Balance is absolutely everything when it comes to principles of interior design. It’s everything in life, too. You can’t ride a bike, stand on one foot, or serve wine from an elegant tray if you don’t understand balance.
In interior design, balance functions as a barometer for how successful the design is. Things just feel better when they’re equally weighted in the room. There’s a calm stableness to the space and it feels settled and grounded.
Here’s how you can apply this interior design principle to create symmetry and balance in your designs.
Importance of Symmetry Interior Design Principles
Things tend to go sideways if you don’t understand the importance of balance. We learned that from a young age (and are reminded any time we try to put our shoes on while standing)! When it comes to decor and decorating, one of the key principles of interior design is balance for good reason.
Unless your design is a social commentary art piece, you’ll want whatever room you create to be comfortable and elegant. Understanding balance is the way to do it.
Design symmetry is created by either symmetrical balance or asymmetrical balance. I know, asymmetrical balance sounds like a bit of an oxymoron. In this principle of interior design, asymmetrical balance still has a key component of balance.
the local vault
Symmetrical balance is when a room is a mirror image. Here, you’ll make a matching set and create visual pairs in the room. Bedrooms lend themselves well to symmetrical balance. The bed acts as the middle (or mirror) and you typically have two matching night tables on either side with a rug centered under the bed.
Be cautious of having too much or too little symmetry if you use this type of balance. If you have too much balance, the room can feel predictable and boring. If you have too little, the room will feel heavily weighted or lopsided to one side.
Asymmetrical balance is a little harder to master, but lets you have more creativity in the room when you’re designing with it. Think of using the same “weight” but in different forms. You’ll still create balance, but you’ll use items that are not exact copies.
When designing with this interior design principle, look for items that are similar in height, color, or visual weight to create cohesion. For example, instead of having a console table with two chairs on either side, you could place a plant on one side and a chair on the other. It will work as long as the chair and plant are about the same height and scale.
Like with symmetry, too little or too much asymmetry can throw off the visual balance of your design. Here, either too much or too little asymmetry will both make the room feel scattered and haphazard. Your design will come off as imbalanced (and not in an artistic way, but in a “this person doesn’t know what they’re doing” way)!
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Adding Balance to Your Room With Symmetry
Depending on your design aesthetic, you could add balance to your room using either symmetry or asymmetry. They key to understanding this principle of interior design along with your chosen style of design (traditional, mid-century modern, farmhouse, etc) is about knowing the features of the style you choose to design with and how to blend balance into them.
Traditional Style – Symmetrical
Traditional design loves symmetrical balance. But beware, symmetrical balance can feel dull and static. Make sure your design stays classic and elegant by varying the patterns, colors, and textures within your design.
For example: if you are creating a symmetrical design in a living room with two couches facing each other, vary the shape, color, and texture of the pillows and throws you place on said couches. This way, your design is still balanced and symmetrical, but it has a dynamic (instead of stuffy or unwelcoming) feel.
Farmhouse, classic, and traditional styles (like grandmillennial) work well with symmetrical balance.
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The Washington Post
Modern Style – Asymmetric
Modern designs work well with asymmetrical balance. Asymmetrical rooms will feel more dynamic and less rigid than symmetrical rooms because of the variety that you can incorporate to create balance.
For example: the same living room described above would have two chairs opposite the couch in an asymmetrical room. You still get the weighted balance of the objects, but the items themselves are not the same.
If you consider your design taste as eclectic, modern, or bohemian, you may enjoy more asymmetrical balance.
How to Use Balance in Your Home
Designers rely on this principle of interior design to create a “feel” in the room. Balance is a very important aspect of design, just like patterns, color, and furniture style.
Look around your home and notice any places that feel unsettled or chaotic and create mirror images or pairs to bring in symmetrical balance. Likewise, note places that feel predictable and move things around to create a little asymmetrical movement in your home.
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