Interior designers use the concept of balance for creating beauty in a room! And this concept is not hard to learn and put into practice. Knowing how to use balance in your home will make you a better decorator.
Balance is a word and concept all home decor enthusiasts should know. It’s one of the important elements of decor. I’m so excited about today’s post. Knowing about and using balance will make you a better decorator. Let’s dig right into today’s subject!
It’s my passion to help you be a confident home decorator! It’s so important to know interior design secrets and know how to use them as you decorate.
I’ve broken down the concept of balance so that it is easy to understand and I’m sharing how you can use it in your home over and over again to create beauty!
WHAT IS BALANCE?
Balance is a hard definition to pin down. It’s more of a feeling than a concrete definition.
I like to explain balance by visualize an old fashioned scale.
The goal for us today is to keep the scale balanced. In other words, what is on one side of the scale is the same weight as the other side.
Now choose any room in your home.
Divide your room down the middle and virtually put all the things on one side of your room on one side of the scale. And do the same with the other side. Balance is the artistic task of making the scale balance in the middle! Not tipped too much to one one side or the other.
Everything you have in a room has visual weight. Some things “weigh” more to the eye than others. As home decorators we should be thinking about the visual weight of everything in a room! Our goal is to balance that virtual scale.
A room that seems relaxed and pleasing and looks beautiful is usually a balanced room.
Here’s another way to think about balance. How would you feel if you walked into your living room and everything in it was on one side of the room except a chair? Would you feel comfortable? Would it feel odd to be in that room? Of course!
Balance is how we place everything in a space and how those things harmoniously relate to one another.
Here are some important decorating terms that relate to balance and are good to know and put into practice.
SCALE AND PROPORTION
Most of us probably think that scale and proportion are the same things. They are certainly related but they are not interchangeable.
Scale is all about choosing furnishings and accents in a room to fit the actual space of the room. Home furniture and such should work with the size of the room it is put in.
Think about how an overstuffed sofa would look in a very small room. Would it make you feel crowded and uncomfortable? Or how would a tiny table look in a massive dining room? Lost, for sure! That is scale!
Scale is all about choosing the right pieces of furniture for the size of the room.
The main pieces of furniture should set the tone for the scale of the room. There is wiggle room with the scale rule when it comes to accessories.
Think about Goldilocks when you think about scale. She was always looking for the bed and the chair that was “just right”. And so should you when you decorate a room!
Now let’s turn our attention to proportion. When we think about proportion we need to think about how the objects in a room relate to one another.
They can and should differ in size and shape and height and even scale to some degree. But they should play nicely together. And make sense in relation to one another.
It is like a dance. They all need to be in step and participate to make the room look attractive.
SYMMETRY and PAIRS
Symmetry is an easy and beautiful way to add balance to a room.
It gives a room a feeling of order and comfort. Symmetry is extremely pleasing to our eyes.
Symmetry is the idea of one side of something being the mirror image of the other. The same but backwards.
We love symmetry because it is everywhere in nature
- our bodies
- nautilus shells
- birds with their wings spread
- milky way galaxy
Symmetry is all around us. And we are quite symmetrical.
As humans, we love the feel of symmetry.
How does that transfer when we are talking about decorating? A matched set is a type of symmetry. Did you know that your eye (really our brains) travel around a room looking for repeated things? Shapes, sizes, texture, and symmetry! Our eyes LOVE symmetry!
Think of all the decor that is often paired…
- table lamps
- side tables
- bedside tables
- candles or lanterns
These are just a few of the items we put into our homes in pairs. And when we match them on either side of a focal point (later post) we create magic! And beauty is created in a room!
Here are pairs in my living room…
- pillows (two sets)
- white spindle chairs
- baskets under the coffee table
ASYMMETRY and TENSION
Now that we know about symmetry let’s let things get a tad different. When things look too perfect they can often look a little (yawn) boring! This is where asymmetry, another type of symmetry, comes into play.
Asymmetry is when things in a room are balanced but they are alike or mirror images. Think of a sofa with a side table and lamp on one side of it and a tall tripod floor lamp on the other.
Or think of a desk with a chunky task lamp on one side and a vase of flowers grouped with a small decorative box and a mercury glass votive on the other.
We are still trying to balance the decorating scale but each side of the scale has different objects in it.
Good asymmetry is still balanced. The visual weight on each side is the same, or close to the same, even if the objects aren’t.
Asymmetry is a more casual look than symmetry.
Always strive for balance within an asymmetrical look. When done right it is still as pleasing to the eye, if not more, as mirror image symmetry.
Now a quick note about tension. I must admit I love a little tension. But only in decorating!
Tension is the thing that makes a room seem extraordinarily interesting and full of life. It is the element of surprise and is the tale tell sign of your personality showing through your decor.
When I decorate a room I like to go back and mess things up a bit. Even just a little. A piece of furniture painted a wild color. Or a chair with a fun pattern or something as simple as a pillow that looks a tad out of place.
Tension does just what it says… makes you a little tense! Your sense is that something is a bit off but it is not so wrong that it makes the room look uninviting. It brings just enough tension to a room and that it is a very good thing!
If you have a room that looks too perfect it may need a bit of tension to make it perfectly imperfect!
Now YOU know about balance and its design, friends scale, proportion, symmetry, asymmetry and tension! I hope you start using balance when you decorate!
Balance can be the difference between a nice room and a gorgeous one!