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).

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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!

Viva Las Vegas!

A few weeks ago my family celebrated our Mom’s 80th birthday in Las Vegas.  We stayed at The Wynn, checked out a show and played lots of slot machines!  While everything is over-the-top-grand in Sin City, some things that happen in Vegas – like great interior design ideas – should not stay in Vegas.



This leather wall panel is fabulous.  It takes leather wall covering to a new level!

On the right, another great wall panel – a deep, rich, embroidered textile.


This ‘little’ powder room off The Wynn lobby featured an Art Deco vibe.  Beautiful!

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LOVED this gold framework detail and vases of red roses against a bold blue background at the end of the lobby hallway to the elevators.  Beautiful textural framed pieces were everywhere.  There was no corner that was inconsequential.   There is a design lesson lurking there.

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At The Wynn no detail was overlooked…loved the oversized glass drapery hold backs.  I felt like stopping and calling someone every time I walked past these silver phones that could be found throughout the hotel – just fabulous.

It’s hard not to have a great time in Las Vegas, especially when there is design inspiration all around. We can’t all have choreographed, fountain and light displays in our backyard, but I gathered so much inspiration that could be incorporated into residential design.  It would be a sin not to share!

Welcome to Our Blog

Here at Surroundings Interiors, we are very excited, because this is our first blog ever.  Social media is not new to us – we are hooked on Houzz, pinned to Pinterest, and constantly checked in on Twitter and Instagram.

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Blogging – however – is new to us!  Based in Tampa, FL , we find inspiration everywhere…we see great design ideas during our travels, while watching a film, flipping through magazines, while shopping, or just out on the water enjoying the scenery.

Colorful kayaks in Rockport, Mass.

Colorful kayaks in Rockport, Mass.

Great painted, concrete path at Sunken Gardens, St. Pete, FL

Great painted, concrete path at Sunken Gardens, St. Pete, FL

We want to share our thoughts and ideas with you — so, this blog will be an open dialogue about all things interior (and sometimes exterior) design related!


Anna Maria Condo Remodel by Surroundings Interiors.

Mexican Hacienda style home by Surroundings Interiors.

Mexican Hacienda style home by Surroundings Interiors.

We also get a lot of questions from friends and family.  What color should I paint my walls?  Which fabric would you use?  How can I get more space out of my kitchen?  Do you think I can knock down this wall?


A client sends pictures of fabric samples!

We hope to tackle some of these questions and delve into the art of interior design as we share our current projects and design process.

Thanks for joining us and let us hear from you!

Sharon Laird, Surroundings Interiors