By: Laura Gaskill
Human faces, snowflakes, violins, the Eiffel Tower — so much of our world is symmetrical, it’s no wonder the eye is drawn to things with a mirror-image quality, including interiors. No matter your decor style, embracing symmetry can help your space look its best. Whether you’re bringing grandeur to a small space or doing more with your art collection, here are 10 reasons to work symmetry into your rooms.
1. Symmetry can make your dining room feel fancier. Formal symmetry (where two sides of a room are close to mirror images of each other) dresses up a space. In the dining room, try hanging framed artworks on either side of a large mirror for a classic, elegant look. Or place matching lamps, sculptures or vases at either end of a buffet table — the more objects repeated on each side of the room, the more formal the space will feel.
2. Symmetry makes mixing up the dining set easier. Mixing and matching dining chairs is simple when you stick with a symmetrical arrangement — a pair of slipcovered armchairs at the ends and wood chairs along the sides, for instance. Even though the chairs at the heads of table are completely different from the others, the look feels well balanced.
3. Symmetry can deliver a big statement on a small budget. If you want to make an impact without spending big, choose budget finds arranged symmetrically. Here, bold black stripes painted on the wall (a project you can do yourself) set the tone for a chic black and white scheme. A simply framed, blown-up black and white poster centered above a settee and flanked by matching end tables and lamps completes the picture in mirror-image style.
4. Symmetry can do wonders for your art collection. If you have a piece of art you love, but it’s too small to stand on its own, try surrounding it with smaller, identically framed art, as shown here. What could have been a canvas swallowed up by too much wall is instead into a focal point. Other sure bets in arranging include an evenly spaced grid or a vertical column of art in matching frames.
5. Symmetry help balance strong architectural features. If your room has a large or an especially striking architectural feature (like a fireplace or bay window), using it as the center of a symmetrical arrangement is a good way to bring balance to the room. Here a large fireplace is flanked by a pair of matching chests, lamps and mirrors.
6. Symmetry can turn a doorway into a passage with presence. Passing through a plain doorway becomes an event when a pair of sculptures on pedestals stands guard. And although the art around the doorway here is more salon style than a perfect grid, it still adds to the impression of balance.
7. Symmetry can make a small space feel important. Sneaking in symmetry where you can is a great way to bring a bit of grandeur to a compact space. Here a set of floor-sweeping drapes and a pair of artworks frame the window, while a pair of matching armchairs and matching pillows bring a pleasing sense of order to the seating area.
8. Symmetry can help downplay a tech feature. Surrounding the TV with pairs of identical items — in this case chairs, topiaries and graphic curtains — helps the eye travel around the space, instead of instantly settling on the “big, black box.”
9. Symmetry provides an anchor for eclectic collections. Keep vintage treasures and eclectic art looking good by starting with a base furniture arrangement with some symmetry. Even if you don’t have identical items, you can still approximate the look by using what you
have. In the space shown here, two sofas facing each other look balanced (even though they are not the same), matching lamps help nonmatching tables fit in, and identical shades on the windows help tie everything together.
10. Symmetry pulls together a living room like nobody’s business. If your living room seems to be missing something, have a look around and see how many pairs of identical items you can count. If everything is a one-off, the feeling of the room may be a bit scattered. Try adding a pair of matching table lamps, a set of matching pillows on the sofa or a pair of armchairs upholstered in the same fabric. Of course, having pairs is not enough — be sure to position your matching items across from each other to create symmetry that pleases the eye.
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