November 1, 2017

Visual Weight in Design

The visual weight of an item is determined by its size, colour, and pattern. Simply put, the more significant its size, the more substantial it’s visual weight. The louder the colour, the more significant it’s visual weight. In the design world, a vast dark tapestry can “weigh” as much as a tone-filled bookcase. The more visible weight something has, the more it engages your eye.

Controlling the combination of these features is how you manage visual weight. Red tends to attract the eye more than blue, and more abundant elements draw the eye more than smaller ones. A large red object carries more visual weight than a little blue object.

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Here are a few tips to help manage your visual weight when designing your space.


  • Add visual weight. When a room or wall feels off balance, these tactics can add weight to the light spots.
  • Paint the wall darker. Dark colours weigh more visually than light colours.

  • Cover the wall with texture such as drapery, tapestry, stone, brick or wood. Textured elements appear heavier than non-textured objects. The texture makes an aspect appear three-dimensional, which gives the appearance of mass and physical weight.
  • Try a sculpture or tree. Items with irregular edges hold the eye more (and are visually heavier) than objects with straight lines.

  • Repeat what you’re working to offset. If you have a table and lamp on one side of a bed or sofa, put a table and light on the opposite side. Hint: If you have matching tables, have matching lamps. If your tables don’t match, the lamps shouldn’t match either.

About the author:

Golnaz Gorjestani graduated from BCIT ‘s Interior Design Program. Her backgrounds include Architecture, Painting, and Remodeling. She worked as an architectural technologist and interior designer on a wide range of residential and commercial projects.

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