InDesign Basics, Elements and Principles of Design

Good Balance in Your Home Design: How to Achieve it

Design Elements and Principles Series

Have you ever wondered how to use balance in your home design? How about choosing the correct colour, line, form and scale? These are the elements and principles of design, and they are used by designers to produce beautiful and pleasing designs.

The elements of design are line, form, colour, value, texture, pattern, light and space, while the principles are balance, scale, emphasis and unity.

This is the first post in a series discussing the elements and principles of design and today we will look in more detail at balance.

Balance in Design

Have you ever tried to style your buffet or sideboard, and the composition just does not work? That is probably because you could not get the balance right. Have you placed chairs on either side of your fireplace and found that it looked good? Then you got the balance right. In home design and decor you should always try to balance the form, colour and visual weight of the furniture and accessories you decorate with.

There are three types of balance, and it can extend to accessories and furniture arrangements. There is nothing to dictate what type to use, and you can even use more than one type in a room. That is up to you and your design style. But when you understand the different types and know how to use them, the decision will be easy!

Formal Balance

The first type we will discuss is formal balance. Formal balance is found when the objects on either side of the centre line match each other. An easy place to explain this is on a sideboard.

Balance - Formal Balance |

Although the accessories do not match each other exactly, the visual weight of the grouping on the left is equal to the grouping on the right. The larger vases are similar in shape and size, as are the smaller vases. The use of green, white and blue on both sides, balances out the colour as well. Below I’ve drawn the centre line around which the items are balanced.

Balance - Formal Balance Explained |

Use formal balance in places like a mantle or a sideboard and of course if you have the accessories to balance each other out in visual weight.

Informal Balance in Design

Next up is informal balance. The items on either side do not match each other in visual weight, colour or size but somehow the composition is still appealing. Items that are larger or has more visual weight are then placed closer to the centre line, and the lighter objects further away to again balance each other out.

Balance - Informal Balance |

You can really have fun with informal balance by playing around with various groupings until you can see that they balance each other out. You can see below that the cabinet is not symmetrical like my sideboard is, so informal balance felt better in this space. The grouping with heavier visual weight is placed almost on the centreline, while the plate is placed further away. This with the asymmetrical cabinet creates the necessary balance.

Balance - Informal Balance Explained |

Informal balance is fun to use on smaller cabinets or tables and in more informal spaces in your home.

Radial Balance in Design

Think of a round dining table with place settings and chairs around it. This is radial balance. Instead of balancing around a centreline, it balances around a central point and radiates outward from that point.

Balance - Radial Balance |

I recently planted this hanging basket with succulents. The greys form the central focus point in the middle, and the greens are arranged around the centre.

Balance - Radial Balance Explained |

Radial balance is mostly used in a square dining room with a round or square table, but can also be found in other furniture arrangements and of course your garden.

Putting it all together

Different types of balance can be used successfully together in one room. It will actually make the room design more intriguing if they are used together.

Remember to also consider the overall balance of the room regarding the colour, texture and furniture.

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Formal Balance |

Do you think you understand balance in home design a bit better now? I would love to hear from you if you have any questions or other topics you would like me to discuss. Please leave your comments down below.

Goodbye for now!

Junette |

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  • Conny

    Yes, so true. As a designer myself I see this all the time. It drives me crazy when a room is not balanced. Well explained – thank you.

    May 9, 2019 at 7:21 pm Reply
    • windmillprotea

      Thank you Conny! I might expand the article to talk about overall room balance, it’s great if you understand how to use balance.

      May 10, 2019 at 8:47 am Reply
  • Elizabeth

    I love this post! What good information!

    July 18, 2019 at 3:50 pm Reply
    • Junette

      Thank you, Elizabeth! I hope to do more posts in this line in future, colour choices, combining textures and so on.

      July 19, 2019 at 10:28 am Reply

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