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by Ryan Williams

Clients often ask me to define my "style." The simple answer is

...I don't have one

It's true that I may gravitate towards a particular aesthetic, but good design comes from following a few fundamental rules, which a skilled designer can achieve in any design style.

Three of those main fundamentals are:

#1 - Balance

Balance visually stabilizes a space and makes sure that one single element doesn't overpower the others

#2 - Scale

Scale refers to how a design element relates to other elements in a space in regard to its size

#3 - Proportion

Proportion is the balance between design elements including size, shape, color, and texture.


Today, we'll focus on balance.

One of the biggest mistakes I see when a client isn't happy with a space is the lack of balance. A room may have beautiful architectural elements (or none at all), but if those elements aren't balanced, the room will never feel peaceful and "right."

When evaluating a room and its contents, every item has a visual "weight." Some items are visually light, while others are visibly heavy. An obvious comparison is a small dining chair opposite an oversized armoire. Clearly, those two items will never be in equilibrium.

But what about the bigger picture? Look at the architectural elements of your space: a large fireplace, a tall, bright window, and a dark stained floor.

These items, too, have visual weight and a room must first be evaluated when it's empty before you can start layering in more decorative elements. Begin by tackling those items that are built into the space (and are staying), or the room won't achieve full harmony.

Ok, you've got this!

Go pick the room that bothers you the most.

Walk in and study it for a moment.

So, your room has a heavy fireplace on the left and a small window on the right?

Easy fix, just move the fireplace! Well, that's not in the budget.

Instead, just put a big bookcase in front of the window (this is a joke. Do not really do this!).

Hmmm. This is tricky.

Sometimes achieving that balance isn't easy, but there are ways to balance seemingly incompatible elements. And remember, visual weight and physical weight don't always relate. Adding drapery panels to that window (and taking them almost to the ceiling) will add visual weight without the need to remodel your house.

Great, now we balanced the left side with the right,

but don't forget about the rest of the room.

You'll also need to balance those dark walnut floors with your white ceiling.

The Architectural Digest option: add beautiful details to your ceiling like 30' beams and an amazing chandelier. The cost-effective (ie. real-life) option: add a lighter rug on top of the hardwoods now, and think about adding the beams won't be able to stop thinking about them.

Easy peasy!

The key takeaway here is that there's never just one answer,

and every room will command a different strategy.

Once you get the four corners of the room in balance, layer them with furnishings, art, window treatments, rugs, and accessories, but take care to spread them thoughtfully around the room.

Go forth and make something pretty.

Move some stuff around. Then move it again.

If it's been in the same spot for 10 years, MOVE IT.

If your spouse says, "Oh, It's fine there!" MOVE IT.

We aren't going for fine. We're going for amazing.

And if you get confused, call us. We've got this.


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