Home Improvement Design Concepts (Balance)

Often designers arrive at initial consultations where the potential client has spent a good deal of money and yet to be satisfied with the results. Clients with a dream-room in mind, spent alot of money, but no dream. The client loved the detailed bookcases, French side chairs, etc., and you know the pieces were not cheap. Still . . . it just doesn't feel right. It is almost painful that it isn't working, after so much effort.
In creating and reviewing the design of a room, balance must be achieved. Balance is equilibrium, the distribution of equal weight; and if missing in our surroundings, we feel uneven, perhaps even anxious. Balance makes us comfortable, gives us stability. It reduces stress and gives us peace. Understanding the balance is a great example of how we experience and interact with our environments.

As we enjoy a picnic site and find it beautiful and relaxing, we notice it is a sunny day, the blue sky above and a landscape of nature surrounding us. Were we to take the same site but locate it on a slight incline, the calm and harmony evaporates. When we enter a room and notice a tilted picture on a wall, the desire to want to march over and correct it is because we need equilibrium, we need balance. A carpenter installing beautiful new wood flooring will avail himself of his level to assure that his composition, the completed flooring job, has balance.

The creation of a beautiful room
is not much different than the
creation of a beautiful painting

Painters are aware of the need for balance and will sometimes create an imaginary vertical line down the middle of a canvas, to help assure the counterbalancing or evening of the elements of the composition. We too can use a similar technique by imagining a vertical chalked plumb line down the middle of a wall - our composition.
In balance, it is ‘visual’ weight that we are considering. The more an element attracts the eye, the more it 'weighs.' In seeing balance between a bright red balloon and a black bowling ball, the balloon might have more visual weight than the black bowling ball.When teaching your eye to see visual weight, it might help to see the room from a different perspective than we do everyday. You could walk back from a particular wall about fifteen feet and as you look at the pieces, slightly squint your eyes. This technique is similar to adjusting a camera lens. By adjusting your focus, you will see that the items will either be visually drawn toward you or they will fade to the background. Those items that are drawn toward you, or that your eye perceives as stronger have more visual weight.
It is through adjusting the elements on either side of the imaginary vision line, through evening them, that we achieve balance. Understanding that balance creates harmony and comfort is vital in our journey to learn how to create beautiful rooms and how
to create beautiful rooms for us.

This article is one in a series of Design Concepts, to go to the entire list, click here.

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