Scale is a design principle closely related to proportion. While proportion deals with the relationship between parts of the composition, scale refers to the size of something, in relation to some known standard or convention.
Scale can be mechanical or visual.
Mechanical scale is the calculation of an object's size according to a conventional system of measurement.
Visual scale refers to the relative size an object appears to have when measured against other things placed in its environment, or against the space that contains it.
Can you recall a room or a home you have entered that gave you a sense of harmony and that the way everything worked together was just right? Rooms just feel right when proportion and balance are good. Not too much furniture and not too little.
There is more to creating a great living space than simply throwing a few bits of furniture into a room, there are so many elements to consider, but ultimately, what you do depends on how you use your space!
You have to consider some other fundamental elements besides whether they all fit!
Some elements to consider are the unity, balance, contrast, focal point, the relative proportion and scale. It is important to think about the proportion between the furniture and the way it is arranged in the space that contains it.
Some things you will need to think about when planning out your space/room come down to how you want to use your space. A place to relax and enjoy privacy or is it an open and inviting environment that is great for visitors and entertaining.
HERE are some TIPS on using Scale and some solutions:
Do not fill small spaces with a plethora of small things. Especially rugs. This is one error a lot of people make with their petite rooms. It may seem counter intuitive but the reality is that you are saying, "I lack the space to live generously". I do not care what size the room- you deserve to live fully in every respect. Not to mention, a lot of little items = clutter. Both physically and visually. Instead, choose key pieces — such as your sofa and rug and take them to their max.
Always include an item or two that you would consider "over-scaled" for your space. For most- the easiest and most pleasing items will likely be artwork or mirrors. Even a lampshade will do the trick. What does this accomplish? Not only can you draw attention to something wonderful, or pull your attention away from something in the room just awful that you can do nothing about (for example horrible architecture or poorly placed lighting) but it prevents your space from becoming too perfect and formulated. How boring is that? There is nothing approachable about a perfectly pulled together room, trust me, and we always want a sense of ease in a room- don't we?
Think of scale as you would your wardrobe. Most people would not mix three gigantic patterns together in the same outfit- instead they chose a pleasing mix. Say one large patterned piece balanced with a solid and perhaps a smaller patterned item. Or consider jewelry and accessories- one fabulously large cocktail ring means that all those other baubles and bangles are either unnecessary or they must be refined and tailored to play a supporting role.
The same is true for your interiors. A successful space requires the combination and balance of sizes and shapes to mix and mingle just so to create harmony. One large sofa- try a pair of smaller occasional chairs that are different than your sofa. Not only are you introducing different sized elements, plus variety, but now you are also playing with a numbers game…also more interesting.
Take the time to consider how playing with scale can help you achieve making the ordinary more interesting and meaningful whether its a mirror over a cabinet in a room or choosing that sofa you think is just not going to fit. Good luck on your decorating journey. Just remember, you can always contact us if you need to call in the professionals!
Toni Crockett Design, author of this column, is a boutique style Design & Decorating Firm. Toni would love to talk to you about designing and managing a renovation for you.
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