12 January 2013
Take a look at your fireplace – go on, a long, hard look. What’s positioned around it? Above it? What’s on your mantlepiece? What’s sitting on your hearth?
The way we choose to decorate our fireplaces, the main focal point in any space, is very personal and all about balance.
Good balance in a room is crucial to your well-being. If you don’t feel in harmony in your living space you’ll feel dissatisfied and dispirited.
Of course balance is a difficult concept to define but the main idea is symmetry. The fireplace examples above and below show symmetrical balance, where the fireplace acts as a central line and either side is identical.
This is what we know as conventional or traditional but it shouldn’t be mistaken for old-fashioned. Symmetrical balance is a choice. The majority of people find symmetrical balance pleasing because they have two functioning eyes and see their surroundings through both of them.
Asymmetrical balance on the other hand is less common and is usually appreciated by those people who don’t see equally through both eyes.
In the Interior above, the fireplace itself is ‘off-centre’ and the owners have chosen to decorate it with irregular shaped glass ornaments and a central picture which is positioned slightly to the left of centre. This arrangement would seriously de-stabilise a symmetrically balanced person but give satisfaction to an asymmetrically balanced person.
Of course it’s all a matter of degree. You may find total symmetry too demanding and controlling (as I do!) or asymmetry too unruly and anarchic. So, it’s important to understand what kind of symmetry you desire and to what degree.
Is it total asymmetry like the example below?
Or is it something in the middle?
However you decide to decorate your fireplace, you should think very carefully about the balance, because choosing the right balance will bring pleasing rewards!