When things are balanced, everything feels right.
Balance refers to the visual equilibrium of a room. A room with balance will have a sense of visual calmness and harmony. Balance is about giving careful consideration to the placement of objects within a room according to their shape, colour, size and texture.
Larger, darker and highly textured objects typically appear visually heavier within a design scheme. It’s important to balance these with the other lighter objects in the room. Here are my top tips to achieve balance in your home.
TYPES OF BALANCE
There are three types of balance:
Symmetry is achieved by arranging elements on either side of the centre of a composition in an equal manner. You can think of it as a mirror image. Symmetry often provides an elegant, more formal feel to a space. These spaces can be very aesthetically pleasing because they make sense. Symmetry is calming and harmonious because the amount of information that our brains need to process is kept to a minimum.
Symmetry is a great tool to create visual balance. Bedrooms, for example, lend themselves to symmetry. The bed is generally located in the centre of the room and side tables on either side.
In asymmetry, the elements are arranged so that there is a sense of cohesion and balance but not perfect symmetry. This is a bit trickier to master but allows for more creativity, and if done well, it can make a space so much more interesting and alive.
Asymmetry invokes surprise and with the unexpected comes a more dynamic, informal look. Asymmetrical spaces tend to have a more naturally evolved, relaxed feel. The variety of elements creates a less formal or rigid scheme.
An example of asymmetrical balance is a sofa with a side table at one end and a floor lamp on the other. There is no exact duplication of the furniture, but more of a casual placement of items around the room.
Radial balance uses items arranged around a central point. It is a great way to draw attention or focus to a central item. Think of a circular pendant or chairs around a circular dining table.
Asymmetry and symmetry when used in harmony, can create an interesting and dynamic scheme. This space below uses both to define it. The fireplace is the central focal point. The shelving either side provides a sense of order and stability. The furniture, however, uses unexpected asymmetry (with a visually heavier sofa than the stools opposite) which creates a more relaxed feel.
Six of my favourite creative (and easy) ways to put your own personal stamp on your home:
HOW TO ACHIEVE BALANCE IN YOUR HOME
1 | ANALYSE THE ARCHITECTURE
Balance is often informed by the floor plan and architectural features of the room, rather than just our preferences. For example, a fireplace is almost always a central focal point. This opens up the perfect opportunity for symmetry in the design.
Have a look at your space to determine if it lends itself to one or the other. Note the architectural features like windows and doors or a fireplace. Are your architectural features centred or more random?
2 | THINK ABOUT YOUR STYLE
Balance is also influenced by the style you are drawn to. Classic or traditional styles tend to have more symmetry.
Contemporary, eclectic or bohemian styles incorporate more asymmetry.
A transitional style combines both traditional and modern design elements. You can use your personal preference to determine the layout in these spaces.
3 | ARRANGE YOUR SPACE
Try to distribute various objects throughout your rooms to achieve balance in your home. Remember to look at the shape, size, texture & colour of each object. Start by looking at shapes and move on from there.
When it comes to colour for instance, you want to balance its use around your room. If you have black cushions on a cream linen sofa for example, perhaps consider using black elsewhere to add balance. The addition of a black velvet occasional chair in the corner of your scheme could work. Or it could be as simple as including a a couple of accessories. Perhaps a coffee table book with a hint of black and a black sculpture on your sideboard?
4 | TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING
If a room has too much symmetry, it can feel very flat and predictable. Shake up things by introducing a different colour or pattern to a pair of chairs or re-arrange the furniture. On the other hand, too much asymmetry can make a room feel a little unsettled or chaotic. Look for areas that feel messy and bring a sense of balance by creating some symmetry.
Playing with balance can help alter the feel of a room and make it more harmonious. You can do this by simply removing or re-positioning furniture, lamps accessories and art in your space
Perhaps it’s time to take a walk around your home. Can you tweak a few objects to improve the balance and give your home a sense of calm? I hope you enjoyed my tips for achieving balance in your home. You can read more interior design tips on my blog, starting with how to plan your space.