Have you ever walked into a room that was full of beautiful furnishings but something about it just didn’t seem right? The problem could be proportion. In particular, small rooms often suffer from design problems because the proportion of furnishings in relation to the room itself isn’t correct.
A Proportion Primer
Proportion can refer to more than one aspect of how an item relates to another in a room. Proportion variables of size, quantity and degree can all affect the design of small spaces. For instance, placing a large picture on a small wall tends to engulf it; the proportion just isn’t right.
Interior designers often use a tried-and-true formula, such as the golden section, to determine the appropriate ratio of items in relation to their parts and in relation to the room itself. Many artists from past centuries have used the same principles to create beautiful paintings. But, unlike one dimensional paintings, your home is a three-dimensional space where the eye’s perception can influence its aesthetics.
How to Use Proportion to Create a Pleasing Room Arrangement
Chances are you won’t use a mathematical formula in order to determine what pieces to put where in your home or office space. You can, however, take some cues from nature, use a few helpful design tips and let your own sense of aesthetics be your guide.
Start by becoming aware of the different parts of your space. The correct proportion should be used in each design element (such as the furniture and artwork), a grouping of those elements and in relation to the space itself. So, for instance, a sofa should have the right proportion of width and height. Chairs and tables used as additional furnishings should be proportionately sized for the sofa. And the sofa’s proportions should go well with the proportions of the room it is in.
One mistake many people make is in assuming that everything in a small room needs to be of similar size. But that’s not necessarily the best way to furnish a small space. Remember that wall in the small room we referred to earlier? It would look better with a single, proportionately sized picture or a grouping of several small pictures. But not everything in the room should be sized on a small scale. A single, large piece of artwork can be quite dramatic.
In a small room, the use of scale and proportion can create the illusion of height by drawing the eye upward, or create the illusion of width by expanding the design outward. Which is best for your room depends on several factors, such as the room’s measurements, the height of the ceiling, the number of windows and doors, etc. A stunning design or architectural element can help create illusion that visually changes a room to seem more open and spacious, while a simple addition such as floor-length curtains tricks the eye into adding height to the wall.
If you need more tips on using proportion to make the most of your small space, we invite you to stop into either of our showrooms and let one of our professional interior designers help you select the right furnishings for your space.