Month: September 2013

Creating Informal Balance

We all know that balance is important when riding a bike, or walking, or just about any physical activity for that matter.  But did you know that balance is also an important element in decorating your home?  Without even realizing it, we look for – and expect – balance in the world around us.  If you’ve ever walked into a space and just felt that something was “off” it could be that the room was out of balance.

Tidbits&Twine Informal Balance Nightstands
{via The French House}


In interior design, there are three ways to achieve balance: symmetrical (formal) balance, asymmetrical (informal) balance, and radial balance.  My personal favorite of these three is informal balance because it creates equilibrium while using different elements, which to me, creates a more interesting space.


Informal balance is created by things that feel alike but don’t look alike


To create asymmetrical balance, you need to take into account the visual weight of various objects in order to decide whether they can balance one another.  The visual weight of an object is affected by its color, texture, size, and shape.  You can apply informal balance in your home in large spaces, such as through furniture arrangement, or in small vignettes, like on buffets, mantels and bookcases.  Informal balance even applies to wall galleries!

Here, informal balance is achieved in the room through the placement of two chairs opposite one large sofa.

Tidbits&Twine Informal Balanced Living Room
{via House Beautiful}



In the photo below, the beverage dispenser on the right is bigger than the cloche on the left, but the pumpkins under the cloche add visual weight, thus balancing the two sides.

Tidbits&Twine Fall Tablescape 12a


Here, the sides of this bookcase are not identical, but the weight, color and texture feels balanced.

Tidbits&Twine Informal Balanced Bookcase
{via Pinterest}


Even this wall gallery feels balanced despite the fact that no two images – or frames – are alike.

Tidbits & Twine Gallery Wall Organic
{via Pinterest}


Why is it important to learn how to create informal balance?  Well sometimes, it might be that you want to create this look, but other times, it might be a look you use based on necessity.  For example, what if you only have one table lamp and want to use it on the side of the sofa but the other side feels empty?  Or if you have two hurricane candle holders flanking your mantel but then accidentally break one (which I did this weekend!)?  Even if you only have one item – not a pair – you can still find a way to use it so long as you can find another object whose visual weight can balance it.


Here are some other photos of asymmetrical balance.  Can you spot the differences?

Tidbits&Twine Buffet

Visual Balance in Bedroom Tidbits&Twine
{via Houzz}
Tidbits&Twine Informal Balanced Mantel
{via For The Love of a House}
Tidbits&Twine Informal Balanced Dining Room
{via Horchow}
Tidbits&Twine Informal Balanced Trophy Display
{via Pinterest}


There are certain rooms in my home that I prefer symmetrical balance, such as in my living room, which has a more formal feel, but otherwise, I find informal balance much more interesting.  It’s not something that has a formula, nor is it something that necessarily looks balanced, but rather something that has to be worked at to decide if it feels balanced.

Tidbits&Twine - Signature









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Finding a Fiddle Leaf Fig

While pinning away on Pinterest, I’ve come to realize that many of the living spaces that I like have one thing in common – a gorgeous, lush tall plant in the corner!  And more often than not, that plant is a Fiddle Leaf Fig (also known as a ficus lyrata).   Just look at how beautifully these trees frame the window and fill in the empty corners!

Tidbits&Twine Fiddle Leaf Fig
{via Pinterest}


I have been on the hunt for an {inexpensive} Fiddle Leaf Fig tree for some time now with no luck.  It’s not that I can’t find one, it’s that I can’t find one for less than $200!  Yes, I know I could get a small one at my local home improvement store, train it from a multi-trunk shrub into a tree and wait for it to grow, but patience is not exactly my nature (working on that!).  Instead, the search continues.  But if you have a good source, please let me know!

In the meantime, I’ll share with you why I love Fiddle Leaf Figs.  I am completely in love with the deep green, glossy color of the leaves.  They help transform an empty corner into a lush space!

Tidbits&Twine Office Fiddle Leaf Fig
{via Houzz}
Tidbits&Twine Corner Fiddle Leaf Fig
{via Pinterest}


I also love that they can grow to be quite tall if you let them.  In the photo below, the Fiddle Leaf Fig helps to balance out the height of the furniture across from it, but doesn’t add the weight or bulk that a piece of furniture would add.

Tidbits&Twine Fiddle Leaf Fig Entryway

Tidbits&Twine Large Fiddle Leaf Fig
{via Emily Henderson}


The large size of the leaves also keeps the plant from looking to busy, as can happen with other large houseplants that have small leaves.

Tidbits&Twine Betsy-Burnham-bathroom-with Fiddle Leaf Fig
{via Small Shop}
Fiddle Leaf Fig Foyer
{via Pinterest}


I also consider the fiddle leaf fig to be a decorating neutral.  By this I mean that it is a plant that works well with any decorating style, so regardless how your taste changes over time, you can always make it work in your home.

Tidbits&Twine Fiddle Leaf Fig Basket
{via Houzz}
Tidbits&Twine Modern Fiddle Leaf Fig
{via Emily McCall}
Tidbits&Twine Contemporary Fiddle Leaf Fig
{via Houzz}
Tidbits&Twine Bright Fiddle Leaf Fig
{via Houzz}



To date, I’ve owned three smaller ones and have managed to kill one because I didn’t have it in a place with enough light.  (As it turns out, they need ample light.)  I’ve considered the idea of buying a fake tree and was thrilled when Pottery Barn recently came out with one, but after seeing it in person, I decided it doesn’t quite capture the look of a real tree.  So my search continues….


