Have you ever thought that something is “off” with your home, but you can’t put a finger on it? It might sound like something out of a feng shui book, but there’s enough scientific evidence to suggest that a sense of balance in your house makes you feel good. We’re all hardwired to appreciate beauty, after all.
The good news is, you don’t have to do things like place baguas or figurines in a specific place in your house to achieve balance. If you understand the following basic interior design principles, you’ll be well on your way to more beautiful and comfortable living quarters. Next time you are in the mood to do some home decor revamping, try these 9 ways to balance energy in your home.
9 Ways to Balance Energy in Your Home
Get Rid of Clutter
Let’s face it: Mess is a source of stress. When your stuff is literally all over the place, it’s hard to even start redecorating your home. Besides, just looking at clutter can throw anyone off balance.
Take a deep breath, and go through the mess one piece at a time. Sort them according to labels like “Things I Always Use,” “Things I Rarely Use” and “Things I Should Throw/Give Away.” If you’re having trouble, ask your family and friends to lend a hand. I’m sure the ones who are artistically-inclined, or at least have a ton of free time, will be more than happy to help.
Set Focal Points
When you walk into an unfamiliar place, what’s the first thing you do? You look for some sort of clue about your location, right? If you see sofas flanking a table, you assume you’re in a living room. If you see a tiled counter with cutlery and utensils on top of it, you assume you’re in a kitchen. If you see a bed, you’re obviously in a bedroom.
Those things are what interior designers call “focal points.” They’re the first thing you — and your visitors — notice, so choose them carefully, and highlight them somehow. For example, if your living room has full windows and there’s a nice view outside, you can place your comfiest chairs near the windows so visitors will be more inclined to enjoy the view.
Also, be careful not to have more than one focal point. Otherwise, the effect will be disorienting, and the balance you worked so hard to achieve will be disrupted.
Play With Colors
Different colors have different effects on our mood, depending on how they’re used. For example, red is a sensual color, so it’s perfect for the bedroom. But it’s also an energizing color, so you’d want to avoid it in a place like the living room, where people are supposed to be winding down.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match, by the way. If your walls come in neutral colors like white or beige, use dark-colored furniture to complement it, and vice versa. Combine them in such a way that the effect is vibrant but not overwhelming, and subdued but not boring. Of course, your personality should shine through these colors too!
Use House Plants
Studies have consistently shown that contact with nature is good for our brains. If you can’t visit the greenest part of your city/town, why not bring Mother Nature closer to home and have some potted plants here and there? They can complement a traditional home and contrast with a modern one just as nicely.
Choose air-purifying plants like palms, pothos and peace lilies. Place the larger ones in areas where there’s too much space. Use the smaller ones as centerpieces on places like the living room table and the kitchen countertop. If you’re allergic to plants, though, you don’t have to follow this step.
Remember That Size Matters
The size of your furniture and other items should be proportionate to the size of your space. For example, a meter-long chandelier is best for large living rooms with high ceilings, while a 5×7 framed photo won’t look out of place on the wall of a studio apartment.
That’s a general rule, of course. But there are ways to make your space look larger than it really is. You can place mirrors strategically, or keep your items to a minimum in certain spaces. What’s important is you’re comfortable with the overall “feel” of it.
Textures Matter Too
Another aspect of the “feel” of your house is the texture. Smooth floors go well with sleek, modern-style furniture, while rough floors should be complemented with animal skin rugs, wooden furniture and other items that lend a nature-like aura to your rooms.
You can also blend different textures together, as long as you stick to two or three at most. Use what you know about color psychology, and apply these in your choice of textures.
Don’t Forget the Lighting
Like colors, lights affect your mood. Bright lights energize you, while dim lights signal your body that it’s time to hit the hay. That’s why, when shopping for decorative lighting, you need to ask these questions:
Where will this light be used? How intense does it have to be to achieve the effect you want? Will it be practical to hang the light on the ceiling, place it on a stand or use it on a desk?
Aside from creating mood, lights can be used to indicate transition as well. Choose different lights for adjacent rooms if possible, so you’ll minimize those awkward moments where you accidentally plop onto your sister’s bed because you thought it was yours!
Throw In a Bit of Asymmetry
Generally, symmetry is a good thing. But, as with most good things, too much of it can be bad. That’s where asymmetry — also known as “informal balance” — comes in.
Like symmetry, asymmetry requires a central or focal point. However, you have the freedom to place dissimilar objects opposite each other, as long as they have the same visual weight. It’s difficult to explain “visual weight” without, well, a visual example, so I’ll direct you to this fantastic article by Paula Grace Designs for more info.
Master the Rules and Then Break Them
As any interior designer will tell you, there’s no right way to decorate a house. It all depends on your available space, your house’s architecture, your personal preferences, your budget and other factors unique to you. Take these factors into account, experiment with the tips above, see which one changes your house for the better and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
About the Author: Sarah Landrum
Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and career blogger, sharing advice on finding happiness and success in your career and in life. Passionate about both food and living a balanced life, Sarah is always on the lookout for healthy new recipes and ways to get fit. Share your favorites and check out more from Sarah by following her on Twitter @SarahLandrum
(main photo source: dellacooks.com)