How Can Balance and Symmetry affect Interior Design [Pro Tips]

Balance and Symmetry are base of each successful interior design. Most people can almost instantly feel if design is great or bad. Learn how to achieve perfectly balanced interior.

How can balance and symmetry affect interior design? Great Balance in Interior Design makes us feel peacefully and comfortably. Overall design looks more expensive and luxury if it uses the law of balance.  Symmetry on the other hand is one of the basic principles of art. However, the interior design does not require full mirroring. Designers love to create asymmetrical balance which is more informal, lively and dynamic.

Why do we love symmetry and balance in our interior?

We love Balance and Symmetry because it is right in front of us. It just seems familiar to us. When you look at your reflection in the mirror and divide your body in half along the vertical line, you will see how your left and right halves are symmetrical.

Our body is perfect example of design Balance. Lot of our bodies parts maintain golden ratio proportions – 1 : 1.61. Scientists have discovered that this phenomenon is constant also in nature, clouds, galaxies, etc..

Since we often find such a balance in life, our brain perceives also better symmetrical and balanced interiors. Balance is key interior design principles and one of first steps to think about.

If you want your home to be a kind of cozy oasis where you can relax from the outside world, then symmetry and balance should be the basis of your upcoming design project.

What is a balance in interior design and how do we achieve it?

Take a look at overall design of room or space you are looking at. Look it as a whole picture with textures and decoration inside. Does the right and left side of the room feel the same? If your answer is Yes, this room is balanced!

Finding right balance in interior design is key to success. Without it, everything fall appart.

But if you feel like your room looks little bit off, even all the elements seem to be ok, your balance might be off. There are some really easy ways to fix this.

When we are talking about Balance and looking towards design we just created, we need to keep in mind three main things:

  1. Visual weight
  2. Symmetry
  3. Building up and out from our focal point

What is Visual weight?

Visual weight is imaginary weight your eyes would give to a piece of furniture, some detail or object in a present space.

Let’s pretend we have large big sofa covered with dark velvet color fabric on one side and light colored glass minimalistic coffee table on the other side. Large sofa obviously has lot of heavy visual weight compared to light visual weighted coffee table.

You don’t want room full of dark colors, big furniture peaces, lot of wood, metal and other heavy stuff. On the other hand you don’t want everything to be without contrast and in same color.

Our job is to merge those two aspects and find proper balance in best possible way.

Symmetry and different types

We know three main types of Balance. The one we choose, largely depends on space dimmensions and style we want to achieve.

  1. Symmetrical balance– this is most popular and easiest to achieve. It can be vertical or horizontal. For example, two sofas separated by a coffee table. Or the use of a flat strip, which visually divides the room into upper and lower parts. It is most popular for square spaces and traditional oriented designes
  2. Asymmetrical balance – this balance is harder to achieve. It is more informal and dynamic when done right. It is very popular in small, narrow or uneven rooms. Usually we have heavy furniture on one side and lighter furniture on other side. With adding stronger colors or patterns to lighter side, we create so called asymmetrical balance.
  3. Radial balance – It applies to objects rotated in the same direction around one central point. This point can be, for example, a round dining table in the dining room, a spiral staircase, or a wreath on the door

Building up and out from our focal point

When we are balancing our space we first need to choose our focal point. Some key element /furniture peace, your eyes are drawn towards, when you enter in to a room.

Our focus is mostly on lower furniture peaces, making those small tweaks and perfecting everything. But at the same time, very important is to pay attention at tall elements present in our design space. Those can make your design imbalenced pretty quick if not taking them in to consideration.

So if we have some tall items on one side we need to find “some weight” also on the other part of the room. It can be tall element as well or maybe using different color paint to bring your eyes higher to create overall Balance.

How to create symmetrical balance in interior?

You do not need to be a professional to achieve a symmetrical balance in your interior. Repeating elements on either side of the axis creates a balanced design. Follow below three easy steps:

  1. You need to determine the center point exactly in the middle of one of the walls or in the center of the room. This will be a compositional center.
  2. Draw imaginary line from the compositional center threw the length of the room.
  3. Furniture elements should be placed symmetrical on both sides of this imaginary line – “mirror effect”. You should not use same items on both sides. They should be similar in shapes to achieve balance.

Symmetrical balance is mostly present in classical styles as you will see on image below, where transitional designed living room is perfectly balanced.

Symmetrical Balanced living room

Let’s find about compositional center and what furniture can we use to create symmetry.

Compositional center

For Compositional center in interior we can use big objects which are essential for that particular room. Lets see few examples:

  • In the living room, it is usually a fireplace or a TV wall. It can be a big picture as well.
  • Bedroom central point would be the bed.
  • A cooker with a hood or dining table can be a compositional center in the kitchen and dining rom
  • Window or ledge can be center in any room.

