using balance to create a well-designed space...

Understanding a few of the fundamental design principles can help you create a beautiful space. When a room is well-designed, it just feels right when you walk into it. There’s a flow and cohesion to the room. One of the ways to achieve this feeling is through the use of balance. This term is often used to describe the composition of a painting, but it’s also an important way to view and help you to set up your space. There’s three different kinds of balance: symmetrical (formal), asymmetrical (informal) and radial.

symmetrical/formal balance

The easiest way to achieve balance is by using the symmetrical or formal form, as the design elements are repeated on each side. It’s when the space is evenly split into two sides that mirror each other. For example, two matching side tables partnered with matching table lamps placed on either side of a sofa is said to be symmetrically or formally balanced. When using this kind of balance, care has to be taken to make sure that the room maintains visual interest.

asymmetrical/informal balance

Asymmetrical design is typically created with an odd number of disparate elements. Lines, colours, forms and textures are balanced in a space without duplication. For example, asymmetrical balance can be achieved by placing a table lamp and side table on one end of the sofa, and on the other end by using a floor lamp. Asymmetrical balance is more challenging to use, but when done successfully creates a visually exciting room with a more dynamic design.

radial balance

When there is a central focal point with other elements radiating from it or around it, this is radial balance. The most common example of using radial balance would be in a dining room, with chairs arranged around the dining table. By using the same chair around the table there is a lot of repetition of form, texture, and color. Radial balance is not as commonly used in interior design.

Watch for more articles on basics of interior design. The next article will discuss rhythm, harmony, emphasis and proportion and scale.