Merchandising and Interior Design Tips

Keeping Your Balance

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“Life is about balance. The good and the bad. The highs and the lows. The pina and the colada.” Ellen DeGeneres

Balance is one of the basic principles of design – a state in which all the individual design elements of a space achieve harmony, with nothing out of proportion or overemphasized to the detriment of other parts.

When it comes to the largest components of a room – flooring, paint, finishes, countertops, main upholstery pieces, furniture and drapery treatments – good balance can make or break the outcome.


Small space, big impact.  Color is one of the most basic ways to experiment with the concept of balance in interior design. Lighter elements in this room include the softly accent-painted walls, white ceiling and trim, draperies, cocktail table, area rug, chair and lamp shades. Notice how these items provide a counterpoint to the darker, stronger pieces such as the sectional, end table, built-ins, bookcase, flooring and fireplace surround. Photo by Anthony Gomez.


Focal Points. An elaborate honeycomb pattern on the wood ceiling and a massive carved hutch are the bold centerpieces of this luxurious dining room. These strong elements are effectively brought into balance with simple slipcovered chairs, an unobtrusive area rug and white walls. Notice how the two pieces of art, with their oversized white mats, visually offset the weight of the hutch on the opposite wall. Photo by Eric Figge.


Modern Charm. This delightful nursery plays with two design elements: color and finish. The deep-taupe paint feels fresh and light-hearted in part because of the ample use of white accents in the trim paint, furnishings and accessories such as the floating shelves and books. Metal, glass and mirrored finishes are all on-trend and add sparkle, while a pop of pink keeps the room lively and feminine. Photo by Jeffrey Aron.


Scale and Pattern. Panoramic doors are designed to erase physical boundaries, making it important for both indoor and outdoor areas to coordinate in terms of interior design. Outside, the scale and pattern of the area rug and geometric throw pillows provide a harmonious complement to the interior drapery and overall color scheme of the home.  In this case, a dark ceiling outdoors plays off light flooring and a brick wall. Inside, the design is reversed with a dark wood floor and light painted ceiling. Photo by Eric Figge.


Pulling it All Together. The interiors of this home achieve great balance. Boldly-printed drapery is offset by solid cream upholstery and walls. Striking dark cabinets, staircase railings and furniture pieces pop off pale plank flooring and granite countertops. Accessories combine both light and dark elements. A tall plant in a dark basket adds contrast and softness. Indoor and outdoor areas have great flow and continuity of design. Photo by Anthony Gomez.

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