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Balance is a fundamental law of nature. You know you have it or you don’t when you try to stand on one leg to put on a sock, or you try to stand upright while closing your eyes (without swaying).
Balance, though, is most evident in the natural world. For example, a rock sitting solidly on the earth has a static balance, but if you take the dirt from beneath it, it will fall until it achieves a new balance, just like you will if your legs are kicked out from under you.
In design, balance centers on visual weight, rather than actual weight – how we perceive what we see in relation to its surroundings, how it draws our attention.There are no hard and fast rules concerning balance, but in general—all things being equal:
• Large size has greater visual weight than small size.
• Warm, bright colors have greater weight than cool, dull colors.
• Rough or busy textures and patterns have greater weight than smooth or plain ones.
• Irregular shapes have greater visual weight than geometric shapes.
• Diagonal or jagged lines have greater visual weight than geometric shapes.
• Brightly lighted areas have greater visual weight than dim ones.
With this in mind, you can balance a space to perfection by learning how to combine the various elements in a room by their visual weight. It’s a good chance that you already have a good feel for visual balance, but keeping the above in mind should help you balance your space.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|