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Visual Weight in Home Decor

By Pamela Cole Harris

Did you ever enter a room that "feels" heavy? (The first one that makes a comment about my ample bottom being in the room gets three lashes with a lava lamp!) or walked into a room that gave you the impression of being too intense? Visual weight is another one of those design principles that concern your first impressions of a room, but it is one that - when used appropriately - can make your room pleasing to the eye.

Here is how to make sure the visual weight in your room doesn't overwhelm your visitors:

1. Large objects in the room are visually heavier than small ones. So, unless your room is large (we are talking ballroom here!), balance the large objects with smaller ones to create balance.

2. If a fabric or construction material is actually heavy, it  will have more visual weight as well. This even applies to upholstery fabrics. So use lighter weight fabrics in a small room to avoid giving the impression that the room is too restricted.

3. Dark, warm and intense colors appear heavier than light, cool, muted colors. That means that in a large room, you can go for those dark red walls! In a smaller room, a cool yellow might be just the right color! (And I am going on the record as saying - NO room deserves fushia!)

4. Complex patterns in upholstery fabric, wallpaper, carpeting    or rugs seem heavier than plain solid colors. So stick with simple patterns and solid colors in small rooms. In large one, anything goes! (Except that flocked mod psychedelic retro pattern you've been thinking about!)

5. Opaque materials seem heavier than transparent ones. Glass tables will work wonderfully in small rooms, while wooden ones seem just right in a large room!

When you redesign your next room, be sure to keep in mind the visual weight of your design. It can make the world of difference in how your room "feels" to those who enter it. you think they have an Atkins diet for my husband's garage? We could certainly afford to lose a few tons! (Of HIS stuff, of course!)

Pamela Cole Harris has been a writer and decorator for thirty-five years (YIKES! Has it been that long?). She is the author of "Home and Garden Design Tips", a free weekly syndicated home and garden content service for your website. Get the code at . And while you are there, sign up for her monthly newsletter! And visit her other sites at and .  


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