Different ways to create symmetry

Most common ways to create symmetry threw interior are:

  • Furniture – pair of armchairs, mini sofas, cabinets, mirrors, shelves, paintings, floor lamps, table lamps, etc.
  • Color and decoration – for example, repeat the same fragments on both opposite walls parallel to the central axis.
  • Single objects – such as a sofa or dining table, can stand on an axis – so that it divides them in half.

Arrange objects similar in shape, but not nessesary identical in color or texture. Otherwise design would look monotonous. At the end is up to your taste.

Fireplace as compositional center

Do not strive for absolute symmetry – this is unnatural. Our faces seem symmetrical, but any person has an asymmetry. It makes us attractive.

Asymmetrical balance in interior

If your room Is small or you Just want to add more playfulness and dynamic choose asymmetrical balance. It’s a bit more creative and harder do achieve compared to classical symmetry.

Here are my 9 steps achieving it:

  1. First You need to visually break the interior into two parts.
  2. Find compositional center same as with asymmetrical balance.
  3. When creating an asymmetric interior, you can offset compositional from the midpoint.
  4. Usually offset is about 60% to 40%. You can abandon compositional center but this is not easy to do and achieve balanced room. My advice is to stick to 60|40 rule.
  5. Important is to look at your overall picture. Keep in mind everything can be used to create balance such as Furniture, colors, textures and decor.
  6. Keeping in mind offset rule, put heavy furniture on one side of the room and light and transparent items on the other side. With this, an imbalance will occur.
  7. To balance the parts, distinguish the wall near light furniture by a “heavy” color or a “powerful” texture.
  8. Remember to balance the asymmetry. Both halves of the room should be approximately the same in terms of visual weight. You need to visually weigh not only furniture, but also textures, colors, and decor.
  9. If visual weight is achieved, you just created Asymmetrical balance.
Asymmetrical balanced living room

Why choosing Asymmetric Balance?

Choose Asymmetric balance if shape or size of your room is week. This is good design option for you, if you are modern oriented or like more lively and dynamic interiors. Designers call this design informal with reason.

11. Helpful tips achieving asymmetric balance

There are lot of ways to achieve asymmetry but most important are your eyes. You must feel when visual weight is achieved otherwise imbalance will happen and design just won’t look and feel good.

Below are my 11 tips how to achieve asymmetric balance:

  1. Don’t use mirror effect in asymmetrical balance.
  2. You can place one chair or cupboard opposite the couch.
  3. Place the chairs diagonally in the corners of your room
  4. Use corner sofas.
  5. In bedroom move the bed a little to the side and get rid of traditional symmetry.
  6. Different levels of objects also help to achieve asymmetry.
  7. Place furniture or decor of different heights opposite each other.
  8. Hang a high mirror on one wall, and place a low chair near the other one.
  9. Place a floor lamp on one side of the sofa, and a table with a small table lamp on the other.
  10. Install a high bar counter to the right of the stove, and on the left a cabinet and a couple of open shelves above it.
  11. You can fold the curtain to one side and fix it with the holder.
Asymmetrical bedroom interior design

Balance works with all the styles

Usually, when it comes to interior design, a personal sense of style always becomes a stumbling block. Some people like generously and richly decorated interiors, while others prefer minimalism or modern aesthetics.

When it comes to such a fundamental design principle as balance, every design style finds a common language.

The fact is that the room will never look complete without a certain amount of symmetry. Regardless of the style of interior, balance is the main thing.

Think of balance as a useful tool in creating the base of your interior design.

Then try adding design elements to your taste preferences that will make the interior unique. Balance is the key to the design world. Our brain finds it pleasant, and therefore we prefer symmetry in interior design. When you decide about type of balance you will use learn about focal point and how to use emphasis in interior design.

Try to keep in mind the tips and steps that we described in this article. You will see, people with other design taste preferences wil like your interior as well. Also you and your guests will feel cozy and comfortable in it.

Now look around, maybe you should move something? Or you want to add something to bring more harmony into your room with the help of symmetry? Determine the point that you take as the center of the composition and start creating your balanced style.

What are Pros and Cons of Symmetrical Balance?

PROS would be: – Symmetrical interior design is a perfect for traditional styles. – With such balanced room you can feel confidence, tranquility, and safety. – These interiors will appeal to people who are prone to perfectionism and conservatism.
CONS would be: – This plan is often not suitable for small rooms. – The regular arrangement of elements along the central axis emphasizes the shape and size of the room. For example, if the room is narrow and long, the symmetrical order will make the room look like a trailer.