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Create a Warm & Inviting Home With Proper Design When decorating our homes, most of us know what we like but have no idea how to pull it all together. Homes are often beautiful because of the feeling that they invoke, not because of the amount of expensive artwork or designer upholstery that they possess. This is good news to those trying to decorate on a budget. Scale and proportion, two very common interior design terms, are what make a home or room warm and inviting. Both of these can be easily be accomplished by DIY decorators, and neither one costs a dime. Scale and proportion in interior design do refer to different things. “Scale” tends to refer to how an item relates to the size of the room or to something else – like you! For example, we’ve all seen someone who has crammed an overstuffed sofa into a small living room. Designers would say that the sofa is the wrong scale for the room. “Proportion” often refers to the shape of an item and how it relates to other things in the room. For example, if I have a square table but I place a rectangle dish in the middle of it, the dish probably won’t look right because it won’t be the correct proportion for the table. To avoid confusion, I’m going to use these terms the way most decorators do – interchangeably. Whether I’m referring to scale or proportion, just remember that its how design elements relate to each other in a space. Below are some tips for creating the correct scale and proportion in your room or home. Remember that these are general rules, and well, some rules are made to be broken. If you are new at decorating your home, follow the rules. More experienced decorators or those who “just have an eye for these things” may want to branch out a bit. Tips for Creating Scale & Proportion When Decorating
A larger room can handle furnishings and decor that are larger in scale. And vise versa. Thesmaller the room is, the more petite or delicate the furnishings and decor should be.
The main furnishing item in the room sets the stage for the scale of all the other furnishings. For example, an overstuffed sofa and a delicate side table may look silly next to each other.
The higher the ceiling, the taller and more imposing the furnishings pieces can be. Low ceilings beg for low furniture and decor. The one exception to this rule is using low, modernfurnishings in a room with tall ceilings to achieve a dramatic effect.
Remember to leave “white space” in a room. This is the space around and above furniture. A room rarely looks good when every square inch of it is filled. The eye needs room to rest in a space, so provide it by leaving some surfaces uncovered and some walls alone.
If the room is small, keep patterns to scale. Use smaller prints and less of them. A larger room can typically handle larger prints and more colors. If you have a small room but prefer a larger print, make sure it has lots of white space in it and use it sparingly.
Use repetitive patterns or colors. For example, if you have square-shaped wainscoting panels on your wall, choose a square coffee table and a square piece of to maintain the same proportions throughout the room. Just be careful not to overdo it. Take a good, long walk throughout the rooms of your home. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably doesn’t have the correct scale or proportion for the space. Rearrange it, remove it or replace it until you achieve the room – and the home – that you desire.
it’s a difficult thing to explain when objects in a room are in proportion – this is what we refer to as having “an eye for design”. the size of objects is compared to our own human scale. proportion relates to the general size of two objects without information regarding their actual sizes (or scales). One way to create emphasis in a space is to introduce oversized items in a way that is disproportionate for the space. You can see that the way we build our environment is based on the commonly known anthropometric data of human scale. for instance. there are so many interactions between all the elements of design and these interactions. human scale. As it can alter the way our spaces look and feel. In most cases designers aim to achieve proportion within the spaces they design. proportion is truly relative and requires the interior designer to understand the interactions between objects within a 3 dimensional space. our everyday activities would be more difficult. there are times when the design goals call for disproportion. Scale refers to the relationship between two or more objects. the widths of hallways allow for people to comfortably pass one another. For most designers. one that has a commonly known size. While scale is more absolute. getting proportion “right” all depends on the intent of the designer. as a whole. While the word scale implies the comparison of objects where the actual size of one object is known. For instance. chairs have been scaled to fit our bodies. There is no right or wrong when it comes to this application of proportion. have an effect on the feel of a space. It must be said that Interior design is complicated.Scale Without consideration of scale. Although understanding the ideas behind proportion and scale are important. however. In most cases. large pendant lights over a cash counter or boardroom table could call attention to that area. design requires an awareness of every element and principal (check back for future blog posts about the various principals of design). . Proportion Proportion is a word often used interchangeably with scale although there is one subtle difference between the two definitions. in particular. standardized heights have been created for countertops. We can find examples of this in our homes and workplaces.
light) and they can help you create the house of your dreams. colour. texture & pattern. shape & form.Design Basics Series: Proportion The principles of interior design are guidelines to the various ways you can arrange design elements (line. The principles of interior design are: Proportion Scale Balance Harmony Unity & variety Rhythm Emphasis Proportion .
a tiny picture on a large wall looks lost. or to the whole. The size of an object is influenced by the relative sizes of other objects in its environment. So for example. or between one objects and another. quantity. or degree.Proportion is the relationship of one part to another. Here’s a series of furniture that differs significantly in its proportion: . while a large one – or a cluster of small ones – looks well-proportioned. and by the environment itself. You can define proportion in terms of magnitude (size).
