Decorating: Symmetrical or Assymetrical?

Symmetry design

Depending on where you look, you will get conflicting advice on the ideals of symmetry or odd numbered furniture, decorations, etc.  It’s a well known fact that symmetrical things are pleasing to the eye.  You generally want to hang your pictures or you television in the middle of the space don’t you?  Doesn’t it appear more natural to have equal negative space around the couch, or the wall sconces?  We don’t just put one nightstand around our bed.  Think about the human face.

If someone’s eyes are smaller than the other, or their eyebrows are not uniform, it is a negative appeal.  Symmetry in design is a natural thing, and we try to emulate it in our homes for aesthetically pleasing effect.  For more ideas on symmetry look here:

That being said, there are other studies showing how odd numbered groupings are more appealing than even, symmetrical décor.  This can apply to furniture, paintings, shelving decorations, plants in your back yard etc.  It’s easy to implement the rule of three with throwing three decorations on your table, but truly embracing assymetrical design is another thing etnriely.   In my opinion asymmetrical can be amazing and mind blowing if done correctly, however it’s more likely that it will look terrible.

It seems to me that even with assymetrical design, there is a form of symmetry that you can derive from it.  For example when we are looking at a grouping of three things, the brain automatically divides the middle decoration in half, and attributes it as two symmetrical units of 1.5.  Here’s an example of some design tips using odd numbers:

Take a look at this picture:

Asymmetrical Design

The table is off to the left, and the pictures are on the right.  It’s tastefully done and is assymetrical, however is also symmetrical in a way.  The pictures and the table almost balance out, making it pleasing to the eye.  My point being, in order to achieve asymmetrical design done well, it is best done with a form of symmetry.

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