Seeking Balance in Your Home Decor

In our homes, as in other parts of our lives, we are happier when we live with balance and harmony. Just like the rest of our lives, balance in the rooms of our homes is sometimes hard to create.

For many years, decorators and home owners tried to create this physical balance by having pairs of everything: 2 matching end tables, a matched pair of wing chairs, even sets of twin beds in the master bedroom. This certainly created a balanced room. It also created rooms that were sterile, formal and visually boring. In a formal setting or a Federal or Georgian home, this is still the way things should be to look 'right.' Our ancestors valued this perfect balance so highly that they created false doors in hallways so that both sides matched or doors that looked like windows so that the right and left sides of the back of a house matched perfectly. This can still be seen if you go to visit some of our historic homes. A notable example is the Hammond-Harwood House in Annapolis, Md. We, however, tend to prefer a more relaxed approach to our homes.

So how do we create a feeling of balance without matched pairs of everything? You can use:
Color Dark colors have more 'weight' than light colors. Actual size Height, depth and width of an object Mass A thick bulky looking object has more 'weight' than a fragile, delicate one. Just visualize a blown glass vase and a terracotta pot of the same size. Number A group of several like objects in different sizes grouped together creates 'weight.' Think of an assortment of silver candlesticks. Light A dark corner has more 'weight' than one filled with light. If you want to prove this to yourself, gather together a group of assorted objects and use a tabletop/mantel and try out different scenarios. Be sure you have different sizes, colors, textures and shapes. You can put a larger framed picture against one end and a slightly smaller one in front of it. On the other end of your table put a heavy pot. Do the same thing with a matching pot at each end. Try pairing the picture group with an assortment of candles in candlesticks. Each time you create an arrangement, step back and look at it. In fact, if you have a digital camera, take a picture of it. If you do this for a while you will start to get a feel for balance. You can actually give the illusion that the tabletop is tilted slightly by throwing off the visual balance.

The same effect can occur in your room arrangements. If you doubt this, close your eyes and try to 'see' a room in which you felt physically uncomfortable or slightly disoriented even though there was no obvious reason. A room in which the heavy items are all on one side of the room, almost feels as though the floor tilts. Once you have a feel for balance you can start to create a harmonious home.

Stand in the doorway of any room in your house that you feel isn't 'right.' What do you see? Does the burgundy chair stick out like there is a spotlight on it? Does the entertainment center overwhelm the room? Do you have a TV and a fireplace battling for focal point? Do your easy chairs look like they were made for children next to your mammoth sofa? Does your fireplace mantel look like you are setting up for a tag sale? Your room is out of balance.

Move the furniture around and try different arrangements until you have one that works. Unless you have a room that is just for show like a Victorian parlor, you need to be able to use the room comfortably. Once the practical set-up is done, look at the room from different angles. If the room is out of balance use color and accessories, plants and pictures, groups of like objects, light and volume to create an illusion of balance.

Try grouping the accessories on your mantels and tabletops. Balance the entertainment center on one side of the fireplace with a tall plant or group of plants on the other. Note: avoid having the tops of everything at the same height. You might as well draw a line around your room. Repeat the color of the chair in pillows, throws, lampshades or the matting around a group of pictures. You really will be amazed at the difference it makes.

We may all be born craving balance but except for the lucky few, we have to learn to achieve it. There is a myriad of books on the subject and it can help to read them and look at the pictures, but the best way to get a feel for balance is 'hands on.' Experiment with portable objects until you get a feel for what works and then enjoy creating your harmonious home.

Indra A Books, author of this and many other lifestyle articles is the owner and founder of ON THE GO 4 U, Personal Shoppers & Concierge Service in the Washington DC metropolitan area. The company's creed is to provide its clients with the ultimate life management experience. In addition to its shopping and concierge services, ON THE GO 4 U also publishes a monthly e-zine and conducts workshops on wardrobe, entertaining and decorating. For more information about the author and ON THE GO 4 U, please visit http://www.onthego4u.net

Content for this article was provided by Suzanne Copenhaver, Design Consultant to ON THE GO 4 U. Suzanne has years of experience decorating in less than ideal situations and always provides us with tons of insight.

© 2005 Indra Books for ON THE GO 4 U

An Upholstered Bench To Incorporate Style and Function

How do you envision your dream home? Is it rich in color and texture, romantic,... Read More

Go Vintage When Decorating Your Hearth

With the weather cooling, it's time to put on the fireplace. Curling up near a... Read More

Buying Down Alternative Comforters

When the frigid winds of winter arrive, many people turn to lavish bed comforters to... Read More

Feng Shui in Colours

How does choice of colour affect your feng shui?Colours and colour schemes are factors that... Read More

Finding a Color Scheme - Decorating with What you Have

If you feel helpless when it comes to picking and blending colors, your answer could... Read More

Custom Slipcovers Can Give Your Furniture A Stylish New Look

If your furniture could do with a new look, then you may be interested in... Read More

A Look at Shower Curtain Rods

Shower curtain rods give you a unique opportunity to showcase your sense of style. There... Read More

Take The Clothes Off Your Rooms and Let Them Breathe

Its summertime and the livin' is easy or at least you want it to free,... Read More

A Look at Fruit Gift Baskets

The original, the granddaddy of all of today's items bought and sold as fruit baskets,... Read More