The most familiar proportioning system is the golden section. 1. 2. The golden section states that given two parts. mathematicians developed several methods to determine the ideal proportion of things. . 13. 5. harmonious tiling with squares whose sides are successive Fibonacci numbers in length. one smaller and one larger. 8. 3. 21…). You can create a pleasing. you get a spiral. the ratio between the smaller part and the larger part must be the same as the ratio between the larger part and the whole. devised by the ancient Greeks. if you connect the opposite corners of those squares. The Fibonacci series is a progression of whole numbers where each number is the sum of the preceding two (1. The ratio between two consecutive numbers approximates the golden section.Through the years.
and the interior looks harmonious. not flat like a painting or a photograph. several design elements (i. architects and designers have used the golden section as a reference – think Leonardo da Vinci. or Le Corbusier. an arrangement of furniture). and affect proportion. furniture and interior that contains it). the foreshortening of perspective. too – just have a look at this short yet amazing video to see a few wonderful examples. it means that you’ve achieved proportion. a piece of furniture). When designing a room. In general. A proportioning system can be a useful tool for a harmonious composition. for example. you need to look at the proportional relationships between: the parts of a design element (i. several artists. … . Also keep in mind that our perception of things is often imprecise: viewing distance. and even cultural backgrounds can influence the way we perceive our environment.e.e. The golden section is present in nature. when you sense that there’s neither too little nor too much of an element or characteristic in a room.e.Since the Renaissance. but interiors are threedimensional. elements and its enclosure (i.
Scale is absolute. comfort and interest to the eye. In designing a fabulous space. proportion is relative. . these principles need to work together to create harmony. Let the architecture be your guide….. So how do you do that? Here are a few tips I try to follow: 1. Designers look at everything from interior trim to door heights to building materials to relate to the home and determine how to design for that space. A dainty French chair may not hold its own next to a 10 foot tall stone fireplace just as a King size canopy bed can be overwhelming in a smaller bedroom with low ceilings.Scale is the overall size of one object and Proportion is how the size of that object compares to other elements in the space. allow the architectural elements set the tone.Be it a majestic home with cathedral ceilings or a cozy bungalow.
Don’t forget about the people who live there…. . remember a home’s inhabitants! Nothing is more unfortunate then a beautiful home that lacks comfort..While you want your architecture to influence your decisions. but often because the scale is just right for him to lounge comfortably with a cold drink and watch television. Isn’t it funny how the man of the house often has his favored chair? It rarely is because of its good looks.2.
While I am a big fan of symmetry. simply look at the weight of different areas in a room and attempt to distribute that accordingly. Avoid having a room become top heavy – a 90″ sofa or large armoire always needs a significant something to mirror it. Rather. Strive for Balance…… A proportionate room is a balanced room. . whether it be furniture a collection of art.3. it is not always required to achieve balance.
Play with height……. large scale accessory then several on a coffee table. go big……Have fun with scale when decorating. I’d rather make a statement with one fabulous. in a living room for example.. A large scale crystal chandelier can set a dramatic tone in a dining room. A large scale pattern on a fabric or wallpaper can have a stunning impact. It lacks visual interest and can make the space look unproportionate. Buffet lamps can get an instant update with a new pair of oversized barrel lamp shades. Playing with scale is not limited to furniture and accessories.4.You never want a room to appear to the on the same plane. by trying to have different heights with my seat backs and never hanging wall art or mirrors the same height as my door openings or other furniture pieces 5. . When in doubt. I avoid this.
