Interior decorating is a lot like a two-sided scale. When you have a two-sided scale, your objective is to have equal balance on both sides. Look at the first drawingin the illustration for this post.
On one side of the scale you have a ONE POUND block of chocolate. On the other side, to counterbalance it, you must come up with another one pound measurement. You could counterbalance the one pound block of chocolate with another one pound block of chocolate. You could also counterbalance the one pound block with a One Half Pound block of chocolate and one half pound of chocolate chips. Another counterbalancing option could be one pound of chocolate chips. It does not matter how you do it, as long as you have equal balance on both sides. If you can understand this concept, a lot of what interior decorating is all about will come easy to you.
Now let’s take the concept of equal balance using chocolate, and relate it to interior decorating.
In interior decorating, there is a north to south, and east to west equal balance. What you do, or build on one side of the room, you have to (counterbalance) make up its equal weight on the opposite wall.
Now look at the second drawing in the illustration. In this drawing you have a fireplace with a picture hung over its mantle. The fireplace is also flanked by a pair of chairs, with floor lamps behind them. Measure the space from the floor up to the top edge of the picture frame hung over the fireplace. (pretend the measurement is 85 inches). Then measure the space from the outside edge of one chair to the outside edge of the other chair that flanks the fireplace. (pretend that measurement is 132 inches, or 11 feet).
Your objective NEXT is to make an arrangement of furniture and art objects on the wall opposite the fireplace, that is also about (or exactly) 85 inches tall, and 132 inches wide. The 85 inches is now the measurement from the floor that the sofa sits on, to the top edge of the frame of the picture hung over it. The 132 inches (11 running feet) is the space two end tables and sofa take up. That is equal balance brought from one side of the room to the other. It is your one pound block of chocolate, counterbalanced by a half pound block of chocolate and one half pound of chocolate chips.
The third drawing is a floor plan for the room just described. In this floor plan also notice that the table and draped window, is counterbalanced by the archway, through which you enter the room. Remember me saying… north to south, and east to west decorating (balance)?
Finally look at the fourth drawing. This is all about building visual weight all on one wall. In this room, you have a door on the left, a bed placed in the center of the wall, and a skirted table with picture hung over it, and a floor lamp, on the right. What you are doing here is making an arrangement of objects on the right side of the room that is the same height and width as the door on the left. (door measurement is 35 inches wide and 83 inches high (outside edge of molding around door). In a way, you are making a door on the right side of the bed, with furniture and decorative accessories.
I want you to know, the number one problem most people have is that they have unequal balance. They have really heavy on one side and way too light on the other. Remember Equal Balance is an Ideal!
So now go and look through decorating magazines. Look at the heights of arrangements (furniture and art objects) on one side of the room and see how they are counterbalances on the other. At first you will have to look for it a bit. After a while you will be looking at the balance of the room first, and then the decorating itself. Happy Examining!
Companion Post .. Arranging furniture TWELVE different way in the Same Room 9-15-2012, Pick (Use) Four colors when Decorating a Room 3-7-2011, The Right way to Hang Curtains and Drapes 5-3-2011, The Right height of Table Lamp for your End Table 5-19-2011, Hanging Pictures Around a Room 8-3-2011, Looking at Patterns used on Upholstery Fabric, Drapes, Wallpaper and Carpeting 3-10-2012