How to Buy Discount Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo flooring is a relatively new alternative to standard hardwood floors. It offers similar and... Read More

Safely Decorating Your Kids Bedroom

? Wall Decorations:Never place a wall hanging, picture, poster, or any other decoration on the... Read More

Color Determines The Tone Of Your Flowers Arrangements

Color is influential in every aspect of our lives. It conveys a warm or cool... Read More

Craft Projects - A Home Decorating One Of A Kind Look

Have you been in a craft store or maybe gone to a fair and noticed... Read More

Thomas Chippendale and His Legendary Chairs

Chairs crafted by Thomas Chippendale were dazzling examples of quality furniture in their day. Today,... Read More

The Many Types Of Light Available Today

The Many Types Of Light Available TodayWhat's in a light bulb? For most people, an... Read More

Psychology of Color - Decorating a Kitchen for the Subconscious

Psychologists have studied the influence of color on the mind for years. While they have... Read More

Persian Area Rugs - Tabriz Rugs are a Fine Choice to Enhance Your Room?s D?cor

Tabriz rugs are made in the north western part of Iran. The quality in a... Read More

How to Clean Mini Blinds

Mini-blinds are very convenient and attractive window treatments. They typically have either vertical or horizontal... Read More

Wine Rack Kits and Plans

Properly storing wine keeps flavor and lets wine age so that you can taste its... Read More

Vintage Enamelware Takes Us Back

Enamelware is a trip down memory lane. White jugs with blue trim and laundry tubs... Read More

A Guide to Acrylic Kitchen Sinks

Unlike laminates, acrylic and/or polyester plastics are homogenous nonporous material. Kitchen sinks made from acrylic... Read More

The Magic of Color

Deciding what colors to use when decorating your house can be a real challenge. Do... Read More

For A Pleasant Smelling Home

If you're anything like me and the scent of something pleasant can instantly lift your... Read More

The Function of Wine Storage Racks

Storing wines is crucial to keeping wines flavor and letting it age to perfection. Wine... Read More

Wood Baker?s Rack - Add Style to Your Kitchen

Is your kitchen or dining area missing that little bit of extra something to make... Read More

How to Install Bamboo Flooring

Not just food for pandas or the stuff of cheap picnic mats, bamboo is now... Read More

An Introduction to Roman Shades

Roman shades are a simple and practical window treatment to accent a room or to... Read More

15 Summer Decorating Ideas

Summer decorating is a wonderful time to lighten up the colors and fabrics in your... Read More

The Benefits of Owning Wood Mini Blinds

Wood mini blinds are one variety of wood blinds for covering doors and windows. The... Read More

Have You Considered These Space-Saving Bed Designs To Maximize Your Interior Decorating Space?

Vertical and functional space planning are two of the most overlooked areas in most households... Read More

Contemporary Bathroom Vanities

Minimal, linear, often metallic and futuristic, contemporary bathroom vanities come in modern finishes such as... Read More

Using Vintage Hankies To Decorate The Bedroom

Vintage hankies can make interesting wall d?cor! These treasures of yesteryear are beautifully made with... Read More

Roman Shades Made From Fabric

Roman shades are a simple and classic way to adorn windows. They are unobtrusive and... Read More

Rug - Snug as a Bug!

Rugs are a great way to decoratively cover a floor. Whether you have carpet, tile... Read More

A Guide to Discontinued Wedgwood China

Everything has its day and its time, and Wedgwood China is no exception to the... Read More

Building Your Own Grandfather Clock

Timeless and elegant, classic and stately-grandfather clocks are all of those things. They are also... Read More

Tabriz Persian Rugs

Tabriz are one of the most popular Persian rugs. Tabriz is the dominant city of... Read More

Interior Decorating and Home Decor With Inuit Art from the Arctic North

In order to help give a room a classier touch, interior decorators have used sculptures... Read More

Decorate Your Home with Shabby Chic

Are you ready to redecorate but have a limited budget? Do you have some great... Read More

Decorating The Bathroom ? Dress Your Mess For Less

The bathroom may be the hardest room to decorate. Its use and nature make the... Read More

Dont Hire Someone to Steal Your Joy: Decorate Your Home Yourself!

In researching what makes people happy, I discovered that "Planning" makes us happy. Therefore, why... Read More

Decorating for Real Life and Real People

I spent a recent weekend curled up with a stack of decorating magazines. I read... Read More

Refinishing Hardwood Floors

The quality of the wear layer determines frequency of refinishing of hardwood floors. Poor quality... Read More

Bar and Wine Cabinets: Entertain in Style

Do you love to entertain in your home? Do you want to treat your guests... Read More

Choosing Interior Doors

When it's time to decorate - whether it's for a brand new home or redecorating... Read More

Long-Strip and Engineered Hardwood Floors

Longstrip hardwood floors are wide and long, and each plank has 2 to 3 strips... Read More

A Look at Plantation Shutters

When potential buyers are looking at a home, many upgrades get their attention. Floor tile,... Read More

The German Grandfather Clock Tradition

We expect a lot from our clocks. We expect them to be breathtakingly beautiful. We... Read More

Kids Ceiling Fans

There are ceiling fans designed especially for children, which have designs made to appeal to... Read More

Discount Bathroom Vanities

Discount bathroom vanities can be found in many places, some more unusual than others. You... Read More