Balance: Negative Space

In photography, negative space is the area that amplifies the positive space, which is the subject or focal point in a picture. This space is frequently in the background where nothing exists. When we first look at a photograph, negative space is not always the focal point because it makes the subject stand out. And while we call it “negative space”, its effects are positive as it brings balance to photography. This space exists in life too.

Just as negative space is important in photography and art, it is important in life.

Our Homes

This past weekend, I took time to fully organize my home. I made sure that I had places in each room that weren’t covered by a piece of furniture, a piece of artwork, a book, or accessories on my bookshelves. The negative space that I created, though lacking objects, is just as important as the material things. Without the extra pieces cluttering my positive space, it frees my mind while I am in my home. It creates a balance with objects and space so that it does not overwhelm me. You can find tips on creating negative space in your home with websites such as with Apartment Therapy.


Negative space can be beneficial in our personal relationships, particularly romantic relationships. In the beginning of a romantic relationship, you may want to spend every Friday night with that special person. You may find it easy to spend every moment together, but it is just as important to have time that you spend without that person. This not only helps you and your significant others stay in tune with oneself but it allows you to have a more clear and open mindset in the relationship. Having space without that person, whether it is a hobby, individual friend groups, or simply your own self-care day, helps one to preserve their individuality. Being strong individuals separately can help you become an even stronger couple. This can apply to non-romantic relationships, like friendships, family, or anyone else you interact with on a regular basis.


With technology, our minds are constantly engaged. We go to work and more than likely use a computer. During our breaks, we get up from our desks, to do what? To pull out our phones and check social media. Then, we come home, just to watch tv. We fill our calendars so that every minute is full, leaving us with just enough time to sleep. I’ve learned to take time to enjoy the negative space in my life. I do this through intentional “unproductive” time. This includes moments of meditation but also moments where I can sit and watch the sunset or listen to the wind blow through the trees. During this time, I can feel my body begin to destress and my mind is no longer running a mile a minute. Creating intentional negative space in my calendar adds balance to help boost my productivity during the rest of my hectic schedule.

If you strive for balance, look for places in your life where you can add negative space.


*Photo taken by Alexis Amos. Edited by Chantal Johnson.

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