These expert tips will help you balance a room.
David Duncan Livingston
If you've got your eye on a piece of furniture you absolutely love but it's a bit of a statement-maker, don't be afraid to buy it. There's always a way to make even the most eye-catching pieces work in your home, and as the great Bunny Williams said: "If you love something it will work, that is the only real rule."
1. Let it stand out. Reagan Hayes, furniture and interior designer makes an important point. "If everything is special than nothing is special," says Hayes. "If you're trying to let one piece be a statement, keep other things smaller or less ornate." You can't fill a room with statement makers; it will feel like the room is shouting at you.
2. Mix it up. Figure out what type of piece it is and try combining it with its opposite says Cecilie Starin of Cecilie Starin Design. "Get it clear in your mind what type of furniture it is, old, new, painted, or wooden. Simple or complicated? Then try to juxtapose things," says Starin. "Organic with geometric. Dark with light. Busy with simple. I think that is what makes a room interesting. Try to do something that is not like a piece that's already in the room."
3. Go back to the basics. Don't be afraid to go back to Art 101 and pull out your color wheel. "You're going to want to stick with accent colors that are a complement," says Hayes. "Whenever I get really stuck with color pairings, I pull out a color wheel and start playing with it. Maybe you won't be using the same tone, but if they can complement or stay in an analogous color scheme it will create balance."
4. The rule of three. When incorporating a piece of furniture forget about matching everything. "We're in a time now, where there isn't a lot of matching," says Starin. "Instead, when adding color to a room it's good to pick it up in three different accent areas. You don't have to use that much color to make it feel like there is color in the room. When you start using a lot of different colors it can be hard to make it all work without looking too busy."
5. Play with pattern. If your statement making piece has a pattern on it, don't be afraid to combine it with other patterned accents says Hayes. "For pattern, it's generally best to not mix a lot of pattern that all has the same scale," explains Hayes. "Instead a large pattern like a bold stripe pairs best with a smaller print, again it helps to create balance, where two or three large patterns thrown together could look garish."
6. Look at the big picture. "Take a step back. Sometimes you need to squint and see what is standing out," says Starin. "You won't even read the really recessive colors or features. Make sure what you are seeing is what you want to stand out." See what colors and shapes are visible so you don't lose perspective. If you're overthinking the nitty-gritty details the whole room can feel wrong.
7. Don't be afraid to play. At the end of the day it's your own personal style. "Just play with rooms and areas and don't be so stuck on a plan," says Hayes. "Sometimes you have to shuffle and sometimes the smallest tweaks can make a really big difference and balance everything else out."
8. Choose a focal point for your statement piece. There are certain pieces that are more secondary like an end table, mirror, or nightstand and it's a supporting element says Starin. If your looking for your statement piece to really up the wow factor make sure it's a main part of the room i.e. a sofa, bed, etc.
9. Keep scale in mind. You want to make sure that you're really paying attention to scale. "You're not going to want to combine a very large piece with something that is very small," says Starin. "Not only does it look out of place in the room, it will throw off the balance and makes day-to-day living harder. You won't be able to use things like a coffee table, end table, or lamp the way you need to if it's too tall or too short."