Eastcoastdesigns's Blog

Boston area, interior designer, Diana James shares ideas, style trends and her inspirations for improving the world one room at a time.

The Power of Negative Space October 4, 2010

New England Home

Robin Grassi revels in simplicity

Think of the negative space on your walls, in your room, on a table as breathing room for your “stuff”. The eye needs to rest. As is the case in music, the ear needs a pause so that the melody can be heard and appreciated.

People love to collect stuff and I am guilty as charged. I absolutely love collecting and displaying photographs of my family and friends in beautiful frames grouped together on every flat surface that my tiny beach front bungalow will allow. If given free rein, my home would be over run with a documentary of photographs displayed from every notable event I’ve ever attended and each of the precious milestones of my children’s lives.  Needless to say, there is only so much space to be had and displaying only the most important pieces of any collection requires restraint.  Which I freely admit can be a painful exercise, but also well worth the energy.

Clutter Bugs and Pack Rats take note: here are a few basic elements to help stay focused on the importance of maintaining negative space, giving your beloved objects d’art the breathing space they crave and deserve.

1. “Opposites Attract” Dark frames against a white wall will make art pop. Opposite colors on the color wheel create energy and contrast. The white spaces in between the dark frames is a resting place for the eye and highlights the significance of each piece.

2. “Slightly Askew” A grouping of objects placed slightly off-center, encourages the eye to travel to the objects,  anticipating what is to come. Think Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and how the 4 beat pauses in between suspend the  “Ta, da, ta, da’s”  making the melody dynamic, instead of listening to the constant beat of a drum roll.

3. “Star Quality”  Let the drama queens of your collection shine. When an accessory, piece of furniture or art evoke lively conversation or the piece is so stunning that you can’t keep your eyes off of it, pull that star into the limelight and give it room to stretch beyond its boundary.  Let your most important pieces take center stage.