere other than opposite a sofa, or creating a diagonal line between the placement of a lamp in relation to a rug or piece of furniture, we create a visual illusion which evokes dynamism and movement. Diagonal lines can also be incorporated in furniture like a bookcase, the backboard of a bed or chair, bathroom fixtures, or in accessories like a vase or a piece of art.

A young-looking living room with various records displayed along a shelf and square pictures of different sizes displayed above it.  A sofa, a table, and two carpets are aesthetically pleasing despite their seemingly random placement, and a motorcycle stands in the corner at a slight angle
Architect Guilherme Torres Photography Denilson Machado

Pictures in an variety of frame sizes and placed on the wall at different heights will also create an imaginary diagonal line. Adding accessories, preferably colorful ones, and using stripes, waves, dots, or any other repetitive form in artwork or textiles will also contribute to the sense of motion.

Striped rhythm design: 3 circular lighting fixtures with striped textures hang at different heights in front of vertical blinds and a cabinet made of maple wood.
Photography Medhat Ayad


Color is perhaps the best way to create a sense of activity and motion. In fact, it is possible to create Action in a room with nothing more than color. Colors have the power to wake us up and easily move us from a sleepy or relaxed state into an energetic one. Strong, saturated shades of red, orange, fuchsia, purple, intense green, and sunshine yellow are all good choices to create a sense of Action in a room. Contrasting colors like black and white, black and yellow, red and green, or yellow and purple, create even more energy. Choose your colors carefully to set the volume of motion according to your tastes.


Prints are an excellent way to create Action through movement and repetition.  You can mix and match floor tiles and use a range of patterns and textures in textiles and wallpapers. Sofa or armchair upholstery using capitonnage will add a special musical form to your chosen fabric as well.

Materials such as wood or natural stone also have inherent movement. Using them in your room can add more layers of rhythm.

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