Symmetry is often high on my clients’ wish list, such as when:

  • positioning a bed or sofa in the centre of the wall,
  • arranging windows on their home’s facade in a symmetric pattern,
  • or placing chairs evenly around a room. 

On the other hand, there are people who prefer more random arrangements – some irregular elements in the placements of furniture, windows, chairs or objects. 

I personally like the use of asymmetric elements, to the degree that it can jolt the mind and bring in an element of surprise, without overdoing it of course.

 

The Why and Why-Not of Symmetry

Personal preferences aside, there are Feng Shui principles that help us dig deeper into the effects of symmetry. So, here are some pointers to when to use symmetry to support your space and when not: 

 

Symmetry 

Symmetric features are stable and balanced. As they can be mirrored, ie divided into two identical halves, symmetry is associated with even numbers.

In Feng Shui even numbers are Yin.

Yin is the passive principle. Its focus is inward and yielding. It is stable, unmoving and related to stillness, rest, relaxation, nurturing, protection and sleep. 

As our buildings provide shelter, safety and protection symmetry is important. Symmetry does not rock the boat. Yin qualities are particularly important in bedrooms, cosy corners or comfortable seats in a lounge space.

 

Asymmetry

Asymmetry is dynamic. It cannot be mirrored. Hence, it is associated with the uneven numbers or odd things.

In Feng Shui, uneven numbers are Yang.

Yang is the active principle. It is associated with movement and outward focus. It energises activities, work, success and putting ourselves out there.

Asymmetry can jolt our consciousness and keep us on the ball. It does not allow the mind to settle but moves it into the unknown.

Yang qualities are essential in work spaces, family rooms, active areas and in spaces where we want to make things happen. They provide energy and life force. It is three or five objects, off centre irregular placement of furniture or picture, etc. 

Too Much Symmetry?

Symmetry, in my opinion, can be overdone. Our lives are active and dynamic. Symmetric features lack dynamism and can be predictable and boring – particularly in spaces that should be productive and active. 

With too much symmetry, spaces can become too Yin. They can be lacking life force.

 

Too Much Asymmetry?

Asymmetry can become too much. A lot of it can make a space unpredictable and unsettling. It can disperse energy, particularly in spaces where we want to be able to focus. 

Too much asymmetry can make a space too Yang and thus lack support and wellbeing.

 

It’s all about Balance

‘It depends’ is how my Feng Shui Master J. Yu would answer any question.

Whether to use symmetry or not depends on usage, the environment, and also the existent energies in a space. For example:

We have moved a client’s bed away from the centre of the wall so we could get the person’s head into an area where there was healthy energy behind them and away from energy associated with sickness – although it looked good in the centre. 

So, it always depends. Using the best available energies in a room is always most important! Then it does not just look good but also feel right. 

Symmetry at all cost can reduce life energy, and asymmetry overdone can disperse it and be confusing. It is personal and worth experimenting with. A bed with two bedside tables provides symmetry. Whether it is best placed in the centre of the wall, well ‘it depends’ on many other things.

 

Inspirations

I once saw a picture of square stepping stones in a Japanese garden that were arranged in a regular diagonal checkerboard pattern. Very predictable and stable. Yet, in some spaces (where you’d have expected to be one) a stone was missing here and there. Not many, just a stone here and there where you’d expect one to be there. 

This simple feature was very effective in jolting my mind into being alert and present to the moment.

I unfortunately could not find that image anymore, but here are some pictures of symmetry/asymmetry in stepping stones that serve to make my point. 

You have to be alert and on the ball to get across the stones above.

These ones are ‘safer’ – you can be thinking about other things and still get across.

 

Symmetry is another element to play with in making a space right. Ultimately, for balance and harmony, physical features and intangible energies should be harmonised.

Brigitte Seum, 0403 366 100.

 

Images: Mateo Fernandez, Content Pixie, Ronin-jsgKbIounRw & Peter Campbell-Smith on unsplash

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