Design tip – Bring on the Balance

Balance speaks as much as to how the room feels as it does to how the room looks. Everything in our surroundings has a visual weight to it.  Color, size and texture all impact how we interpret an objects’ visual weight.  For example, a deep burnt orange visually appears much heavier than a soft gray.  We intuitively look for balance, whether we are consciously aware of it or not.  That is why for many of us, if a room has too much of one element or not enough of another, it won’t feel right to us.  It will appear off-balance and we’ll instinctively look to bring something in or edit something out to restore a sense of balance for the space.  Knowing what to bring in or edit out to balance the space is the key and to create that sense of balance, you need to first identify the element(s) in the space that are causing it to feel unbalanced. Next you should then either bring in equalizing pieces or edit out pieces that do not visually balance the space.  Through balance, we create a sense of cohesiveness.

Balance is created in three basic ways: Symmetrically – Asymmetrically – Radially

A symmetrically balanced space contains objects that are perfectly centered from a focal point creating a mirror image of each other. For example, you have sofa table in your living room with a mirror above and you place an identical table lamps on either side of the mirror. This type of balance tends to feel more formal.

An asymmetrical balanced space is achieved when the left and right sides of a focal point are not equal or mirror images of each other but their visual mass is equal.  For example, taking that same sofa table, you would place a table lamp on one side and balance it with a sculptural piece and two smaller framed photos on the other side.  Asymmetrical balance tends to be more informal or casual and can be more difficult to achieve.  You really need to have an awareness of the visual weight each element carries.

To achieve a radially balanced space, all the elements radiate out from the focal point in a circular fashion.  Positioning chairs around a round table with a large low centerpiece is an example of radial balance.

Balance creates a warm inviting spaces.  Look around your room and see if you can identify any areas that may not be in balance.  Do you have your furniture grouped on one side of the room and have very little to balance it on the opposing side or wall?  Look to bring in balance by moving objects around or adding to the grouping.  Draw an imaginary line through the middle of the space that feels unbalanced and play with both sides until you achieve that sense of balance.

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