You know that feeling when something in your home is just off? When glancing around a room, you may not notice anything overtly out of place, but perhaps it feels… not quite right. And it makes you feel, well, not quite right.
Although you may not realize it, a lack of balance in your home decor can have adverse effects on your emotional state and overall feeling of happiness. A well-balanced room supports a sense of harmony. And this isn’t just a theory that comes from a feng shui book.
According to a study by psychologists from the University of Liverpool and the University of Rome, when we feast our eyes upon the visual symmetry that comes along with balance, we enjoy feel-good emotional states such as serenity and joy. Similar to the way water is at its purest, healthiest form with a balanced pH of 7, we feel best when we find ourselves situated within a balanced space.
Okay, so, we’ve established that bringing symmetry into the interior design of our homes is a good thing. But what do we mean when we say a room is “balanced?” And what causes a room to be balanced as opposed to being unbalanced?
We’ve already discussed some basic interior design principles that are important for you to know, but here we’ll focus specifically on symmetry, balance, and how to achieve it. Between playing with placement, texture, contrast, and much more, there’s any number of things you can do to turn your awry abode into a well-balanced haven.
Creating Balance in a Room with Symmetry
1. Work with the Space You’ve Got
Let’s begin with the obvious: you have to work with what you have. Selecting pieces for a 600 square foot studio apartment is going to be an entirely different beast than selecting pieces for a 3,000 square foot home.
Another consideration is that your home may have built-in architectural features around which you must decorate and position furniture, like a particularly grand fireplace or oddly-positioned windows. It’s important to embrace the space you’re working in because, the fact is, we don’t all live in Pinterest Land. Not all rooms (or budgets) are created equal.
It’s also important to remember that style, art, and interior design – even symmetry – can be subjective. In other words, your personal preferences could (and should) come into play. You do you.
2. Watch Your Furniture Placement
Probably the most obvious way to achieve symmetry in your home is through the use of furniture placement. For example, placing a coffee table in the center of a room with a sofa on one side and two occasional chairs on the opposite side will create balance, as will placing matching bedside tables with matching lamps on either side of a bed.
It’s worth noting that using furniture to create symmetry can be overdone. Beware of creating rooms with layouts that are too mirrored. Rooms with extremely identical opposite sides can feel contrived, too staged, and will lose their sense of comfort.
3. Use Contrast
We know what you’re thinking. Contrast? But I thought symmetry and balance are about things being the same!
Well, yes and no. While using contrast in your space does inherently highlight differences between two different elements, it also can help create balance. Why, you ask?
Remember the idea of yin and yang? Yin and yang are opposing forces which, together, create a balanced whole. The same idea can be applied to your interiors. Rooms without contrasting elements will feel flat, dull, and unfinished. By playing with contrasting colors, sizes, and textures, you will ultimately help create a space that feels complete and, therefore, more balanced.
4. Use Texture
As we just mentioned, texture is an element that can be utilized to help balance the look and feel of a room. Obviously, texture is the way things feel to the touch. But texture is also something we can also perceive through our eyes. We can sense the difference between a very minimal, Scandinavian-esque interior and a rustic, southwestern interior just by looking at them.
Texture is used to achieve balance by placing a smooth surface next to a rough one, which seems simple enough. You could juxtapose a fluffy rug against a hardwood floor, use a textured tablecloth on a sleek dining room table, or even keep billowy flower arrangements on top of your marble countertops. Without texture, a room will be less visually interesting and, of course, unbalanced.
5. When Going Big, Less Can Still Be More
If you’re like us, you love the pizzazz a great statement piece can bring to a room. However, in order to keep your room in balance, make sure not to go crazy with dramatic pieces.
Bringing large and bold furniture into a space is a great way to create a strong focal point and to create visual interest, but too much of a great thing can backfire on you. Select one (or if the room is large enough perhaps two) good statement pieces per room. Then design the rest of the room so that it helps support and balance the piece that’s serving as your point of visual interest. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating a room that feels oppressive and cluttered.
What are your favorite ways to create balance in a room?
This is by no means an exhaustive guide to creating balance in a room, but it’s definitely a start! What are some ways you’ve created a well-balanced home?
Looking for some new pieces to help balance your home?
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