I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a room feel “just right”. Like in the story of the Three Bears, not too much, not too little, but just right. Not perfect (is there such a thing?), but comfortable, calm, evoking pleasure and well being.
It’s not about modern vs traditional, or professional designer vs amateur/homeowner. It is about something more elusive, yet undeniably there.
I am still not sure what this is, but research tells us that there are some things that are universally perceived by humans as calming and pleasurable. I am continuing to do some research on this and have contacted Karen Schloss, PhD, who is in the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences at Brown University and is an expert in this area and two interior designers who have written about the link between interiors and well-being, Dylan Kendall and Victoria Price.
Although there are cultural differences that heavily influence design preferences, there are also “universal” concepts that are perceived of as pleasing in very diverse cultures. Symmetry is one of them.
This is a complex issue — what is taste, what is culturally determined, what is idiosyncratic, what is universal? In the meantime, here are some examples of what I think are Too Much, Too Little and Just Right.