In the Principles of Design, “Balance in a Room” is one of the most important elements in creating successful visual goals for either staging a home for sale, or simply organizing your home for more efficient living.

Balance is symmetrical (formal) or asymmetrical (informal) or radial (having all elements arranged around a center point).  Balance applies not only to visual weight, but colors and textures as well. If you walk into a room and feel a sense of disorder or awkwardness, the room may be visually off-balance.

Formal balance is achieved by placing matching pieces on both sides of a focal point. It is relatively simple to create a formal balance just by using the same pieces of furniture on both left and right sides of a room.

Symmetrical layouts, often considered traditional, are comfortable and secure. Asymmetrical or informal balance is produced by placing different pieces of furniture on either side of the focal point, or center of room while still having the same visual weight on both sides. For example, if your focal point is a fireplace, a chair and ottoman on the left with a lamp on a large accent table to the right. If all pieces are in scale of each other, you have achieved an asymmetrical look while still being balanced. Informal rooms add interest and are more complex to create.

Whether you are going for the formal or informal look, keep experimenting with larger pieces until the room looks balanced. One side should not look heavier than the other. Once you are satisfied with the major pieces in place, you can accessorize later.

Moving furniture and accessories can take a lot of time, effort, and patience. You may want visualize the room in your head first and then sketch it on paper. It is a lot easier to move items around on paper than it is to arrange furniture in a room. Once you have your furniture set, add accessories and window treatments. Get creative and start planning your new look.

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