Harmony in Design: The Art of Balancing Symmetry and Asymmetry

Think Interior
6 min readMay 16, 2023

Creating a harmonious and visually appealing space involves finding the right balance between symmetry and asymmetry. Using both design principles strategically can transform a room into a captivating and balanced environment. Whether in architecture, interior design, or visual arts, understanding the interplay between symmetry and asymmetry is key to achieving a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing result.

You can learn about harmony in design and the art of balancing symmetry and asymmetry through an interior design academy.


Symmetry, often associated with formal and classical designs, is characterized by a balanced arrangement of elements around a central axis. It is achieved when the same objects or patterns are mirrored on either axis. It creates a sense of order, stability, and elegance. Symmetry is frequently seen in architectural features like grand entrances, perfectly aligned windows, and symmetrically placed furniture arrangements.


On the other hand, asymmetry introduces a sense of movement, spontaneity, and visual interest into a space. It involves the deliberate arrangement of objects or elements in a way that does not mirror each other. Asymmetry can be achieved by varying elements’ size, shape, color, or texture while maintaining balance. This approach allows for more creativity and individuality in design, giving a space a unique and dynamic character.

The key to successfully utilizing symmetry and asymmetry is finding a harmonious balance. Here are some strategies to achieve this balance:

Focal Point

Establish a central focal point that anchors the design. It could be a fireplace, a piece of artwork, or a statement furniture item. Create symmetry around the focal point while incorporating asymmetrical elements to add visual interest.

Creating a focal point in interior design is a powerful technique to enhance a space’s visual appeal and impact. A focal point is the center of attention, drawing the eye and anchoring the design composition. It adds depth, interest, and a sense of purpose to a room. One effective way to establish a focal point is through architectural features. It could be a grand fireplace, an impressive staircase, or a large window with an amazing view. They become the focal point and set the tone for the entire space by emphasizing and highlighting these features.

Another popular approach to creating a focal point is through artwork and wall decor. Hanging a captivating painting, an intricate mural, or a gallery of photographs grabs attention and becomes a focal point. The art piece can reflect the room’s theme, color scheme, or personal style, adding a touch of character and creativity.

Furniture can also play a significant role in establishing a focal point. A statement piece, such as a luxurious sofa, an intricately carved headboard, or a unique coffee table, can serve as the visual centerpiece of a room. Placing it strategically and arranging the remaining furniture around it creates a focal point that captures the eye and elevates the overall design.

Scale and Proportion

Maintain a sense of balance in terms of scale and proportion. For example, if you have a large, symmetrical piece of furniture, balance it with smaller asymmetrical accessories or vice versa.

Scale and proportion are fundamental principles in interior design that greatly influence a space’s visual harmony and balance. Understanding how to work with scale and proportion is key to creating a well-designed and cohesive environment.

Scale refers to the size of stuff and elements within a space relative to each other and the overall room. It involves considering furniture proportions, accessories, architectural features, and the room. A balanced scale ensures that objects and elements are appropriately sized and placed around one another, creating a harmonious composition. For example, choosing furniture that is too large for a small room can make the space feel cramped and overwhelming, while furniture that is too small for a large room can make it appear empty and lacking in presence. It is important to carefully consider the scale of each element and how it interacts with others to achieve visual balance.

Conversely, proportion refers to the relationship between the sizes of different parts within a whole. It involves achieving a pleasing balance between the elements regarding their dimensions and ratios. Proportion is essential in creating a sense of visual stability and cohesion. An example of proportion is ensuring that the height of a table is proportional to the height of the chairs surrounding it or that the width of a wall art piece is appropriate for the size of the wall. Paying attention to proportion can create a sense of visual equilibrium and ensure all elements work together seamlessly.

Grouping and Layering

Arrange objects in groups or clusters, considering both symmetry and asymmetry. It can be achieved by arranging similar objects symmetrically while introducing size, shape, or color variations within the group.

Both grouping and layering techniques offer several benefits in interior design:

a) Visual Interest: By grouping and layering objects, you introduce diversity and texture into the space, which captivates the eye and adds visual intrigue. It prevents a room from appearing flat or monotonous.

b) Balance and Harmony: Grouping and layering help create a sense of stability and harmony by distributing visual weight and creating a focal point. They bring a sense of order and organization to a space.

c) Personalization: These techniques allow you to showcase your personality and style by arranging objects with personal meaning or representing your interests. Grouping and layering provide an opportunity for self-expression in the design.

d) Flexibility: Grouping and layering are flexible design techniques that can be easily modified and updated as your tastes change. They allow you to experiment with different arrangements and combinations without significantly changing the overall space.

Color and Pattern

Use color and pattern to create visual balance. For example, you can have a symmetrical color scheme with an asymmetrical pattern or vice versa. This juxtaposition adds visual interest without sacrificing harmony.

When using color in interior design, consider the following:

Color Palette: Select a color palette that harmonizes with the overall style and theme of the room. It can involve choosing complementary colors (opposite on the color wheel) or analogous colors (next to all others on the color wheel) to create a cohesive and balanced look.

Accent Colors: Use accent colors sparingly to add interest and draw attention to specific areas or elements in the room. It can be done through accessories, accent walls, or statement furniture.

Consider the following when incorporating patterns:

Scale: Choose patterns of different scales to create visual interest and prevent overwhelming the space. Mix small-scale patterns with larger ones for balance.

Coordination: Ensure that patterns within the room coordinate with each other and the overall design. Look for common elements like color or stylCarefully integrating.

Mix and Match: Different patterns create an eclectic, personalized style. Make sure there is a sense of harmony and balance between the patterns.

Focal Point: Use patterns strategically to create a focal point within the room. It can be achieved through a statement wallpaper, a bold patterned rug, or a standout piece of furniture.

Negative Space

Incorporate negative space, also known as space, into your design. It allows the eye to rest and enhances the impact of both symmetrical and asymmetrical elements.

Negative space, also known as pale space or space, refers to the unoccupied or empty areas within a design composition. It is the space around, between, and within objects and elements. While often overlooked, negative space is crucial in interior design and can greatly impact a space’s overall aesthetic and functionality. Here are some key points about negative space:

Visual Breathing Room

Negative space provides a visual breathing room within a design. It allows the eye to rest and value the surrounding elements. By giving objects and elements space to “breathe,” negative space enhances the overall clarity and readability of the design.

Balance and Composition

Negative space is vital in achieving balance and harmony in a room. It helps distribute visual weight, ensuring no single element dominates the space. Proper negative space creates a sense of equilibrium, making the design feel well-proportioned and visually pleasing.

Emphasizing Focal Points

Negative space can highlight and draw attention to a room’s key focal points or important elements. By framing or isolating specific objects or features, negative space helps guide the viewer’s gaze and reinforces the visual hierarchy of the design.


Understanding the art of balancing symmetry and asymmetry is essential to achieving harmony in design. By thoughtfully incorporating both principles, you can create visually appealing and balanced spaces that captivate the eye and evoke a sense of beauty and coherence. Experiment with different combinations, trust your instincts and let your creativity guide you in achieving the perfect balance between symmetry and asymmetry.

Colleges with interior design courses often cover topics related to design principles, including harmony, balance, and composition. These courses provide a comprehensive understanding of creating visually pleasing and well-balanced spaces.



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