A pleasing symmetrical balance in the bedroom.
A pleasing symmetrical balance in the bedroom.

Finding the right balance is a design basic

Some of my friends think I'm mad. No, really the madness they perceive has a lot to do with being obliged, or rather driven, to straighten a painting or centre a piece of furniture under a painting, that kind of behaviour.

But, the problem is, I often can't help myself, even if it is unrequested or in someone else's space.

Like many, I find a lack of symmetry in a living space jarring. There's a good reason for this, and it's the fact that symmetrical design affects our brain. Even when it is too subtle to be consciously acknowledged, we subtly know when something is off-centre or out of balance.

At the same time, many of us are drawn to balanced images and spaces, as we tend to naturally think of them as more aesthetically pleasing than their off-kilter counterparts. Regardless of your personal style, you will find symmetrical balance in most traditional interiors.

The design principle of symmetrical balance is best visualised by the same objects repeated in the same positions on each side of a vertical axis. A good example, a pair of bedside tables, one each side of the bed. Asymmetrical balance is more casual and suggests movement, leading to lively interiors. An example would be a tall standing lamp on one side of a sofa and a small table on the other side.

And then there's another good reason to pursue symmetry in your space - and that's the ancient art of feng shui. Pairs are especially important, as they can reflect or attract a couple and are said to bring romance into your life and maintain it. Now there's a great reason for symmetry.