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Understanding Balance: Interior Design Basics

February 8, 2016
Understanding balance

When it comes to designing our interiors, it’s so easy to become overly pre-occupied with the wrong things first – the bells and whistles, the finer points, the end flourishes – without properly considering some of the most crucial design fundamentals. Today on CoContest we’re taking a look at understanding balance, part one of four in our fresh series on interior basics to help you design your home.

Understanding balance

Douglas Friedman via Elle Decor

What is balance?

Balance, otherwise known as proportion, involves the equal distribution of visual weight within a given design setting. It is the engagement of a design space that helps generate a feeling of visual equality, relating directly to the elements such as form, shape, value, and colour. An unbalanced visual can disturb our perception, and while some design spaces seek to induce ‘alternative’ moods and vibes, the general consensus in the design world is that spaces are often best when well harmonised. On the other hand ‘asymmetry’ can also be implemented, where balance is achieved instead through contrast (i.e. visual ‘weight’ is maintained even though elements may not be equal).

via Elle Decor 

Understanding Balance

via Luxe Victoria

Elements and principles

Design basics typically involve what is known as the ‘Elements and Principles of Design’, conventions in which more or less all fields of design lay their foundation. Depending on who you ask, these elements and principals can vary, though typically encompass fundamentals including balance, color, focal point, rhythm, unity and harmony. Balance is very much on show in this neat living room space from Luxe Victoria: harmonious, symmetrical and well-balanced. Check out more of this great example here.

Understanding balance

via Decor & You

How to achieve balance

Balance can be achieved through a variety of different means, whether through furniture selection and placement, mix of colour, addition of accessories and more. There are many ways to reach a sense of symmetry. The example here from Decor & You provides a lovely nudge in the right direction for how to understand balance.

Understanding balance

via Michael Abraham Architecture

How to avoid mistakes

Keep it in mind, it’s all well and good to keep things balanced, but as well as harmony, we want to ensure that our spaces are just as interesting and exciting too. Understanding balance means recognising that symmetry is great, but it can get a little boring when used too liberally. Ultimately, work with it as a guide rather than a hard and fast rule – after all, rules are always made to be broken. This refined space from Michael Abraham Architecture shows a neat blend of balance and mild asymmetry, keeping things neat and harmonic, while equally interesting on the eye.

Understanding balance

via bfarhardesign

When balance works…

Visual and aesthetic delight is yours when it comes to understanding balance –  when balance works, your home life can’t help but work even better too. We hope this brief but valuable look into the world of balance has helped inspire you to implement in a little extra balance nous into your domestic life! (Check out bfarhardesign for more examples of well considered interior balance).


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