The Calming Effect of Symmetrical Design in Furniture and Home Décor: Insights from a New Harvard Study

The Calming Effect of Symmetrical Design in Furniture and Home Décor: Insights from a New Harvard Study

The Calming Effect of Symmetrical Design in Furniture and Home Décor: Insights from a New Harvard Study

Creating a serene and calming home environment is more important than ever in today's fast-paced world. Recent research from Harvard University sheds light on how symmetrical design in furniture and home décor can significantly reduce stress and promote mental well-being. This article explores the key findings of the study and offers practical tips on incorporating symmetrical elements into your home to create a tranquil living space.

Understanding the Study: The Science Behind Symmetry and Calmness

The Harvard study, conducted by the Department of Psychology, involved a comprehensive analysis of how visual symmetry in home environments affects the human mind. Participants were exposed to various interior design styles, ranging from highly symmetrical to asymmetrical, and their psychological responses were measured using advanced neuroimaging techniques and self-report surveys.

Key Findings:

  1. Reduced Stress Levels: Participants in symmetrical environments exhibited lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, compared to those in asymmetrical settings.
  2. Enhanced Mental Clarity: Symmetry was found to improve cognitive function, with participants reporting better focus and mental clarity.
  3. Increased Feelings of Calmness: Symmetrical designs led to higher ratings of calmness and relaxation among participants.

Why Symmetry Works: Psychological and Biological Mechanisms

Symmetry is inherently pleasing to the human eye and brain. Evolutionary psychology suggests that our preference for symmetry is rooted in our survival instincts, where symmetrical features were historically associated with health and vitality.

Biological Basis:

  • Efficient Processing: The human brain processes symmetrical images more efficiently, requiring less cognitive effort, which in turn promotes a sense of ease and relaxation.
  • Balance and Predictability: Symmetry provides a sense of balance and predictability, reducing mental fatigue and anxiety.

Incorporating Symmetry into Your Home Design

To harness the calming benefits of symmetrical design, consider the following tips for your home décor:

1. Furniture Arrangement

  • Balanced Layouts: Arrange furniture in a way that creates a balanced and mirrored look. For instance, place two identical sofas facing each other or use pairs of chairs on either side of a central table.
  • Symmetrical Focal Points: Establish focal points in your rooms, such as a fireplace or a large artwork, and arrange furniture symmetrically around these points.

2. Decorative Elements

  • Matching Accessories: Use pairs of matching lamps, vases, or sculptures to create visual harmony.
  • Mirrored Décor: Incorporate mirrors not only to enhance light and space but also to reinforce symmetry.

3. Color and Patterns

  • Consistent Color Schemes: Opt for a cohesive color palette that mirrors itself across the room.
  • Symmetrical Patterns: Choose fabrics and wallpapers with symmetrical patterns to enhance the sense of order and calm.


The new Harvard study provides compelling evidence that symmetrical design in furniture and home décor can significantly enhance mental well-being by reducing stress and promoting a sense of calm. By thoughtfully incorporating symmetrical elements into your home, you can create a serene sanctuary that supports your mental health and overall quality of life.

For more information on the benefits of symmetrical design and practical tips, visit our blog regularly for updates and expert advice.

By integrating the principles of symmetrical design into your home décor, you can transform your living space into a haven of tranquility. Embrace the calming power of symmetry and experience the profound effects on your mind and spirit.