Post by Kyle St. Romain.
One of the most fundamental concepts of interior design is balance. Balance can be achieved in one of three ways: symmetrically, asymmetrically, or radially. Regardless of which type of balance you aim to create, the primary goal of balancing a room is to equally distribute the visual weight of the objects within the space. Size and shape aren’t the only factors that influence the weight of an object; shape, color, pattern, brightness, and texture also play important roles in achieving balance.
Symmetrical balance is typically used when designing formal spaces, where each side of the room is equally split and weighted with your chosen décor. To achieve symmetry, designers often use identical furnishings on both sides of the room, though not always. A bedroom with matching nightstands and table lamps on both sides of the bed is a common example of symmetrical balance. While symmetrical balance is usually easier to achieve, especially if you’re purchasing new furniture for a square or rectangular room, it can be difficult to create a room that is both symmetrically balanced and visually interesting at the same time.
Asymmetrical balance, which is often considered less formal than symmetrical balance, can be a little more involved to execute properly. Instead of the room being split into mirror images, asymmetrical balance uses different furnishings and décor that roughly equate in terms of their visual weights. For example, you may have a living room designed with a large sofa on the right and two smaller chairs across from it. In this example, the two smaller chairs are used to balance out the larger sofa. While individual tastes vary, I find that asymmetrical balance is the most visually interesting, albeit a bit harder to do right.
One of the hardest parts about creating an asymmetrically balanced bedroom (that looks great) is to make the design appear effortless. Asymmetrical design can require a lot more thought, but you don’t want the room to convey that extra work to its viewers. An example of asymmetrically balance in the bedroom would be where you use a side table on one side of the bed and a mirror on the other. The trick is to make it look right, and appear symmetrical at first glance. Asymmetry can also save you money, especially if you’re buying used furniture or antiques that might be difficult to buy in matching sets.
Radial balance is the third type of balance, and is achieved by arranging furnishings around a central focal point. A common example is a circular dining room table surrounded by chairs. Unless you have a custom-shaped mattress, radial balance isn’t commonly used in bedroom design, except maybe when arranging wall-hanging items or in bedrooms with a lot of space and a seating area. You may also aim to balance your bedroom radially, with how you arrange your larger bedroom furnishings, e.g., you wouldn’t want to put your dresser, chest of drawers, and bookcase all in the same corner of the room – you’d spread them out around the bed.
The best way to understand balance is to look at examples of what other people have done. Houzz has several excellent channels that feature designs utilizing these three types of balance. The following links are provided to show you examples of how other designers utilize symmetrical balance, asymmetrical balance, and radial balance in their space.
What do you think: Do you prefer perfect symmetry or an asymmetrical bedroom? Let us know in the comments below.