Top 5 Ways To Keep Your Balance in Design ~

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·ance

[bal-uhns]  noun, verb, -anced, -anc·ing.

noun
  • 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.

Visual Balance

Beautiful symmetrical balance depicted here in this room. Photo via Pinterest with no credits.

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!

Light Balance

Notice chandelier, sconces, floor lamp, daylight and candles all contribute to a well balanced lighting plan.Via Pinterest, Google Images.

 3. Color Balance: If you have opted for a contrast or accent wall, then you need to balance the room with some of that color elsewhere in the space. Suppose you have a strong turquoise wall, placing similar color objects of art or pillows throughout the area or incorporating turquoise into a window treatment or area rug will bring in the aspect of color balance. The multiple strong accent colors shown in the picture below are well balanced, thus keeping the design pleasing to the eye, by the repetition and even color blocking of the color selections. Although the colors in the room below are very vibrant, the positioning of the accents still create a restful space!
Color Balance

Notice the accent colors are distributed around the room. The floor is anchored by a black rug and offset with black shaded pendant lighting. Photo via Pinterest, no url.

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.

Textural Balance

Notice the overall rustic feel of this room via Pinterest. No furnishings or objects are too elegant for the comfortable balance of this space. Photo via atlantahomesmag.com.

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!

Top 5 Ways to Choose the Right #Colors for your Home ~

YOUR HOME YOUR HAVEN ~

By now, you’ve probably heard so many different viewpoints on how to select the right paint color or interior color themes for your home that  your head is probably spinning! I don’t even have time to go spinning, so I have made it easy for you.

Interior Designers, Home Decorator and Color professionals may each have a slightly different approach in achieving color selection.  Over the past several years, I have approached it in the following manner and found that it really, really works. And, works well. What I am sharing with you here, is not simply selecting a color for your walls or a color to “match” (hate that word) your floral sofa, but for your lifestyle and a cohesive design statement.

  1. What’s in  your closet?
    • That’s right, what’s hanging in there? Well, not sure I want the answer to that, but what do you wear, color-wise? Most of us select our clothing based on what we like when we FIRST see it somewhere else. On a hanger in a store, in a print ad, internet, etc. This means you like to look at it. Next comes the part where you determine if it looks good ON you. If so, decision made. Simple, it comes home with you and becomes part of your self-expression. If you feel comfortable wearing it, you most likely will feel comfortable living with it. This is closely related to personality. So, express yourself! Okay, this is obviously a staged closet, my closet looks similar…um, I have a bit more black.

Neutral palette ~ Interiors reflect this.

picture courtesy of designhomeonline.net

2. What’s the exterior of your home look like?

    • This is very important for cohesive design. Unless you plan to change the exterior color (like my client below), the interior will flow nicely if a visitor doesn’t have to put on sun shades or stumbles backwards upon entering. If there is a predominate color, (usually it’s neutral, even a red brick can be “neutral) that would be a good starting point. If it does happen to be red brick it doesn’t necessarily mean you must  have that color on the interior, this is just a starting point.

Front of home prior to Patti Johnson Interiors – Get rid of the RED mulch!

Exterior after by Patti Johnson Interiors

Interior by Patti Johnson Interiors

Notice how the Exterior and the Interior of the home are now in alignment. The existing golden oak handrails, posts and stairtreads were painted in a gloss black to integrate into the cohesive color palette.

Designs and photos: Patti Johnson Interiors.

3. Next is nature.

    • You’ve likely heard this before. This can include a number of thing such as: What colors are in nature? Well, just about every color you can think of. But more importantly, what non-neutral colors are you drawn to? If you adore poppies and geraniums, then accents of bright red will work well for you. This can be achieved in small doses by introduction of accent pillows, even small kitchen appliances. You get the idea. Even an accent wall. But it doesn’t need to be the over-riding theme. The red here sure gives a lot of punch.

      Red accents in kitchen via Interior Design Houses

4. What is your view like?

    • This is also very important. If you have an awesome water or beautiful landscape view,  then the interior should showcase that and not distract from it.  This is why you will find the color palette of many Coastal Homes in soft, neutral tones. AND, I’m sure you’re familiar with the term, “Bring the outside in?” It refers to letting the view take center stage and likewise setting the stage or designing around the view rather than competing with it on the interior.

As seen in Coastal Living by Phoebe Howard - Serene Palette

5. What’s the current trend?

    • And finally, let’s touch on trends. You may think, I cannot afford to update every time there are trend changes. You don’t necessarily have to but if you’re one of millions of  homeowners who like to be “on top of trends” well, yes, yes you can. If you invest in neutral upholstery and floor covering, you can update a paint color on the wall and change out your pillows and a new rug for a fresh perspective.

Orange as a trend. Picture via FLOR

So, there you have my philosophy in selecting both interior and exterior colors. There are many other things that as a Designer, I take into consideration. These are suggestions to get you started, Cohesive doesn’t have to mean boring or neutral, it can be bright and cheery. Cohesive means that there’s a REASON your foyer is electric blue, so let the colors flow throughout the space! I also suggest you experiment with small sample sizes of paint colors, you will be amazed at how different it can look on a wall vs. a 2 inch square!  Hope you enjoyed my guideline and if you still need some help, contact me! I LOVE to help with color selection for your lifestyle and to“Make Your Home Your Haven”!

~ Chatti Patti