We all know a well-decorated room when we walk into one. It just feels complete. But how did it get that way? It’s all about placement and filling in the space you have. “An easy thing to think about if you’re trying to balance a room is to remember that the room is four-dimensional,” Jennifer Larsen, a Chicago-based interior designer, explains. Play to each dimension: length, width, height and everything in between—essentially the “negative” area in which you sit, relax and move around. “Your eye will read everything in view, and the more satisfied your eye is, the better you’ll feel in that space.”
With this in mind, there should be something going on at each level of the room—from floor to ceiling—to create visual interest and complexity.
Since the couch will be the first thing you’ll place because it’s the largest item, the initial site line established in the room will be based on its height, which is usually about 34 inches. That’s pretty low on the wall, so simply balance it with something higher. “If you have a couch with a console table behind it right against the wall, to define the space, put a series of photos centered on the wall somehow in relation to the couch,” Jennifer suggests. Or hang a large painting in lieu of the photos. Either way, this will give the eye an additional push up.
Other ways to fill in space above the sofa site line: Position vases on side tables or even on the floor (use tall urns here) filled with cattails or other vertically inspired plants and shrubbery. For the upper registers, obviously, you aren’t literally going to furnish your ceiling. But when you think about this overhead space, consider your lighting, whether it’s a chandelier or downlights—or both. Not only are you filling this space with eye candy, you’re adding dimension below with shadows and illumination. To top it all off, you actually want to work underfoot and anchor the whole arrangement with an area rug. The perimeter of the rug should extend several inches from the furniture to create a true sense of place.