Achieving balance and stability in any particular space is one of the acute problems that people face while decorating their homes. Sometimes exotic décor ideas do not work well only because the room seems to be off-balance or unstable. For example, a beautifully painted room might have nearly all of its furniture concentrated on one end and the other side stands bare. Other than this obvious example, there are many other scenarios, which contribute to making a room unstable.
This article provides tips, tricks, and techniques to bring balance and stability in the decor such that it is pleasing to the eyes and the potential of all the furniture pieces, accessories, and art present in the room is tapped in the best possible manner.
Tips to create vertical lines in a room to eliminate the bottom-heavy look
Of course, all of the furniture in a room has to be on the floor (unless the room is in the space!). Nevertheless, it does not mean that the room has to look bottom-heavy. Creating vertical lines in a room is the first step towards bringing balance in the room. The following tips have proven themselves over time and again in visually balancing the room.
Any kind of window treatments can be hung higher than the upper part of the actual frame of the window to create vertical lines. At the bottom too, the curtains can hang lower than the lower part of the frame of the window if desired.
This trick can also be used in the rooms with low ceilings. Hanging the curtains higher than the upper part of the window frame also make the walls look taller.
Placement of cushions
The placement of the cushions alone can make a difference. To create vertical lines in a room, some of the cushions (if not all) should be placed with one of their corners pointing upwards.
Introducing chandeliers or ceiling art
The chandeliers or other attractive light fixtures on the ceiling draw the eyes upward and thus balance the bottom-heaviness. Introducing ceiling art, tiles, or the moldings is another way to achieve the same objective. If the light fixtures, tiles, molding, or ceiling art do not fit the budget, the ceiling can be painted in a different color than the wall color of the room.
Dressing up the walls
The bare walls always contribute to the bottom-heavy look. So mount posters, paintings, pictures, and/or mirrors on the walls to create another dimension.
Striking a balance between the bottom-heavy and leggy furniture
Just as the bottom-heavy look is not recommended, a ‘sea of furniture legs’ in the room is also not recommended. Usually the couches or the sofas of the living room are solid masses sans legs. They can be balanced by leggy central and side tables.
Wise placement of ottomans, dressers, armoires, and chests is a great way to balance the ‘legs’ of the other furniture pieces in the room. Other than that, most of the times it is easily possible to make or buy furniture skirting to avoid the ‘leg show’.
Balancing the stand-alone vertical pieces
The tall pieces of furniture such as racks, entertainment units, armoires etc. are great for creating vertical lines. However, if there were a single piece of tall furniture in the room it would look very ‘lonely’. This ‘loneliness’ would also make the room unstable. So always balance out a tall piece of furniture with another tall piece of furniture placed across it. Another way to balance the tallness is to mount an equally tall mirror or piece of art on the wall facing that tall piece.
Balancing the furniture items that are too heavy or too light
The furniture items that are either too heavy or too light have to be balanced. Ideally, a room should be a mix of heavy and light furniture items. However, there are some heavy furniture items, which seem to make the room too bulky regardless of other furniture items. A perfect example of this is a huge wooden armoire. One way to lighten up these armoires visually is to have their doors slatted. However, it could be an expensive deal. Another simple way to take off the visual weight is to keep the doors of the armoire open.
Another approach is to balancing the furniture is to introduce pairs. A heavy furniture item must be balanced with another heavy item placed across. To balance the overall look, two light weight furniture items must be introduced in the room.
Balancing the colors
The room, of a person who likes aqua blue color, does not have to look like a bath tub or an aquarium. Color balancing is a relatively easy job. The rule of thumb is that do not let a single color dominate. Even in the simplest settings, where the residents are most comfortable with white and off-white only, painting the whole room in a single color is not a good approach. Instead, paint the walls in off-white and ceiling in white or vice versa.
Balancing a very small or a very large room
A very tiny or a very large room has to be balanced. In both cases, one has to play with dimensions and colors to change the ‘feel’ of the room. The clichéd advice that the lighter shades open up a room and the darker ones do the opposite really works.
The size of each object in a room has a profound impact on other things surrounding it and on the overall ‘feel’ of a room. Very large furniture in a small room would look out of proportion but not everything has to be tiny either. For example, a classic grand bed can really dramatize a small guest room. However, the room should not be stuffed with other pieces. Let the bed dominate the impression and leave enough room for walking around. (The guest rooms do not need many pieces of furniture or storage space anyway).
If a room is too large, instead of buying all the plus size furniture, divide the room in different zones for different activities. Each zone should be balanced.
A note on mismatched items
The mismatched items (ranging from chairs to candles) are budget friendly and impart a casual look to any given space. However if not chosen intelligently, they can affect the balance of a room. An easy way to keep the balance is to buy mismatched pairs instead of mismatched lone items. For example, for a small dining table, buy two mismatched pairs, instead of four mismatched lone chairs.
However, if a room is filled with mismatched chairs and the budget does not allow replacing them, then one can invest in cheap but matching cushions or slipcovers to bring stability to the room. For the mismatched candles buy matched candle holders or simply push identical thumb pins in the same pattern at the base of each candle.
Personal experience, observation, and inspirations from different interior design books