Life is rarely tranquil, so it’s wonderful when our spaces can be. Not every room can be a spa-level sanctuary, but it can have balance: a sense of design harmony that makes you feel calm and settled instead of chaotic and off-kilter. (Our schedules do a good enough job of that, thankyouverymuch.)
Designer Tiffany Brooks, founder of Tiffany Brooks Interiors and HGTV regular, is a pro at creating rooms that are the style equivalent of a satisfying sigh — think simple lines, minimalist color palettes, and warm lighting. Tell us you don’t want to soak in this tub:
“Our homes have filled so many roles for us in the past year: home, office, gym, daycare,” Tiffany says. “The scales have tipped more toward function than tranquility. Rethinking color, form, and visual weight in the products we use and how rooms are arranged can restore that balance.”
At our 2021 Small/Cool Experience, a live three-day Instagram event featuring some of our favorite designers and the latest design trends, Tiffany sat down with Apartment Therapy founder and CEO Maxwell Ryan to talk about harmony and balance in design. Genesis, the official auto sponsor of this year’s event, understands that the best designs marry function with a sense of tranquility. The most important thing about a space, after all, is how it makes you feel.
We asked Tiffany about how to achieve harmony and balance in our spaces — and she told us why it’s okay to break some design rules in the process.
How do you think about creating balance as a designer?
Balance is achieved visually in interior design: Just as we have items that “look heavy” or “look light,” designers use that principle to achieve balance. I often say that color is the strongest tool a designer has, and it directly relates to being balanced and tranquil. The last part is the addition of function: With those elements achieved, you could intentionally create the perfect environment.
What are some affordable ways to create a sense of balance in your home?
Paint! Select a color scheme based on the pieces you love in your home. I suggest a neutral contrast to your larger upholstery pieces. Rethink your floor plan: Use furniture arrangements to create visual balance in rooms. You can also use art, sculptures, and trees.
What are your favorite unexpected ways to create balance?
I love to play with the placement and scale of art and other items. For instance, maybe the TV is the focal point, and you have art on one side of the TV and then something of equal visual weight on the other. Another trick I love is to paint the kitchen cabinets the same color and sheen as the walls. That seamless color creates tranquility and balance. Remember: the fewer visual interruptions the better.
How is white space related to tranquility?
White space is related to being calm; it adds a relaxing point to a space to create balance. Whites are vastly different. I find warm whites soothing, restful, and related to luxury and tradition. Cooler whites feel modern, fresh, and vibrant.
Do you break any design rules when it comes to balance?
Gigantic, disproportionate art over a bed is one of my favorite simple ways to break the rules.