Interior Design Interior Design Student

Balance & How It Works – An Interior Design Principle

November 25, 2016
Balance & How It Works - An Interior Design Principle

So today, I thought I’d get a bit technical and provide you with an insight into Balance. It is one of the Interior Design basics when planning spaces.

Have you ever entered a room for the first time, and automatically felt at ease, and comfortable in your surroundings? If you have, it may well be that the space has used a key ingredient – BALANCE. Of course, there will be other elements at play, but getting the balance right within any room is important to how it will make you feel when you are in it.

Planning out your spaces can be easy if you understand the principles of applying balance. It is key to making a room look visually stable by the simple placement of furniture, accessories, the use of colour and other elements such as form, and size. Without it you will end up a room that feels, and looks uncomfortable to be in.

There are basically three different types of balance:  Symmetry, Asymmetry and Radial.

So Why Use Balance?

  • When planning a new layout to a room, it provides you with the basis of the flow of the room. By going through the planning process you can see whether your space is best suited for a symmetrical layout or one that is more asymmetrical.
  • Applying balance to a space can help avoid unnecessary costs when planning as it provides you with an insight into furniture requirements and their sizes.

Symmetry Balance

Balance & How It Works - An Interior Design Principle

Symmetry is something that we pick up subconsciously because it is so familiar to us. It actually surrounds us everywhere, from looking at ourselves in the mirror to the natural world outside.  The 1:16 ratio or the Golden Ratio, to be precise.

As most rooms have a focal point to them, symmetrical balance works by utilising the invisible axis (from the centre of your focal point) and applying mirrored arrangements of different elements either side. Focal points are an important aspect of a room, as they provide us with not only visual interest but a sense of order.

The art deco inspired hallway above, uses symmetrical balance brilliantly.  It is clear what is the focal point, and the mirroring of the different elements either side reinforce the central axis, creating a uniformed and harmonious look and feel to the space.

When & How to Use Symmetry In Your Homes

If you are the type of person who seeks order symmetrical balance is perfect. It is also easy to implement if your space allows. Symmetry is easier to live with as it creates a visual balance that is easier on the eye, calming and harmonious.

Balance & How It Works - An Interior Design Principle

Image Tuku.jaa

Find your focal point within your room. Think fireplaces, beds, and dining table. Although, generally speaking, the place where your eye falls first when you enter a room is the focal point.  Take the central axis of this focal point and work outwards mirroring either side of it design elements such as furniture, lighting and objects. The key is to use similar weights either side of your focal point.

Remember to consider the visual weight of objects through colour, texture, size, and shape. When planning your spaces, it is also good to remember that darker, larger, complex and highly textured elements appear visually heavier within a design scheme.

Balance & How It Works - An Interior Design Principle

Symmetry in this living space is utilised by the placement of furniture reinforcing the focal point to the room.

Asymmetry Balance

Not all spaces suit the uniformed look of order that symmetry provides. Here is where asymmetrical comes in to play as it provides a more dynamic, informal look. The key here is to balance visual weights, textures and colour.

Asymmetrical balance can be harder to achieve, but if it’s done well, it can make a space so much more interesting and alive. The reason for this is that it creates tension and surprise in a room with the visually unexpected.

Asymmetrical balance creates a less formal or rigid scheme. They tend to have a more relaxed feel to them as a variety of elements are working together to create balance. The above bedroom space is balanced by the use of the objects such as the artwork on the wall and vases to the left of this asymmetrically designed bed. The dark colour of the focal wall is balanced out by the lightness of the window.

This asymmetrical fireplace above uses balance by the use of decorative objects either side of it to create harmony and stability in this living space.

Balance & How It Works - An Interior Design Principle


Sometimes the architecture of your space will also have asymmetrical attributes to it such as this fabulous living space.

Symmetry & Asymmetry In Harmony

Balance & How It Works - An Interior Design Principle

Image decor pad

You can, of course, implement both asymmetry and symmetry together, to create a more interesting and dynamic design scheme. This particular living space uses both symmetry and asymmetry to define it. The fireplace is the focal point (axis) to the room. The shelving either side provides a sense of order and stability.  The furniture, however, uses the unexpected use of asymmetry, which creates a more relaxed feel to the room. The sofa is darker and looks visually heavier than the stools opposite.

Radial Balance

Radial balance utilises a central focal point that design elements radiate outward or inwards to the central point. An example of which is a circular dining table that is reinforced by lighting, rugs and placement of objects. The use of radial balance is a popular choice for hotels and office spaces as they often create stunning results.

This amazing dining area on a yacht is the epitome of radial balance with the ceiling and flooring elements accentuating the central axis point.

Radial balance is rarely used in traditional homes, but as you can see from this simple dining table arrangement above, it is possible with beautiful results. The radial balance here is reinforced by the placement of the vase and lighting above.

This type of balance is great for creating an area that is sociable and intimate so perfect for dining and seating areas within your homes.

I hope that you’ve found today’s post of interest especially when designing your own homes. There is nothing better than to walk into a room and feel comfortable in your surroundings. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to head towards the comments box at the top of the page.

As always, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read today’s post.

Have a  great weekend wherever you are!!

Until next time….



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  • Reply Amanda Dodds-Hooson January 10, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    This is very informative. The problem I have, is that I am a nightmare when it comes to placing things, it has to be unconventional, or it goes!!! It’s nice to read through the proper use of symmetry etc., again. Really good piece Maria :) xx

    • Reply Maria January 11, 2017 at 11:02 am

      Thanks Amanda. Being unconventional is great at adding the element of surprise!!

  • Reply mohsen March 9, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    Thank you maria
    very much for my contributions to my learning

    • Reply Maria March 9, 2019 at 5:26 pm

      So pleased you’ve found this post useful with your studies 😃

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