Negative Space – How to find the right balance between positive and negative space in Interior design

Livingroom working with a great balance between positive and negative space

Our weekly article series that will hopefully enable you to improve your personal design at home is leading you to the first element of design today. The topic of this week’s Interior Design Saturday is space as an element of design.

In general, any area within walls that form the outline of a volume that is habitable is referred to as space in connection with Interior Design. While this is only a small part of the space that is everywhere, the space of our interest is condensed in the room. Nevertheless, it is important to look a little bit beyond the borders of the room, to incorporate the space of a room as a part of a floor plan and maybe even as a component of the area that is surrounding it. To have a focus point when explaining space in Interior Design, it is easier to centre the attention on the three-dimensional area that the designer is working with. So for now it might be helpful to consider it this way when thinking about planning, rearranging or decorating a room: the designer is you and the space you area working with is the room itself.

Thinking about this definition it is obvious, that there are a lot of different spaces to work with, just as they are a milliard of different rooms. As a designer it is important to adjust the design to size and general conditions of the room. The room is defined by architectural elements that have been constructed with the building itself, but also by other elements that have been added to it on a later stage. To differentiate these two it is best to think of an example. A balcony would be an element that is built in and thus forms space that cannot be changed easily. The variable aspects of the room are formed by the furniture and other objects placed in the existing room. The space of the room that is not filled by architectural features or ones that have been added on a later stage is called circulation space or negative space. The “filled” space on the other hand is referred to as positive space. It is very important to keep a balance between the two of them. While most people centre their attention on positive space, it is equal as important to look at the space between and around objects. A designer is also an artist and just as commonly as positive and negative space is used in paintings and other artwork, it should be used in Interior Design. The “perfect” balance between these two differs from person to person and you should not hesitate to experiment a little with some objects to find out what you prefer. Some people like it best if there is a lot of negative space to give a room an airy feeling. Others love to fill almost every open space with something so they do not feel lost but rather protected and lovingly surrounded by their belongings.

Despite all the great possibilities, there might be things that limit your creativity. In a very small room you might find yourself unable to realize the balance that makes you feel the most comfortable. But do not despair, there are a lot of things you can do when there is not enough space. In general, it is important that think of the objects you are going to place inside the room very carefully. Consider that they may have to be smaller and fewer in number to get enough negative space. Other pieces might need to serve several functions. Inventive minds have come up with tons of ways to optimally use small spaces and with necessity being the mother of invention; you never know what you are able to come up with. Feel free to share any of those ideas with us.

Thank you, for reading our article today. Next week’s feature is going to teach you more about Lines.

photo: flickr/Gambar Rumah + Desain Interior ANNAHAPE GALLERY

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