MANY of my friends think I'm mad. Really. This madness has a lot to do with being obliged, or rather driven to say, straighten a painting, or centre a piece of furniture under a painting.
Like many, I find asymmetry in a living space jarring. There's a good reason for this, and it's the fact that symmetrical design affects our brain. Even when it is too subtle to be consciously acknowledged, subconsciously we know when something is off-centre or out of balance.
At the same time, most of us are drawn to balanced images and spaces, as we tend to think of them more aesthetically pleasing than their off-kilter counterparts. Regardless of your personal style, symmetry has to do with a sense of balance. You will find symmetrical balance in most traditional interiors, just picture in your mind's eye the exterior or interior of a grand home; it's symmetrical isn't it?
The design principal of symmetrical balance is best characterised by the same objects repeated in the same positions on either side of a vertical axis. For example, a pair of bedside tables, placed one either side of the bed. Asymmetrical balance is more casual and suggests movement, leading to lively interiors. An example would be a tall standing lamp on one side of a sofa and a small table on the other side.
And then there's another good reason to pursue symmetry in your space - and that's the ancient art of Feng Shui. Pairs are especially important in a space according to Feng Shui as they can reflect or attract a couple and is said to bring and maintain romance into your life. Now there's a great reason for symmetry.