Special Nonexistent Furniture

The A to Z of Style: B is for Balance


Light and dark in balance in this space by Sydney-based interior designers Arent & Pyke. Image – Felix Forest. Light and dark in balance in this space by Sydney-based interior designers
Arent & Pyke. Image – Felix Forest.

In this new series, our head of styling Jessica Bellef shares everything from essential design principles to creative inspiration. Today, how to achieve balance in your space. 

Balance is one of those things in life that we don’t notice when it is doing its job but as soon as it’s on the fritz, it’s something that is hard to ignore. If you have ever suffered through an inner ear problem, you know what it feels like to have your balance out of whack. You feel ridiculously woozy and unsteady, like the world is spinning too fast and you can’t straighten yourself out. The same principle applies when you walk into an unbalanced room. The space will seem wonky and unsettling. You probably won’t have a physical reaction, but your subconscious will register the uneasiness and you will want to high tail it out of the room. It can be hard to pinpoint the elements that need to come together to create a balanced space, but I have outlined three that I think are key.

Our brains are funny old things. Our subconscious will cut corners to simplify the mass of information that is constantly thrown our way. For instance, if a room is arranged so all the heavy, dark furniture and decor is on one side and light furniture and accessories fill the other side, our mind tells us that the room is physically heavier on the dark side and we experience an uneasy sensation of the room tipping. Assess the visual weight of the furniture in your room and make sure you arrange it so you have a spread of light and dark items, as well as large and small, across the room.

Balance2 Textures in balance via Milk Decoration.

Rooms that are balanced will feature a lovely mix of opposing textures. If all your surfaces and finishes are polished and sleek, the space will feel clinical and you will find it hard to relax. On the opposite end of the texture spectrum, a space that's floor-to-ceiling fuzzy will feel suffocating (I’m itchy just thinking about it). Balance out shiny surfaces with matte, soft textures with hard and so on. Soften the look of a smart leather couch with a knitted throw or add a ceramic vase of flowers to a glass-topped coffee table. Consider the texture of each of your pieces and work out if they need a yin to their yang.

Balance1 A light and airy space by Amber Interiors. Image – Tessa Neustadt.

Negative Space
A room that has the perfect amount of negative space will feel balanced and calm. Negative space refers to areas that are free of stuff; a blank spot that lets the eye rest for a minute. Without clear moments, a room feels overwhelming and noisy. If you have been bitten by the clutter-bug, negative space can be a hard thing to achieve. By editing down your collections, removing furniture pieces that you just don’t use and leaving some surface areas vignette-free, you will create a calm space that allows each individual piece to shine.

Want more secrets from Jess and our team of styling experts? Enrol in the online T&W Style School now!


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