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Bedroom interiors 101: The power of symmetry

We explore the power of symmetry in interior design, paying close attention to the bedroom, examining how symmetrical balance creates a sleek, gorgeous space that simply works.
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bedroom symmetry_hero

Most of us will have heard that symmetry equals beauty in one sense or another. And there’s evidence to prove it, whether it’s the pattern on a sea shell, the shape of a majestic tree, a pioneering work of art or even an impressive piece of music. It’s true, symmetry does give a sense of aesthetic ‘oneness’ and an overarching feeling of order, which makes us feel at ease. And that’s why it’s so important in the world of interior design.

Ever wondered why your bedroom looks a little chaotic and haphazard, despite being neat and tidy? Chances are it’s lacking in symmetrical balance. A bedroom that has even the most basic level of symmetrical balance feels more structured and calm. And that’s because symmetry just makes sense to us. In fact, scientists have theorised that humans actively search for symmetry in the world as it feels logical – representing order, simplicity and elegance[i]. Funny they should say that, because that’s exactly what we want to achieve when it comes to our bedrooms!

Starting to rethink your decision to shove the double bed into the corner of the room to make more floor space? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many of us overlook the importance of symmetry when it comes to our interiors, putting practical matters first and then ‘making do’ with less-than-desirable aesthetics as a result. But it’s time we challenged this mentality. Because what, after all, is more practical than a bedroom that invokes feelings of calm and restfulness, and looks utterly fabulous too?


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The focal point

First things first, start by making sure your double bed sits in the centre of one of your bedroom walls. This will give your room a clear focal point, an essential part of ‘achieving symmetry’. If you’re worried about space, think about investing in a frame with a simple design that isn’t too overbearing in terms of height (no four-posters, please). In terms of material, wooden bed frames tend to be better for small spaces than upholstered ones, as they generally feel more streamlined.

For a wooden bed with a pared-back country-chic feel, we love this Daphne Bedframe, which exudes French style and is set reasonably low to the ground so won’t dominate the space. Or for something with a cleaner silhouette, go for something like this understated Emily Wooden Bed Frame. Just remember – a bed that’s pushed into a corner will create too much weight at one side of the space, leaving it next-to impossible to balance things out elsewhere.

The symmetry

Now you’ve got your focal point sorted, it’s time to work on the symmetry itself. Without going overboard (more on that below), think of a few obvious ways to achieve a mirror-image balance in the room and stick to them. Bedside tables are the logical place to start – and it’s not rocket science that these should match. Try, however, to mix things up a bit by creating a slight clash between the tables’ design and the bedframe, to avoid a look that feels too prescribed (and possibly a little ‘budget hotel’).

If you’ve got a wooden bedframe, try opting for something like this sleek white Perth 3 Drawer Bedside Chest with chrome detailing for a gorgeous Scandi look that’s symmetrical but not one-dimensional. Continue the balanced look with matching lamps on the bedside tables, and opt for a couple of statement throw cushions to pull the look onto the bed itself. And that’s more or less where we’d recommend drawing the line at symmetrical touches in the bedroom. Which brings us on to…

bedroom symmetry_rauch perth
bedroom symmetry_nantucket

The balance

As with most things in interior design, symmetry is best done in moderation and should be offset by asymmetrical touches too. That means you’ll be able to keep the room balanced without turning it into a doll’s house. Think about weight and balance as opposed to exact matches. If there’s a heavyset wardrobe on the right-hand side of the space, offset it with a chest of drawers to the left. And if the chest of drawers is significantly smaller than the wardrobe, add some seating to the mix to balance things out. We love this Alexander and James New England Nantucket Fabric Armchair, which adds a luxurious-chic feel to the room and helps offset any bulky furniture opposite.

The wild cards

Purposefully breaking an established pattern draws attention to particular design pieces, and is an important part of making sure a room isn’t too monotonous. Try placing a statement floor lamp in one corner of the room, or play around with flower arrangements, blankets and pieces of art as single items that don’t have a symmetrical counterpart. By selecting a few creative ‘wild cards’ like this, you’ll create interest and texture in the room, and inject it with some personality too.

People often mistake symmetry for dull or tediously ‘straight laced’ when it comes to interiors. But in reality, symmetry has nothing to do with boring, and has everything to do with chic, balanced design that simply works. The great thing about it is that you can layer up on a symmetrical base as much as you like, creating character and intrigue that not only has tons of personality but that looks slick and innovative too. Now that’s the kind of design we can get on board with.


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