Selling? Style any room with these six key rules

Some rooms simply look more ‘pulled together’ than others, and that is almost always down to the use of design principles that create a feeling of harmony and balance. Understand these six rules and you’ll see the difference. Read on to find out how to use them to update your Northern Beaches home, particularly if you are selling and getting ready for photographs to be taken.

How to style a room in six easy steps

The six principles of design and styling are scale, focus, balance, harmony, rhythm and contrast. We’ll go through each and add some helpful suggestions; whether you’re simply doing a makeover or intend to sell.


At its core, scale is about choosing the right-sized pieces for any room. For example, a large sectional couch in a small living room will overwhelm it and make it look even smaller. For the same reason, you don’t want to add one small artwork to a large blank wall either.

Some common suggestions include adding an extra-large rug to a large living room (Sydney Rugs Online can help) and choosing a smaller sofa for a smaller space. IKEA has extremely affordable two-seater options that would be perfect.

Removing oversized furniture will also make a room look larger, so consider selling, donating or storing pieces that make a room look too crowded.


This is about drawing the eye to a single point of focus in every room. It aims to create a visual impact thanks to its size, colour or texture. Here are some common focal points:

  • A structural element like a fireplace or cathedral ceilings.
  • A statement piece, such as vibrant furniture or artwork.
  • Eye-catching lighting, like a chandelier (check out the unique options at The Block Shop).

Find your focus first and then build your room around it.


If you ever walk into a room and instantly feel like something’s wrong, it’s probably off-balanced. A well-balanced room looks and feels good and stable, while also being aesthetically pleasing. There are three main types of balance:

  1. Symmetrical: When everything’s centered and both sides mirror each other. You might find this in a bedroom (one bed with two side tables and matching lamps) or a formal dining room (one table with equal seats on each side).
  2. Asymmetrical: This means no mirror image, but you use different pieces with a similar visual weight to create balance. In a casual living room, this might be a sideboard and an armchair on opposite sides.
  3. Radial: When you create a circle around a central point, like a round dining table to encourage conversation. You can find many affordable options at Fantastic Furniture.


Harmony is a principle more based on emotion. It’s when all elements in a room (furniture, decor and colours included) work together to create a pleasant space. So if you’re going for a coastal vibe in your living room with calming blues and whites, don’t add a hot pink focal point. It will create the wrong kind of visual impact and interrupt the harmony.


Rhythm in interior design means leading your eye from one object to another, so each individual piece ties together in one story. An easy way to create rhythm is through repeating shapes, patterns, textures or colours. For example, a palm tree cushion to match a palm tree print.


Contrast is about using contrasting elements to soften a space or create an impact. For example, adding rounded furniture like a coffee table to a living room with square windows and a square fireplace. Another idea is to add statement art to a room with exclusive white furnishings.

As you can see, these are really simple, affordable and inspiring ideas that you can easily implement in your Northern Beaches home to give it a much-needed lift before Christmas – often by simple rearranging what you already have. They can also add value when selling your home. If you’re looking for a local real estate agent to help, give my team a call.

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