Let’s chat about BALANCE. Balance in Interior Design is not too different from balance in other areas of your personal or professional life. Why? Dictionary.com defines it this way;
[bal-uhns] noun, verb, -anced, -anc·ing.
- a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight amount, etc.
- something used to produce equilibrium; counterpoise.
- mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.
Notice common words of calm and stability? That is what proper balance can bring to a well designed space. When a room is out of balance, you will tend to feel out of balance entering it or spending time in it.
A well balanced space can be determined in more than one way.
1. Visual Balance or weight: This can relate to a large bank of windows on one end of a room with the opposing wall with nothing but a 12″ picture hanging in the center of it. It is important to properly balance the weight in the room. One side should not be overbearing. A solution to the bank of windows on a wall is a set of bookcases along the opposing wall to create visual balance or weight. Notice in the definition above that other words for balance is weight and equilibrium.
Visual Balance, in my opinion, is the number one most important form of balance in designing a beautiful, inviting space and the one I will spend the most time chatting about. It is wide ranging and encompasses more than the architecture of the room or large furnishings. Visual balance is key when accessorizing a room. Too much clutter can throw off even a well designed and balanced space. Balance your art and objects of desire appropriately, or better yet, have a professional Interior Designer assist you.
Visual balance allows your eye to rest between furnishings or objects. A focal point is to draw your attention in a strong way to a particular spot or location in a space. A focal point can also set the tone of the room and need to be balanced. A large stone fireplace on one wall is a beautiful focal point and you don’t necessarily want or need to detract from it, but how you arrange your seating around it can be very important to the success of the room. The space created around furnishings and objects give the eye a place to rest. The balancing of tall and short is also key which gets us into another area of design, proportion, which Chatti Patti will address in a future post. Maintaining good balance in very large rooms can be very tricky for an untrained eye and this is where an experienced Interior Designer can assist you in your quest for a beautiful and restful space.
2. Light Balance. You need to have more than a single glaring light in the center of the ceiling. Consider adding some perimeter recessed can lights or eyeball lights in front of a fireplace or bookcase. If you are using lamps, then you will want to balance the light within the space so as not to create dark spots. Offset the natural light coming in through the windows by installing a pendant light over a corner chair to cozy up the space at night or better yet, my favorite: sconces!
4. Texture Balance: If you have rough hewn wood flooring, don’t furnish out the room with smooth shiny objects and furnishings. Incorporate texture into the space by the addition of wool throws or an animal skin rug, etc. to “equal” out the texture. Heavier weight fabrics such as the suede sofa shown below blend with the “feel” of the room in harmony. There is also a restful tone to this room created by the unification of color.
5. Cost Balance: What in the world is this? This is a way I help clients achieve a well balanced project when keeping within a budget. An example of poor cost balance would be spending $10,000 on a down filled cushioned sofa and running out of money and then completing the room with put it together yourself furnishings. Great to invest in a few good pieces, but keep the “balance” of what you need to purchase in mind when writing those checks.
As mentioned earlier, not too very different from balancing your life in all other ways, keeping an eye on time with family, friends, work and play all take some effort yet yield great results as in good design!
Thanks for stopping by, please feel free to comment or ask a question!
Check back soon to hear what Chatti Patti is up to!