An Easy Designer Styling Trick for a Photo-Worthy Room
Want to know an easy designer styling trick for a photo-worthy room?
Group your accessories in odd numbers.
Weird, right? But it totally works. But in order to do it successfully, you need to understand balance, and the difference between formal and informal balance.
Here are the basics about balance.
You’re probably familiar with formal, or symmetrical balance. That’s when things are equal on both sides. If you drew an imaginary line down the middle, both sides would be identical. And while symmetrical balance sure is pretty, it can fall a little…flat. Formal balance is very rigid, and tends to lack visual movement and energy. Everything is calm and has its place.
So, what do I prefer when styling?
While symmetrical balance is pretty obvious and safe, what’s trickier is working with asymmetrical balance. And asymmetrical balance is what I think gives a space a more lived-in, collected, and magazine-worthy look.
Asymmetrical balance is when things feel balanced, but don’t create an identical mirror image. Give me a good odd-numbered, asymmetrical grouping any day! This easy designer styling trick will totally up-level your accessorizing game.
See how the stack of books, starburst mirror, and floral arrangement in my master bedroom above keep your eye moving in a triangle shape and are so dynamic? A grouping of 3 items is almost always an instant home run.
(I know what you’re going to say next: “Lesley, you said to use 3 items, but there are 4 in that photo because of the brass duck on top of the books!” YOU SMART COOKIE, YOU. You’re technically right. But when it comes to accessorizing, as soon as you put an item in a stack or on a pedestal – like on a stack of books – it reads as one item. Consider one “grouping” as one item if it reads that way visually.)
The styling on the piano in my former office above has 3 simple items – a framed piece of artwork, a mirror, and a lamp, The height of the art balances the height of the lamp, and the mirror creates a visual “peak” in the middle. Simple and super-successful.
Finally, here’s an example of 5 accessories working together beautifully. The succulent and books (yup, I’m considering that as one item), the framed oil painting, the zebra candle, the deer skull, and taped-up artwork create a vignette that’s effortlessly stylish and definitely asymmetrical. You can see how things feel balanced and move your eye around in interesting ways.
When it comes to styling and accessorizing your home,
interior designers are a cruel bunch because we make it look so easy. It really can’t be that hard to arrange a few things on a bookshelf, right?
Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve struggled to get a magazine-worthy look on your coffee table or mantel. It’s not as easy as it looks! There’s a reason I spent years in design school learning about the elements and principles of design. But with a few styling secrets in your back pocket, you can get a kickass designer look in your own home too. Download the Cheat Sheet right here.