As humans we are trained from birth to love symmetry.
We are a beautiful creation of symmetry and the balance we see in ourselves is the jumping off point to our first forays into design. Most of us employ two night stands, a pair of lamps and matching end tables in our living rooms. Even those of us who like furniture slightly askew crave symmetry in all of its forms.
Symmetrical balance – this is the most commonly used design element as it is safe and predictable. Items such as furniture and accessories are placed in exact pairs. Mirror images of each item will generally divide up a room. If you have one lamp, you use the identical lamp on the other side. Furniture is placed straight back following the lines of the room and generally the focal point of the room is directly in the middle of one wall.
Asymmetrical balance – here we find a trendier and less formal method of arranging rooms. If you have a corner fireplace or corner feature windows, this is the perfect room to set up a room with asymmetrical balance. This is still very pleasing to the eye but much less safe and it takes a bit of a creative mind to arrange asymmetrical balance without it looking like total chaos. You can use odd or mismatched items but can still draw them together using coordinating fabrics or patterns. Colour can also pull an asymmetrical plan together. You don’t have to have a matched set of end tables if the wood tones are complementary and you can have a mismatched set of lamps if the shade fabric is similar.
Radial balance – this is commonly used to enhance the function of a room. A room with a dominant fireplace or a media room are very good examples of a room with radial balance. Consider how everything will radiate from the kitchen island in your home, like the spokes of a wheel which spread out from the center hub. Rooms are often designed with radial balance to accommodate the function or the most important feature in a room. This is a natural and friendly way to design a room and promotes conversation and family connection, like the common dining room or kitchen table which is the simplest and most common example of radial balance.
The rule of any design scheme is simple, have items, colours and design elements make sense. If you use it in one part of the room, balance that in the other part of the room. Whether you put it exactly opposite, off to the side or in a circular pattern you are using balance in your design theme which will create a visually pleasing and relaxing atmosphere in your home.
You will know your personal preference in what type of balance works best for you.
Those who are needing predictability will go for symmetry while those who are more carefree and creative will gravitate towards the asymmetrical style. The friendly, family types will usually opt for radial balance to keep everyone inside their protective circle.
Whatever style you decide on, it will perfectly reflect your personality and spirit without you even giving it conscious thought. These kinds of things in design usually just naturally happen without us even trying!
Kim Meckler is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.