What makes a room ‘work’?  It’s so much more than good furniture and art.  While it helps to have great pieces, returning to the basic principles of design creates a space that really feels complete (no matter the style).

There are six basic principles.  We’ll talk about each in the coming weeks.

First on the list is BALANCE.   On any given day, whether at work, with family & friends, choosing what to eat, or even deciding how many of our favorite episodes of “House of Cards” we can watch in one night, we are always striving to maintain balance.  Too much or too little of any one thing, and we find ourselves feeling discombobulated!  In design, just as in life, the same is true, we must find balance to feel comfortable and just right.

There are three types of balance (radial, asymmetrical and symmetrical) in design.  Each share the principle that a room must be visually balanced through placement of furniture, art, lighting, and accessories.  Take a look, and you can easily see how balance helps create a calm, comfortable space.

Radial Symmetry

A light fixture, table or rug is often (not always) the center point of the room.



Symmetrical Balance

It’s all in the name!  Symmetrical balance requires that certain patterns, configurations, and colors are repeated, or mirrored.  Think of your early math lessons, when you were asked to fold pages and shapes in half to determine symmetry.  In both pictures below, you can do this.  Draw a line down the middle of the picture, and both halves are identical.

The first picture, below, is an example of symmetrical balance in a client’s home.  The fireplace is the focal and starting point (you can see the before picture).

securedownload-8       Ruiz before sitting areasecuredownload-8

Here’s another good example from House Beautiful.   More perfect symmetry here — the chairs, brackets, palm sculptures, and vases are identical.   Symmetrical balance creates a clean, calm, ordered sense of style.


Asymmetrical Balance (definitely more challenging!)

Asymmetrical balance can be difficult to achieve, but when done correctly yields a creative result.  It’s subtly nuanced, with balance often created through color and visual weight of pieces.  In these rooms, you won’t see too much that is identical.

This room on luxe is calm, cool and collected.


Two more good examples of asymmetrical balance.



Balance is important, in life and design, yet it’s often something we don’t notice, until we are off kilter.  Maintaining balance provides us with stability, structure and peace!

4 thoughts on “BALANCING ACT

  1. Nice article. I like the round table in the first picture…makes me think I need a new lighting fixture when we find the tables and chairs I need! I also like the feel of the luxe room…not the big table but the open air feeling of the room!


  2. Pingback: Do you have rhythm? | Surroundings Interiors

  3. Pingback: Do you have rhythm? | Surroundings Interiors

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