The secret to achieving visual harmony

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Whether your décor aesthetic is minimalist purity or eclectic disorder, it’s important to have harmony.

What is visual harmony? Consider this: you walk into someone’s home one evening, and they have a picture frame on the wall opposite your seat. The frame is slightly askew and hangs at an odd slant. It isn’t your home, so you don’t straighten it, but it bothers you all evening. This is because that crooked frame is interfering with the visual harmony of the room. Visual harmony is the balance and symmetry of the space, and it’s more important than you think.

When we redo our homes, we’re hoping to make them appealing, welcoming, and reflective of our own lives and tastes. We’re also considering contemporary trends in interior décor and what will best suit our family. It’s a lot to remember, but without visual harmony, something will always seem ‘off’ or incomplete.

Here’s how to make sure that your space has visual harmony. 

Aim for balance

Don’t cluster all your visual weight on one side. This means that you match the ‘heaviest’ colours of your décor in smaller ways throughout. For example, if you have deep blue drapes on one large window of your wall, echo the colour with blue cushions on the sofa opposite. This evens out the colours of a room and gives relief to the eyes. If you’re mixing warm and cool colours, add elements of one within the other.

Work on symmetry

Balance the furniture out to make a room feel well-planned and attractive. Placing all your furniture on one side of a room makes it feel lopsided. You don’t need to make one side of a room the mirror-image of the other side, but do position furniture around in a flow.

Blank space is good

Visual harmony is all about offering a rest to the eye, and there’s nothing more soothing than a blank, clean space. If you’re moving towards minimalist decor, this will not be a problem for you, but if you like a room full of vibrant pieces and cosy disarray, you might have to work on this. Fill up your room by all means, but maybe you could leave the floor or the walls bare. Or you could try this the other way, and put up all your art work and photographs, but keep the furniture sparse and monochromatic.

Create a design flow

You might choose to have a set of perfectly matched pitchers on your sideboard, or each chair around your dining table might be designed in a different style. Either way, you need to have a flow to the room. This means that they relate to each other in some manner. For example, multiple varying elements should have a common colour or motif to tie them together. This makes the difference between décor that looks deliberate and décor that looks haphazard.

Invest wisely

We’re all guilty of impulse buys when it comes to décor. Something that looks great in a store might not suit the theme you have planned at home. When buying furniture or décor for your home, do consider the kind of look and the motifs in your space before spending. An item that stands out like a sore thumb can completely change the harmony of the room.

Achieving visual harmony isn’t about having a boringly similar style or colour. That is an extreme approach and is considered passé. You’re free to use a mix-and-match technique as well. But visual harmony is brought in by repeating a theme or a colour throughout, to bring together all your elements in a layered, rich look.  

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