Asymmetry can make a space unique and provocative. But having things visually aligned not only makes it easier for you to design your space, it also helps define it.

So, how do you make things line up? Shelving is an easy and versatile way, especially on blank walls, where aligning things helps create a sense of intimacy.


This master bedroom had a long, vacant wall with a TV hanging on it. I was going for a modern look, so instead of bringing in the expected entertainment unit, I decided to create the illusion of one — just with the use of lines.


Instead of the symmetry of the low table with shelving on both sides of the TV, I wanted an off-center effect. So I lined up the longest floating shelf with the edge of the TV and stacked the shorter shelves above it. Each side lines up with something — except, of course, the beautiful glass and metal table — which also gave me the opportunity to add a needed vertical element, the mercury glass vase and sticks.

Voila! The arrangement fills a wall, adds a focal point and makes sense because every line has a purpose.


Now, this 8-year-old boy’s bedroom also had a long vacant wall — a perfect place for a reading zone. Using a blue beanbag chair as a starting point, I brought in two horizontal stripes in blue and green, adding interest. But the short beanbag chair still felt lost, so I decided to line things up.

We painted the top two floating shelves the same color as the stripes, giving them a cool disappearing effect, but they also line up on the right. The corkboard adds another line that closes off the space.


All the lines create visual interest while providing functionality at the same time. So, you may like the look of asymmetrical design, but you may like it even better if your vertical and horizontal lines have a rhyme and reason.


Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, and president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her workshops have taught more than 2,000 people the basics of DIY designer style, and her redesigns of residential and business spaces have been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. For more info and inspiring photos of design projects, visit