textures and patterns. The basic aim of form follows function is lost if human scale is not considered.Proportion is primarily concerned with the relationship of one part to another. bold patters Use lots of interesting. rough or fluffy textures Try to create different areas by using colour as optical dividers Use room dividers. low ceilings) or too large (feels cold and unwelcoming). Often problems with proportion and scale in rooms are either they are too small (dark. but the choice remains a personal judgment. but either can be small or large in scale depending on the space they are placed in. to highlight the light ceiling Keep home decor simple – limit patterns and choose small designs Use mirrors and glossy finishes Streamline your furniture . It involves every aspect of design and is extremely visual. columns or furniture to create smaller spaces Fit lower hanging lights and down lighters Use dark. the implementation of the “work triangle” is important for a practical design. Ancient Greeks designed all their buildings on the Golden section 2:3 Scale refers primarily to the relative size or character of an object or to its parts. But there are many Interior design tools and tricks to still turn these rooms into cozy and comfortable spaces: Interior design tips for small spaces and rooms with low ceilings: Use light colors on the walls Paint the ceiling white. or lighter than the walls Have lots of light – and use up lighters. Heights of work benches can be adjusted in relation to the person’s height. In Interior Design there is a “twothirds to one thirds” rule as reference for the selection of colours. A chair is small and a table is large.keep open spaces in mind when arranging them Stay as tidy and uncluttered as possible Consider a simple style – traditional designs can be too fussy and cluttered Match the scale of your furniture to the scale of your room Wallpaper with vertical stripes can make low ceilings seem taller Interior design tips for large rooms and high ceilings: Use a darker color on the ceiling than on the walls Bring the darker ceiling colour down to picture rail level Use large scale. Human scale too is of vital consideration. This is in comparison with other objects either in whole or in part. For example a kitchen should always be designed for the person who uses it most. Rooms. warm colors on the walls Use a darker color flooring Match the scale of your furniture to the size of your room o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o . furniture and equipment must be suitably scaled and designed to meet people’s needs and requirements. Our eye is pleased with good proportion and disturbed by poor proportion.
contrast and warm colours to turn a huge open space into a cosy and compfortable one .o Make sure you include lots of accessories. artworks and décor items Samples for Proportion & Scale Example for using a dark colour on the ceiling to visually lower it. A large or textured artwork on the wall behind the table would focus the eye and further improve the proportions of the room Wonderful example for using texture.
Example for a kitchen out of proportion and scale compared to the huge architectural roof design. It makes the kitchen furniture look too small and out of place .
You can add emphasis to a natural focal point or create one in a room through effective use of line. form. It can also be created through progression. Principle #1: Balance Visual equilibrium in a room is called balance. much like paints are the basics to a painter. color and texture) within a room. it is the area to which your eye is attracted. Principle #2: Emphasis Emphasis is the focal point of the room. The principles of design are balance. Rhythm helps the eye to move easily from one object to another and creates a harmony that tells the eye everything in the room belongs to a unified whole. Progressive rhythm is a gradual increasing or decreasing in size. Principle #4: Proportion and Scale Size relationships in a room are defined by proportion and scale. creates a mirror image effect. The elements of line. The elements are your tools or raw materials. • Formal balance. Balance also refers to how and where you place the elements (line. and harmony and unity. direction or color. color and texture all help determine an object’s visual weight. . color. try to distribute the elements throughout the room. line. It is more subtle and spontaneous and gives a warmer. proportion and scale. It gives a sense of repose and a feeling of completion. Principle #3: Rhythm Rhythm supplies the discipline that controls the eye as is moves around a room. form. as the center of interest –a fireplace. form. The elements of design include space. color and texture. rhythm. more casual feeling. To maintain balance. form. and texture. Rhythm is created through repetition of line. emphasis. which is the amount of space it appears to occupy. you should always use the elements and principles of design as a guide in choosing everything. Proportion refers to how the elements within an object relate to the object as a whole. often referred to as symmetrical balance. Scale relates to the size of an object when compared with the size of the space in which it is located. The principles of design relate to how you use these elements. A well-balanced room gives careful consideration to the placement of objects according to their visual weight. • Informal balance uses different objects of the same visual weight to create equilibrium in a room. color or texture. artwork or a window treatment framing a beautiful view – must be sufficiently emphasized so that everything else leads the eye toward the featured area.Principles of Interior Design Whether you are working with existing furnishings and fabrics or “starting from scratch” with an empty room. Whatever is featured. The focal point should be obvious as you enter the room. form.
and then adding a little variety so that the room has its own sense of personality accomplishes this. Unity assures a sense of order. balancing them throughout the room.Principle #5: Harmony and Unity A well-designed room is a unified whole that encompasses all the other elements and principles of design. a harmony of color and pattern. too much variety can cause a restless feeling. There is a consistency of sizes and shapes. . Repeating the elements. Juggling the elements and principles to get just the right mix is a key to good design. The ultimate goal of decorating is to create a room with unity and harmony and a sense of rhythm. Too much unity can be boring.
