Symmetry vs. Asymmetry

The first thing I do as a designer when I start working with a new client is help them decide on a furniture arrangement or “space plan.” It informs the rest of the project and provides a clear plan in terms of what the flow of the room will be, how many pieces of furniture, and what size. There are two basic approaches to space planning your room; you can lean toward a more symmetrical furniture arrangement or an asymmetrical one. Here’s my quick guide for determining when and who is suited for either of these options.

When to Use Symmetrical Furniture Arrangements

Symmetrical Room
Image: Victoria Hagan

Try a symmetrical arrangement if:

• You have a focal point centered in the room such as a fireplace, French doors, or built-in unit.
• You are a more logical and like order and structure.
• You don’t want to put a lot of thought into your furniture arrangement but still want balance.
• You are seeking a more serious aesthetic.

Entry cabinet symmetrical styling
Images: (Left) Pinterest, (Right) The A Estate

Other things to remember about symmetrical arrangements are that they can be quicker to decide upon and achieve because you are employing the same furniture pieces as a mirror image of each other. This cuts down on shopping time and the number of decisions to make. However, I have found that symmetrical arrangements don’t fit in every space and sometimes look a little better when the furniture is floating in the room rather than up against the wall.

When to Use Asymmetrical Furniture Arrangements

asymmetrical room
Image: Modern Eve

Try an asymmetrical arrangement if:

• You thrive in organized chaos.
• You love spending time arranging furniture to find unique ways of achieving balance.
• You are seeking a more playful space.
• You are creating a more casual setting.

Asymmetrical interior
Images: (Left) Madeline Stuart, (Right) Pinterest

Some great things about asymmetrical arrangements is that they leave room for one of a kind accent pieces such as funky side tables or a modern accent chair in a traditional space and vice versa. You can also employ a “design and collect as you go” approach if you’re someone who doesn’t like things too planned out.

There are always exceptions to every design rule

There will always be exceptions to this guide and of course other factors will also help determine the final personality of your space such as furniture style, fabric, and architectural details, but there will always be a connecting thread among rooms that employ either a symmetrical or asymmetrical furniture layout, so use this little guide if you’re stuck on which direction to take your next decorating project.

Which arrangement suits you the best? Comment below and let us know!

2 Comments

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  2. “Symmetry vs. Asymmetry – The Interior Collective” was quite pleasurable
    and enlightening! Within todays world honestly, that is tough to manage.
    Thx, Alex

    My web site: Heather

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About The Author

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Brittany Stiles
Brittany is an interior designer and stylist constantly searching for creativity and inspiration in the world around her. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California where she finds plenty of both. Her interior design studio services a variety of clients throughout California seeking her simple and collected aesthetic. Brittany believes that a house becomes a home when it is beautiful, comfortable and, most importantly, reflects the personality of the people who live inside.