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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Does Balancing What's in Your Home Help Your Life?

Balance matters in your home.
Balance is an important design principle. I was thinking about this the other day because of a project I am working on. This project has odd windows placement making window treatments difficult to implement. I will be suggesting the windows be changed as it would bring a much better sense of balance to the room and the homeowner can get the panels framing the windows he so desires.

 Why is balance so important? 
We all crave it in our lives. Work time, family time, play time... we would like to achieve some sense of balance in our lives. It is no different when designing your home. What is balance when it comes to interior design? Balance is equilibrium both visually and psychologically. Balance pleases our senses and soothes our souls. The example above is balance though symmetry ~ mirror images from a center point. This is considered the most formal type of balance. It is lovely and very pleasing.

What if 'perfect' balance doesn't suit your eye and heart?
But what if mirror images simply cannot be done or it feels too formal for the desired outcome. Above is an example of asymmetry ~ optically varying items from a central point to achieve balance. The central point above is the art work. Note the floor vase with a great amount of mass. On the right hand side, the lamp is very similar in height to the vase but clearly doesn't have the mass to balance the vase. The chair adds the needed mass to gain a sense of balance. I used a grouping to balance the vase. The vignette is very pleasing and draws one into the center (the focal point) using asymmetrical balance.

Maybe a little of both will be the secret to happiness.
The picture at the top and the one just above are in a master suite.  These two forms of balance adds to the harmony, another design principle, in the room. The two types of balance, symmetrical and asymmetrical, adds interest to the room. Clearly the palette unifies; the type of balance adds the variety.

Can we talk?
What about this Jay Jeffers' design? This is radial balance ~ equilibrium based on the circle. Stadiums are often based on radial balance as the focal point is at the center.  Everyone can see the football game because they are sitting all around it.  A round dining table offers radial balance as everyone sitting at the table can see everyone else at the table.  This is a type of balance near and dear to my heart.  You may know I was a psychotherapist in my past career with a specialty in group psychotherapy.  I would arrange the circle perfectly so each member could see the other.  This fosters good communication.  The focal point really is each other.  It is easy to see the radial balance of a stadium and a round dining table but what about real life furniture arranging.  Jay did a nice job here.  The sectional forms half the circle; the single chairs the other half.  There is a fireplace and art as a secondary focal point but I see each other being the primary one in this vignette.

So what type of balance is right for you and your room?  
It all depends on what you're trying to accomplish and the space you have to work with.  Symmetrical can feel more formal; asymmetrical more artistic; and radial more communicative.  I have all three represented in my home.  That variety is simply pleasing to me. What about you?  Do you lean more towards one or the other?


  1. What a great way to explain it Paula! Step by stepping through the asymetrical design was perfect! Thanks!

  2. Thank you Andie! I love to teach. Knowledge is powerful!!


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