If you know of a good online source, please let me know!


Tidbits&Twine - Signature




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10 Tips for Creating a Collected Gallery Wall

A little while back, my husband decided to hang our TV on the wall.  At the time, we had objects covering the cords so we chose not to hide the cords in the wall, making the installation a little easier for ourselves my husband (who am I kidding…my job was to stand on the other side of the room to decide if I liked the placement!).  Now, of course, the cords are hanging down and there’s just blank wall framing our TV, so I’m not thrilled with the look.  Do you see a project in my future?!


 Creating a Collected Gallery Wall


The other week while shopping at HomeGoods, I came across a few pieces of art that I fell in love with and suddenly, I had a vision for surrounding our TV with art in order to better disguise it….well, at least to better incorporate it onto the wall.

Now that I have a few pieces of art, I’m anxious to start the project, but can’t because with the type of gallery wall that I want to create, I really need to have all of the pieces so that I can lay it out properly.  As I’ve learned, even though wall galleries sometimes look haphazard and random, they are actually carefully crafted so that there is a visual balance in terms of both weight and color.

I’ve always loved the looks of gallery walls because they add so much visual interest to a space.  There are many different types of gallery walls.  Some are symmetrical and structured with matching frames, and assuming you have the wall space, you can add to them over time by just continuing to expand the shape.

Pottery Barn Symmetrical Gallery Wall
{via Pottery Barn}


Sometimes, they take on an organic shape with a mix of frames…

Tidbits & Twine Gallery Wall Organic
{via Pinterest}


…and other times, there is a mix of frames but an organized shape.

Tidbits & Twine Gallery Wall Rectangle
{via P.S. I Love This}


And this amazing gallery wall takes up the entire wall and becomes the focal point of the room!

Tidbits & Twine Black Frame Gallery Wall
{via The Painted Hive}


But the look that I’m going for is a collected look, like this example from Pottery Barn, that has a common color scheme, but a mixture of prints and art, different frames, and other wall decor added to the mix.

Tidbits&Twine Collected Gallery Wall
{via Pottery Barn}


Here are some other examples of collected gallery walls that I love…

Pottery Barn Collected Gallery Wall
{via Pottery Barn}
Tidbits&Twine Collected Gallery Wall 3
{via Pinterest}
Tidbits&Twine Collected Gallery Wall Striped
{via Nesting Place}
{source unknown}
{via Natasha Louis King}


A collected gallery wall is a little of this and a little of that but with lots of meaning


As I’m looking for the remaining pieces to create my gallery wall, my hope is that I can find pieces that are meaningful to my family.  My husband’s hobby is astrophotography and I’d love to include some of his images.  I’m also looking at ways that I can frame my grandmother’s gloves from when she was a baby.  Aren’t they cute?!

Tidbits&Twine Vintage Gloves



Tips & Tidbits

Here are some helpful tips for creating a gallery wall:

1. If the gallery wall is visible from the side angle, look for pieces that are relatively similar in terms of depth so that one doesn’t stick out further than the others.

2. Try to incorporate only pieces you love because it will make the entire gallery more meaningful to you.

3. If you want a more formal display, use matching frames and hang them symmetrically.  For a more casual look, try different frames in different sizes with an organic shape.

4. Unless you are going for an eclectic look, your pieces need to have at least one thing in common with each other so that the grouping feels cohesive.  So even if you use different frames, keep everything within a particular color palette.  Also ensure that you have some repeating sizes (see below).

5. Again, unless you want to create an eclectic look, ensure that there is some uniformity among the frames so that your eye can detect a pattern.  You can use different frames, but stick to 2-3 sizes and make sure that you have more than one of each size so that there is some repetition.

6. Get creative!  With a collected look, you can mix and match wall decor, so in addition to framed prints or photos, think about mirrors, wooden letters, clocks, signs, even jewelry or vinyl sayings!

7. When creating an organic shape on your gallery wall, ensure that you maintain a weight balance left to right and top to bottom.

8. Visually, the middle of the wall isn’t always the best place to start!  Instead, think about the Rule of Thirds as defined in photography, and imagine a grid on your wall.  I’m still learning the art of photography and am not an expert, but there is a good explanation of the Rule of Thirds located here.

9. Hanging Help:  I came across this handy idea from 320 Sycamore for laying out and hanging a gallery wall using paper templates so that you can move them around until you get them positioned just how you want!  See the full details {here}.

320 Sycamore Frame Layout

10. Layout Help: I also came across this great visual on Pinterest that shows many different ways to lay out a gallery wall if you’re too intimidated to try without first having a plan in mind.

Wall Gallery Visual




I’ll be heading to the antique faire in a couple of weeks and I’m hoping to find the last few pieces for my wall.  I’ll keep you posted!  And if anyone has suggestions for how to frame my grandma’s gloves – other than using a shadow box, which is too deep for my space – please let me know!


Tidbits&Twine - Signature




**UPDATE: I found everything I was looking for and finished my gallery wall!  You can see how it turned out here.




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