Bluewater Interiors Designs by Roxanne

bluewater interiors blog

stock image of sofa

For those of you who know me, (or think you kinda know me through my blogs, FB, IG…well take care, because that is my true self!), being negative is not something I am. But I gotta say, incorporating some negative into your home is a good thing. Negative space, that is.

So what is negative space? Basically it is the space between things; it is the boundary space around a group of items and it creates balance in a design. It is the opposite of positive space which are the ‘things’.  Good design balances positive and negative space.

In my last blog I talked about modern country farmhouse style in its extreme. In my opinion, it is cluttered, over the top, too kitschy….and it allows for no negative space. None at all. Every space is filled up. And that is why I don’t like this style in its extreme. There is no where to relax your eyes, no where for your eyes to settle; no negative space. On the other extreme is the minimalist style which goes waaaaaaay overboard on negative space.

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Is this kitchen too bare? (source: unknown)

So how do you create a balance between positive and negative space? Here are a few suggestions:

Group Items

Create groupings of items, separate from one another. Allow the items to be a mini-design all on their own. Anything around it shouldn’t detract from it; it should add to it (either in colour, shape, etc).

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The arrangement on the left is a design in itself. Don't crowd a lot of items together. Let them breathe! (source: HouseOfHipstersBlog)

Pattern: Bring it!

Bring pattern into a room through wall paper, wall stencils, a rug, floor tiles, or fabric. Think of solid colour pillow as only having positive space; a patterned pillow has both positive and negative space. Having both creates balance to visual space.

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The solid bed clothes (positive space) is balanced by the beautiful wall paper. (source: unknown)

Oh Holy Furniture

Select furniture with negative space….ahem, ones with ‘holes’ in them. Not all items in your living room need to be puffy full furniture; select a few chairs with open backs, sofas with tall legs, or a glass coffee table.

stock image chair and side table.

Holy furniture opens up a space and balances more ‘full’ furniture. (Source: Check it out on Madison Park Kailee Barrel Accent Chair)


Architecturally Speaking

Allow architectural details speak for themselves while surrounded by negative space. The silhouette of a staircase can serve as a design element. Resist the urge to fill the stairwell with pictures and let your staircase shine. The arched entrance to a room can also stand alone, sans décor on either side; you could simply paint the wall around it an accent colour.

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See how these stairs and doorway just stand on their own? Avoid the urge to fill up every space. (Sources: Staircase SteelStudio; Arched doorway unknown)


Look around your home right now…pick out the negative space. Do you need more? Do you need less? Go ahead, play around with your stuff. 

As always, if you need help drop me a message or join Design + Decor, my community group on Facebook, and post a question.



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Hi, I am Roxanne

Interior Decorator + Designer

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