The ultimate guide to visually balancing your home

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The ultimate guide to visually balancing your home

Kayla Gulec Kayla Gulec
 Living room by 松島潤平建築設計事務所 / JP architects
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Some people are insanely artistic and just have that eye for design. Then there are some of us that learn the tricks of the trade and can successfully apply them to the real world. And then there are those of us who simply have no idea where to begin. If you're one of those that doesn't seem to have the knack for design, you stumbled across the right article!

We have here the ultimate guide to visually balancing your home, with advice straight from the lips of interior designers. These decorating rules are simple enough that just about anyone can use them. They can also be used in any room of the home, so although we're showing you primarily living rooms, consider these tips when decorating your dining room, bedroom, and bathroom, as well. By following these principles, your home will look good enough to be featured in your favourite home improvement magazine!

1. We said it once, we'll say it again…

Our first tip is something we've gone over time and again here on homify, but just to be extra clear, we'll say it again. In order to achieve the look and feel you desire from your home, the first step is to clear all the clutter you have and either throw away those items you don't need or store them out of sight. You can't very well start painting with a dirty canvas.

2. Familiarize yourself with a few basic measurement rules

When it comes to decorating, like hanging curtains or arranging furniture, most of us just figure it out as we go along. But there are actually specific measurements that make your room look better. Here are a few:

The coffee table should be at about 35 centimetres between your sofa and entertainment centre. 

When hanging art, keeping it at centre eye level is ideal, and if you want to get technical, it's about 140-150cm from the floor. With multiple pieces of art, you'll want to keep the centre point of the entire arrangement at this level. Art above the sofa shouldn't be more than 2/3 the width of the sofa.

Curtains should have a 3-8 centimetre overlap on either side of your window. For height, mount the curtain rods about 10 centimetres from the top of the window. To increase the visual height of your curtains, mount them closer to the ceiling.

When it comes to the television, that all depends on its size. The general rule of thumb here is to multiply the diagonal size of your TV by two, and that's about how many centimetres your television should be from your seating area.

3. Find your focal point

The focal point of every room is its most emphasized feature. It's what naturally draws our eyes in when we first walk into a room, and everything around the focal point complements it. When it comes to visual balance in the home and the best way to decorate in order to achieve that balance, finding your room's focal point is a good way to start. A lot of rooms already have a built-in focal point, such as a large window with a view, or a fireplace like we see here. But if your room doesn't come with a focal point, here are some tips on how to create one:

Painting one wall a different colour than the rest of the room gives you a nice accent wall and creates an interesting focal point. When you have a certain purpose in mind for your room, make that its focal point. Fore example, if you have a room that you'd like to be  your reading room, make the bookshelf your focal point.

Large pieces of furniture also work as great focal points. The couch is generally the focal point in the living room, while the table and chairs are the main focus in the dining room, and the bed is the focus of the bedroom. Large pieces of artwork or mirrors are also great for this effect. 

Once you find or establish your focal point, decorate around it. Use its main colour in other elements throughout the room. In this image, the beige fireplace is the focal point, while the textured brick wall behind it makes it stand out, and the light brown sofa with red accent pillows, as well as the hardwood floors, complement the fireplace.

4. Follow the odd numbers rule

You may already know about the rule of thirds when it comes to photography. The principle is that with odd numbers as a foundation, you can create harmony and visual interest. The basic idea is that details and objects that are grouped in odd numbers are more appealing and somehow more memorable than objects that appear in even numbers. Having items that are of various heights, shapes, and textures also helps, but at the same time, there should also be something similar about them. It may seem a bit contradictory, but the idea is to have something that groups the items together while also having each item maintain a certain individuality.

For example, you could have three vases, all of different heights and containing different items. The material is similar (glass), but there are subtle differences in elements. You could place a candle in one of the vases, a plant in the other, or an interesting fruit arrangement in the third. 

Of course, this might not work in every instance. If your grouping doesn't look right to you, your instincts are probably right. The goal is to simply make sure everything isn't uniform, and as a result, boring.

5. Layer your lighting

The best way to light a room could be an entire article itself, but here are just some basics when considering your lighting scheme. 

First thing's first. There are three basic types of lighting: ambient, task, and accent. Ambient light is also called general lighting and refers to the overhead lighting meant to illuminate the room. Task lighting is just as its name suggests–it's light used for a specific task, like the lamp in your reading corner, for example. And then there are accent lights, which are meant to highlight a specific object in the room. You might find these lights showcasing pieces of art.

Adding different kinds of lighting to your room can give it real dimension. Start with the ambient lighting, and then think about how you could use task and accent lighting. 

6. Consider your negative space

A lot of the time, when we talk about decorating, we think less is more. In design, the negative space of a room is the space that's not taken up by any object. More often than not, it's the white area on your walls. Although it may be tempting to fill every space with subject matter, negative space often speaks louder.

To get more negative space in your home, take a walk around and think to yourself: is there a wall in my home with an accessory on it that, when taken down, would still look like a nice wall? Is there a table with a centre piece on it that would look better when cleared away? A bunch of stuff might fit perfectly on your table, but that doesn't mean everything has to go on there. The main thing to take away here is that it's not just about looking for spots where you can take things away–it's about looking for areas that look great even when they're empty and considering the function of the empty spaces between objects.

7. Look at shapes

Two or more contrasting shapes in a room can create an odd or interesting design or negative space. Curved chairs soften the harshness of the lines created by angular tables or rugs. This might not always work in small rooms, however, but simply due to space. Of course you can fit more square items into a small square space than you can fit round items. 

8. Be intentional

 Living room by House Envy
House Envy

Bloominville Storage Unit

House Envy

Our last tip, no matter what you do, be intentional in your actions. Have a plan for everything before you put your ideas into practice. The measurement rules, although a great guideline, is only just that: a guideline. Go with your gut, first and foremost. If your coffee table is 35 centimetres from your sofa, but it still looks off, use your own personal intentions to put it where it needs to go. Don't give your room a fancy focal point just to have a fancy focal point. It doesn't have to be over the top, but something to catch the eye that is also a reflection of you. When it comes to your negative spaces, make sure they serve a purpose. You might choose to leave an area empty to highlight a decorated area nearby, or perhaps the negative space itself creates an interesting design. One or all of these tips will help you get well on your way to visually balancing your home.

If you enjoyed reading this article and are looking for more ways to harmonize your home, then perhaps you might be interested in how you can divide the kitchen and the living room!

Have you tried one or more of these tips before? Let us know how it worked out for you in the comments section below!
 Prefabricated Home by FingerHaus GmbH - Bauunternehmen in Frankenberg (Eder)

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