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Unlocking the Beauty of Asymmetrical Balance in Interior Design

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We create asymmetrical balance by focusing on weight, scale, and texture. It doesn't matter if things on both sides look the same Here are 5 ways to achieve it.
Two Balls Balanced on A Piece of Wood

When you design your home, balance is a fundamental principle to bring a sense of harmony and order.

Symmetrical balance is a common way to make a space feel stable and calm. But nowadays, more and more people are liking asymmetrical balance in interior design. It brings a fun and lively touch to interiors. Asymmetrical balance celebrates imperfections and the uniqueness of each element within a space.

In this article, you will explore:

  • The Asymmetrical balance art in interior design
  • The principles of asymmetrical balance
  • What asymmetry balance means in different cultures?
  • Practical examples of using asymmetry to create stunning spaces that captivate the eye

Symmetry and Asymmetry

Before diving into asymmetrical balance, let’s first understand its counterpart, symmetrical balance.

You can achieve symmetrical balance when you mirror elements on a central axis — The Left side looks identical to the right side. Symmetry creates a sense of order and calmness. The issue is that symmetry can sometimes feel predictable and lack visual interest, which leads to dull interiors.

This is where asymmetry balance steps in, introducing a touch of surprise and excitement.

Check out this article to learn more about different types of Symmetry and Balance in Interior Design

What is Asymmetrical balance in interior design?

Asymmetrical balance is achieving balance by arranging different elements carefully without mirroring them.

Let me explain.

Asymmetry is the opposite of symmetry. Asymmetrical balance in interior design emphasizes visual weight over appearance. For instance, squares and circles can have the same visual weight, but squares aren’t circles in terms of appearance.

Circle and Square to describe the asymmetrical balance in interior design.
This square and circle have the same visual weight but different appearances.

💡 Personal insight: You can use asymetrical balance in interior design to improve unwelcoming interiors that feel overly perfect.

How to create asymmetrical balance in interior design?

Achieving asymmetry in design can be hard to create because asymmetry is inherently unbalanced,

but if you do it right, the result can be stunning! Here are five principles that will help you achieve asymmetry balance in interior design:

1️⃣ Scale and Proportion.

4 Small circles and 1 Big Square
The 4 Small Circles have the same visual weight of this big square

Balance different-sized furniture and decor elements to achieve a balanced asymmetry.

For example, placing a large sofa opposite a cluster of smaller accent chairs can create a visually balanced composition.

Remember: achieving asymmetry isn’t about appearance but visual weight.

2️⃣ Color and Texture:

Orange yellow on a blue background to illustrate the power of contrasting colors

Color and texture play a significant role in creating an engaging and harmonious asymmetrical design.

For example, a vibrant accent chair in a bold color can instantly grab your attention and add excitement. Mixing different textures also adds depth and makes things more fun. You can pair a smooth fabric sofa with a textured accent chair or add pillows and throws with different textures.

This mix of textures makes your design more engaging and enjoyable to touch.

3️⃣ Use Odd Numbers

3 Cherries

Odd numbers naturally catch our eye and add a sense of movement.

Try to use odd numbers of furniture pieces. Instead of having two chairs opposite a sofa, add a third chair with a different design or size.

Using odd numbers in your design will add movement and make the room more lively.

💡 Personal Insight: I’d recommend using odd numbers in arranging decorative items. For instance, when arranging things like vases or decorative items, try grouping them in odd numbers. Instead of using two candle holders, use three. Vary the sizes and shapes to make it more appealing.

4️⃣ Feel your way through it.

Getting the right balance of asymmetry is challenging because it mostly comes down to the designer’s gut.

Pay attention to how the asymmetry of your design resonates with your emotions. Does it evoke excitement? Step back and observe how the different elements interact and make you feel. If something feels off, don’t hesitate to make changes.

Trust your intuition and experiment until you achieve the desired emotional response.

5️⃣ Modifications can be very subtle.

Achieving asymmetrical balance doesn’t always require drastic changes.

Often, even subtle modifications can have a significant impact. For instance, simply placing a chair at an angle can create a sense of asymmetry that adds visual interest to your space.

Don’t underestimate the power of subtle adjustments.

Asymmetry in different cultures

Balance in design varies across cultures.

In the West, symmetry is the way to achieve balance. In contrast, many Asian cultures embrace asymmetry and irregularity. Asian cultures find balance by accepting natural imperfections, which we refer to as asymmetrical balance.

Wabi Sabi in Japan:

Dinning Room in a Wabi Sabi Style
Dinning Room embraces imperfections (Wabi Sabi Style)

In Japan, the concept of Wabi-Sabi celebrates imperfections and the beauty of asymmetry.

It values simplicity, natural materials, and the passage of time.

For example, Wabi Sabi admires a handmade ceramic bowl with slight irregularities due to its imperfections and connection to time.

Feng Shui in China:

Similarly, feng shui, an ancient Chinese practice, seeks to harmonize energy flow in the environment.

Feng Shui embraces symmetry to create a balance between yin and yang forces. (Yin and Yang = The Balance between the opposites)

Practical Examples and Ideas:

Let’s illustrate the asymmetry balance by having a practical example. Let’s say we are designing a living room:

Asymmetrical Living Room
Asymmetrical Living Room — Do you notice how the two chairs and Sofa balance each other?

Example: Living room

  1. you can achieve asymmetrical balance in your living room by placing a large sofa on one side.
  2. To balance the visual weight of the sofa, use a pair of smaller armchairs on the other side.
  3. You can also add a third striking chair with a different style to make the space feel more dynamic and exciting.

Here are some simple ideas to incorporate a touch of asymmetrical balance into your space:

  • Use natural items like rocks, tree branches, and furniture with rough or uneven surfaces.
  • Use shapes that aren’t perfect, like handmade pottery or other handiwork, to add variety.
  • Include materials with naturally irregular patterns, such as marble or limestone.
  • Choose a rug or carpet with a thick, natural-looking pile and unrepeated patterns.
  • Choose wallpaper and fabric patterns that are organic.
  • Choose paintings that reveal traces of the artist’s hand.
  • Select Drawings and paintings with bold brushstrokes provide an exciting contrast to flawless prints.
  • Instead of arranging your artwork in symmetrical patterns, hang it in asymmetrical ones.

Extras:

You can check out this video to Know more about Symmetry and Asymmetry. It’s a video about graphic design but same concept and rules apply in interiors.

Symmetry vs. Asymmetry

Summary:

Asymmetrical balance is a powerful design tool that can unlock the beauty and potential of your interior spaces.

Don’t be afraid to try different furniture and decor placements. Move things around until you achieve a visually pleasing composition.

Trust your instincts and let your creativity flow.

Picture of Bahaa Aydi

Bahaa Aydi

I'm Bahaa, a Licensed architect specialized in Interior design & Archviz • Sharing my design days with you to help you design better space • Founder of Leaf Studios & My Design Days •

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