and of the whole to a certain part selected as standard. and what is it that makes it not something else. “ Proportion is a correspondence among the measures of the members of an entire work. wind. . The things that make a building and its site "well shaped" include theorientation of the site and the buildings on it to the features of the grounds on which it is situated. shade. if there is no precise relation between its members as in the case of those of a well shaped man. choice of materials. that is. The Ten Books of Architecture (III. —Vitruvius.Proportion (architecture) Proportion is the relation between elements and a whole. 1) ” A Fibonacci spiral. Light. From this result the principles ofsymmetry. created by drawing arcs connecting the opposite corners of squares in the Fibonacci tiling shown above – see golden spiral A tiling with squares whose sides are successive Fibonacci numbers in length Architectural proportions[edit source] In architecture the whole is not just a building but the set and setting of the site. elevation. all should relate to a standard and say what is it that makes it what it is. Without symmetry and proportion there can be no principles in the design of any temple. Ch. Vitruvius thought of proportion in terms of unit fractions such as those used in the Greek Orders of Architecture.
Special units related to feet as the hypotenuse of a 3/4/5 triangle with one side a foot were named remen and introduced into the proportional system very early on. in laying out cities. stadiums. or a multiple of a foot. feet. Curves were also defined in a similar manner and used by architects in their design of arches and other building elements. so as to arrange the city as well as the building to be well proportioned. palms. Multiples of body proportions would be found in the arrangements of fields and in the buildings people lived in. A cubit could be divided into fingers. processional ways. ports.Orders of Architecture Scribes had been using unit fractions for their calculations at least since the time of the Egyptian Mathematical Leather Roll and Rhind Mathematical Papyrus in Egypt and the Epic of Gilgamesh in Mesopotamia. etc. cubits. These proportional elements were used by the Persians. . Greeks. roads. fingers. hands. Phoenicians and Romans. One example of symmetry might be found in the inscription grids of the Egyptians which were based on parts of the body and their symmetrical relation to each other. public buildings. hands and so could a foot. various areas for crops and grazing beasts of burden. palms..
Le Modulor was never popularly adopted among architects. . Renaissance orders[edit source] The Renaissance tried to extract and codify the system of proportions in the orders as used by the ancients. rods. feet. but the system's graphic of the stylised man with one upraised arm is widely recognised and powerful. The work of de Chambray. to improve its form qualities (gestalt pragnance) and introduce shape grammar in design in building. hands.Architectural practice has often used proportional systems to generate or constrain the forms considered suitable for inclusion in a building. In almost every building tradition there is a system of mathematical relations which governs the relationships between aspects of the design. miles. Generally the goal of a proportional system is to produce a sense of coherence and harmony among the elements of a building. Kenneth Frampton. Desgodetz and Perrault  eventually demonstrated that classical buildings had reference to standards of proportion that came directly from the original sense of the word geometry. stadia. Anti-Modernists (Langhein. Brunelleschi in particular studied interactions of perspective with the perception of proportion (as understood by the ancients). whole number ratios or incommensurable ratios (such as the vesica piscis or the golden ratio)which were determined using geometrical methods. the measure of the earth and its division into degrees. yards. believing that with analysis a mathematically absolute ideal of beauty would emerge. However. These systems of proportion are often quite simple. 2005) claim the modulor is not well suited to introduce proportion and pattern into architecture. 2002) Le Corbusier's work strongly disputes this. This focus on the perception of harmony was somewhat of a break from the Pythagorean ideal of numbers controlling all things. paces. through its application in the design of some of the last century's most beautifully proportioned and harmonic buildings (Le Corbusier: Architect of the Twentieth Century. cords. palms and fingers Le modulor[edit source] Based on apparently arbitrary proportions of an "ideal man" (possibly Le Corbusier himself) combined with the golden ratio and Vitruvian Man.
