Get The Look: Building Symmetrical Spaces With Style

Good symmetry is one of the fundamentals of interior design. There’s something inherently pleasing about a room with a balanced feel to it; it’s an easy way to get a professional look without an advanced designer’s skill set. The flip side is that perfectly symmetrical spaces can often feel like too much of a good thing; cookie-cutter perfection is hard to maintain, and done on too large a scale it can feel heavy handed and amateur. This living room by Hence Interiors is a great example of striking the right balance; the symmetry is almost perfect, but established mostly with accent pieces, which makes the look both subtle and easy to update.

An image of a symmetrical gray-and-gold living room accentuated with dark forest green chairs and matching lamps.
This living room is a great example of doing symmetry well, with neutral furniture to match the architecture, a few colorful accents, and just the right amount of rule-breaking (by Hence Interiors)

Why It Works

Symmetrical interiors often fall short when the symmetry relies on distinctive big-ticket items – like a matching pair of blue velvet sofas – or when they try to be symmetrical from multiple directions. This sitting room is a pass-through space from left to right, but beautifully balanced from the direction of the photo. That means the space can paint a pretty picture from one angle without feeling samey from every direction. The architecture here lends well to the look; the even-spaced matching windows crave a mirrored layout, while the French doors along the exterior of the room invite you to explore outside.

Get The Look

The real key, though? The room has a largely neutral base – a gray sofa, black coffee table, cream walls, and a pale blush rug. That means the symmetrical touch points – the chairs and lamps – stand out boldly (even though they’re small and relatively few), and lend weight to the more subtly matching end tables (and the perfect bisection of the two-cushion couch!). Just as important are the elements that break the symmetry – like the abstract painting, pillows, and slightly offset tray table. This little bit of variation keeps the symmetry from feeling stiff or uncanny; the little “flaws” make the look feel purposeful and maybe a little cheeky rather than fresh out of the box. The best part? Pull the chairs and lamps and you have a striking black, gold, and gray decor…. ready to redecorate. A fun pair for some of the bolder Pantone picks!

The two big mistakes people make when designing a very symmetrical space are: being too heavy handed with their color scheme and making their spaces perfectly mirror matching from every direction. A lighter touch will give you a finish with more finesse; a little asymmetry will keep the look just relaxed enough to live in.

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