Part 11 Balance
Balance is a principle of design that is most readily apparent when it’s missing. Have you ever walked into a room and wondered why it seems like a hodgepodge of furniture rather than a complete room? That’s because there’s no sense of balance. Balance is the distribution of visual weight within a composition. For our purposes the composition is a room in your home. We are going to focus on the concept of symmetry to achieve the desired effect.
Formal symmetry is accomplished by creating a mirror image on either side of central axis. It typically also features a general emphasis of weight near the bottom of the composition. In the example above you’ll note that on either side of the bed are identical mirrors, lamps, and night stands. Between them, functioning as the centralizing point is a large chandelier that hangs low enough to establish balance.
This room also includes the concept of radial symmetry. The chandelier is surrounded on all sides by a white ceiling medallion. In other words, it has a central point from which its design radiates, extends, or spreads like rays from a center. It is especially effective for establishing a sense of balance in a large room!
Another method to accomplish balance is informal symmetry. It is not a mirror image, but it is the equivalent in visual weight. Take a look at the photo above. Despite unique and distinctly different furnishings the room feels balanced. The central aspects are the couch and coffee table. They are evenly flanked by a love seat on the left, and two chairs on the right that. This is classified as informal because the chairs and love seat aren’t identical pieces but are just as effective at stabilizing the room.
The area-rug helps further unify the space because it is independently symmetrical. Last, notice the unusual arrangement of the framed artwork. Hanging them with a right side orientation ensures that the left side of the room seems part of the entire composition. If the framed artwork were hung symmetrically above the couch, the left side of the wall would seem like a separate area. This is the use of balance to make a room seem larger and maximize all available space.
Next read Part 12 – Rhythm
Don’t forget to go back and start by reading Part 1