Why Balance Is Important When You Decorate

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.

using balance in a living room

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!


balanced decor on the white buffet

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.


white buffet in the living room

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.

using balance to decorate the fireplace

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.


balanced fireplace with spindle chairs

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
  • butterflies
  • birds with their wings spread
  • snowflakes
  • milky way galaxy
  • sunflowers

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!

symmetrical fireplace and chairs

Think of all the decor that is often paired…

  • table lamps
  • side tables
  • chairs
  • bedside tables
  • mirrors
  • pillows
  • 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
  • curtains


asymmetrical decor on a chest in the living room

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.

living room

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!

balanced living room

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!






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  1. Gail Palmore says:

    Such a beautiful lamp on the chest by the window and near your fireplace. Where did you get it? Looking for two light colored bedside lamps for master bedroom. We have a large four poster bed. This one may be a little too large, but it sure is pretty.

    1. Hi Gail, I found this lamp at Pottery Barn ages ago. They have some pretty lamps that look similar on their website. Check there.

  2. Love your decorating style. Where did you purchase the zebra throw pillows?

    1. Mary Metzler says:

      Beautiful room! Where is the pretty rug from?

  3. I enjoyed your review of how to create,balance in our decorating. Looking around my house I realized I tend toward asymmetrical in my rooms but still have balance by repeating size and shape in my furniture and accessories. I do have matching love seats in our formal livingroom and Twin beds in a guest room but other than curtains that’s about all. When we lived in a colonial,style house I used symmetry and it just seemed right but I think often the style of our house dictates our decor as it should along with the personalities of the occupants.
    Happy Valentines Day.

  4. I love love that jug vase by your huge clock. I’m feeling “tension” because it would look stunning on my mantel! Can you share the source? xxo

    1. You can see the Tuscan vase on the Pottery Barn website. The greens came from a local shop.

  5. Hi!
    Happy Bright Sunny Day!!
    Our small solar fountain on our front brick
    patio is spouting cute plumes of water.
    Our roof top solar panel are doing a wonderful
    job as well.

    Always love visiting your posts.
    Quick question:
    In your LR there are 2 spindle chairs.
    Where would someone place a glass.
    I not one for matching end tables. But where do you place a
    drinking glass. On the Hearth?

    1. Yes, we use the hearth. Tables would make our living room way to crowded.

  6. DeeAnn Buller says:

    Hi, I’ve been following you for a bit now and have recommended friends to follow you. You have an incredible eye for color and design! Even though my style varies from yours, your concepts and “rules” if you want to call it that apply to a beautiful outcome.
    We moved as well and the purging process has been tough and I can so relate to what you have gone through.
    Would you be willing to share what color you painted your home and the trim? It’s as beautiful as the inside!
    I’m not sure if you have highlighted the outside of your home, so I wanted to ask. I had a white home before, but I want to go more of a creamy color but not too dark.
    Sorry for the long post. Thank you for helping and for your lovely blog!!

    1. Hi Dee, thank you so much! Because we live in a small community of six Villas all the houses are painted the same. I’m actually not sure about the trim but I think the door color is Balboa Mist by Benjamin Moore. Hope this is helpful

  7. Jennifer Mundell says:

    Your pillows always look amazing. Would you please share where you buy the down pillow inserts and pillow covers. I love your site.

    Thank you.

      1. Jennifer Mundell says:

        I am using Pottery Barns inserts presently and have for years, but I am finding the feathers are leaking out into the pillow covers. It makes quite a mess and takes a while to clean out the covers.
        Where do you purchase your pillow covers?

        Thank you.


  8. Your rooms are very pretty what is the tension piece in your room? The animal print?
    I love your rooms

  9. Ramona Cummngs says:

    Question. Where can I find your rug.

  10. Asymmetry is also beautiful. Symmetry can be boring. To each their own.

  11. Hi Yvonne! I have been following your blog for great ideas. I have a question about your cabinet. It looks like part of an entertainment center I purchased from Coleman Furniture. How has yours held up? Mine began flaking within a month of receiving it. They say it is not a defect. How is the finish flaking not a defect? I hope you have better luck than we did. It is a beautiful piece. Thanks for sharing your talent.

    1. Flaking paint or finish is NOT okay! Take pictures and save any flakes you find. Then keep pestering them for a refund or a better product. It’s frustrating to have to deal with such bad companies!

  12. I like your drapes. Did you have them made? Or purchase. If purchased then where?

  13. Michelle Adams says:

    Ok I gave just come across your blog because I’m styling my mantle. I have been thunder struck by your designs! Do you let us know where you get your decorating items. I’m interested in the candlesticks and the mirror for starters. Thank you for blogging! You’re amazing ?

    1. Hi Michelle, welcome to our StoneGable family of readers. So glad you found us! Thanks for your lovely comment. The candles on the mantel came from Wayfair and are no longer in stock. And I just looked and so is the mirror. I found the mirror at Ballard Designs and they have lovely ones there. You might want to check them out.