Proportion in design is harmony that pleases the eye.Φ (PHI) The Golden Ratio is also known as the golden section. architecture and design. In the design of all our projects we try to complement this beauty by applying traditional design elements and principles. Some 2500 years ago the Greek mathematical school of Pythagoras defined the Golden Ratio or Phi as 1:1.6. will produce a similar golden rectangle with longer side a + b and shorter side a. So we offer our potential Clients this brief excursion into Proportion in Design. golden mean. Stated mathematically. or between or among one or more other objects. In simple geometry it looks like this: (Above) Line segments in the golden ratio (Above) A golden rectangle with longer side a and shorter side b.618 and it is a rule that has been applied in mathematics. (a + b)/a : a / b = phi. and the Rule of Threes. art. The proper application of proportion is to devise the most pleasing relationship of one part of an object to another part.PROPORTION IN DESIGN The Palm Springs Desert Area is one of great natural beauty. . or divine proportion. Phi is the perfect relationship between the smaller and the larger. golden rectangle. together with the Rule of Thirds. when placed adjacent to a square with sides of length a. including the natural principle of proportion. A simple example of this ratio in the world of interior design would be a dining room table that is 45” wide and 72” with these dimensions in the ratio 1:1. This illustrates the same relationship as in the line segment example opposite. or the golden ratio. Understanding the principle of proportion involves a discussion of the Golden Ratio and its derivative in the 60:30:10 Rule. THE GOLDEN RATIO .
This aesthetically pleasing harmony is found in nature. However. if a square with sides equal to the short side of the rectangle is marked off. We see it in a Galaxy. We see from the above that a golden rectangle has the property that. 13. It is a sequence or progression of whole numbers. 2.. The Fibonacci series is an outgrowth of the Golden Ratio. so it stands to reason that utilizing Phi in our designs and compositions will naturally lead to improved communication with the observer and a harmonious result. 2. We see it in a Hurricane. A remodeler. 5. by addition or subtraction. We see this spiral in the shell of a Chambered Nautilus. This brings us to the Fibonacci series. Given the evident universality of the Golden Ratio in the natural order. This one uses squares of sizes 1. has rather limited opportunity to apply the Golden Ratio. 1. where each number is the sum of the preceding two (1. and 34. given the constraints of an existing structure. 8. ad infinitum. Phi is all around us. See also this short video. 1. decorating. and accessorizing of a completed room. 3. it has great effect when applied by our clients to the furnishing. 5. 3. Fibonacci (Leonardo of Pisa) lived in the 13th century. 13. 8. 21. 21…) Composition of Golden Rectangles and the Fibonacci Spiral or Sequence A Fibonacci spiral is created by drawing arcs connecting the opposite corners of squares in a Fibonacci tiling of Golden Rectangles. This process can be repeated in either direction. we had better pay attention to it in the design of our remodels. the remaining form will be another golden rectangle. although we at Country Club Remodeler certainly pay attention to it. .
RULE OF THIRDS The Rule of Thirds has nothing to do with the proportions of the Golden Ratio. furniture layout. also known as the Rule of Odd Numbers. In interior design. shape or color within the groupings. has application in progression and spatial composition. energy and dramatic interest. No more than 60% of the room is filled with furniture/accessories.THE 60:30:10 RULE The 60:30:10 Rule is an informal derivative of Phi and the Fibonacci Progression. The room’s relationship to color of contents: 60% of the room's color is the walls. photography and design. proportionate progression of elements. It states that every composition can be divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines. 30 % of the room's color is the upholstery. Here are examples of how the rule works in practice: Overall: 60% provides a theme. to achieve a pleasing whole through a smooth. including interior design. Paint selection: 60% of a dominant color. 10% provides accent. The elements of the composition that are its focus should not be placed in the center of the composition. It is a rule of composition used in art. arrangements of furniture. RULE OF THREE In interior design. 30% provides contrast. For additional interest there should also be variations of height. USING THE RULES . color and fabric schemes. This creates tension. the Rule of Three. colors and accessories. Rather it is a compositional rule of thumb mainly applied in art and photography. leaving plenty of “white space” to relieve the eye. The rule is applied to room design. and groupings of accessories. The convention is that the most important elements of the composition are placed along these lines or at the four points of intersection. 10% of the room's color is in accent pieces. texture. in which a rectangle or spiral progresses smoothly from small to large and vice versa. and effective than even-numbered pairings. 10% of an accent color. the obvious practical application of the Rule of Thirds is in the placement of artwork on walls. 30% of a secondary color. memorable. The basis of the rule is that details and objects that are arranged or grouped in odd numbers are more appealing.
. a review of the rules will likely identify the problem and indicate an appropriate remedy. If this happens.Using these rules of proportion and placement takes some effort but is necessary in achieving a satisfactory overall result in a remodeled home. If the result actually achieved turns out to be less than pleasing. it is usually because one of the rules of design has not been followed. At Country Club Remodeler we bring awareness of the rules of proportion in design to our remodeling projects. We also bring our own intuition and experienced eyes.
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