January 23, 2012

Understanding Scale

As much as I wish this was a post about how much weight I have lost since having a baby, it is in fact all about understanding the design principles of proportional symmetry or scale.  But before we get into the nitty gritty, I invite you to study the photo below for a moment.

(source)

At first you may notice the ri-DONK-ulously huge floral arrangement.  Upon further look, your eye may rest upon the small side chairs next to the side board…which may then cause you to bounce your eye back to the crazy-big mirror.  This vignette is playing with scale in a way that actually makes my head hurt.  That said, regardless of how it makes you feel, it is an excellent example of the importance of scale in design.

Generally speaking, scale is the relationship between each individual design element in a space.  The small space below achieves symmetry with the inclusion of smaller scale furniture…

(source)

…conversely, the consistent scale of the furniture in the room below contrasts with the large scale print on the rug, the large table lamp on the left and the dramatic coffered ceiling.  Because the space is so large, the playful interaction of the different scales represented is pleasing to the eye.

(source)

Playing with scale is a design concept that has truly been trending in the past few years and as such there are a multitude of examples of using a large scale piece to help fill space.  Consider the light fixtures in the following examples in relation to both the space of the rooms and other design elements.

(source)

(source)

(source)

(source)

(source)

Of course, playing with scale need not be limited to lighting.  This beautiful room needs something bold to connect the scale of the space with the scale of the pieces in it.  The sail on the wall piques interest both by its form and its function.

(source)

One of my favorite ways to play with scale is with a large scale graphic…

(source)

…or with smaller scale graphics grouped together to create a larger statement.

(source)

As always, design rules are meant to be broken and in doing so it can help to create a sense of play within a space.

(source)

Do you play with scale in your home?

One Response to “Understanding Scale”

  1. Jon King Says:
    January 24th, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Excellent…I also noticed how influential our perception of the space is influenced by the scale and/or use of floor treatments…nice post.