Many of the homeowners I visit prefer a clean, understandable furniture layout that is peaceful + orderly. They have taken great pains in their furniture and color selection to achieve harmony + balance, only to find that "something" is missing.
The homeowner's uncertainty as to what is wrong is often times pinned on "artwork". Wall treatments, paint colors and drapery then come into question. Confusion quickly sets in and decorating becomes frustrating.
A well-trained eye can find the problem. But many times it's not one element, but instead, the collaboration of how the individual pieces work, or don't work, together. The scale of say, a bulky chair, can throw off "the look". Sometimes it is the height of end tables or lamps.
One way to create harmony is by creating surprise. Try arranging elements in configurations that are orderly, but not so predictable. Try an angle for that "odd" chair. Turn the sofa or rug on a gentle angle. Step back and look, look again and see how an element that is not so straight can make your room look "straight".
2004 Mindy Greenberg, Allied Member ASID