Elements Of Design In Party Decor - Balance

My elements of design in party decor post generated lots of buzz; I also received several emails for more in-depth ideas about why these ideas 'work'. By no means am I an expert with years of design under my belt.  But as you work on more events, you start getting 'the eye'...something doesn't look right, something's missing...and you'll keep playing around until you get what feels right to you.

Thus, I'm inspired to do a mini series using all eight principals of design (check out the post to see what I'm talking about) and today we'll start with balance. 

all black/yellow sketch photos from Blue Moon Original Oil Paintings

Imagine you are looking at a see-saw.  Two objects that are the same weight will balance the see saw.  One large object will balance with smaller objects. And in the middle is every combo you can think of; one larger object balances with a middle and a small object, two large objects on each side, etc. 

Balance is about the illusion of balance and there are three types; horizontal, vertical and radial.

My Santa's Mustache Bash has horizontal balance...draw an imaginary  line down the middle of the cupcakes and you can clearly see the mod tree boxes, poms and white platter mirror each other.

But balance isn't just about having the exact same items, that would get boring fast. It's about the placement of the other items that are similar sized to each other.  The martini glasses and egg nog shooters are on the opposite sides of the table; the party favor boxes are balanced out with the plates and silverware.  It is a symmetrical balance.

Another example of horizontal balance that illustrates more of an asymmetrical balance is my Cocktail + Cupcakes table.  The bulky present boxes are balanced out with smaller paper starbursts along the wall. Your eyes see a large object and lots of smaller objects as visually balanced.

This lovely rustic bridal shower table featured on The Hostess Blog also demonstrates asymmetrical balance; the shutter balances out with the smaller drawers and negative space above it. Asymmetrical balance is more visually pleasing than symmetrical, it's keeps your eyes busy. But it does take a little more work to achieve the correct harmony since there are unlimited arrangements.

My Rockin' New Year's Eve table shows vertical balance; the table setting below is balanced out by the patterned paper and large starbursts above.

Many dessert tables show this balance of a patterned backdrop  with a neutral table.  Patterns can be very overpowering, so this is a popular way of balancing that.

Amy Atlas does it well with her space party; notice how the busy background with the dessert board, banner and hanging elements balance well with the simple tabletop. It doesn't feel cluttered.  So the key, do one or the other, not both.  Busy tabletop, simple background and vice versa.

Elements that are distributed around the center point show radial balance, and is most obvious with round tables like this drink station from Evantine Design. Notice the high flower centerpiece balances well with the smaller elements that surround it.

Radial balance also comes from balance along a center line, like this gorgeous navy table from Style Me Pretty. Notice how your eyes are first drawn to the tablecloth then works it's way out to the chairs.

Tune in next time for emphasis...

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