Using Proportion and Scale
Designer Carrie Long utilizes a keen sense of proportion and scale to accessorize this display. The size and bold graphic elements of the tall, carved wood Chinese screens are an attention-grabbing focal point in the room. Using large pieces with a lot of pattern and impact requires a balance of proportion and scale in order to achieve visual and spatial harmony.
Although often used interchangeably, scale and proportion refer to distinctly different concepts. Scale refers to the way one or more items are related to the known size of another item or space. The size of the human body is the basis of our most intuitive sense of scale. That innate sense of our body’s scale in relation to furnishings and landscape is why an intricately rendered dollhouse or the sculpted faces on Mount Rushmore draw our attention. Proportion refers to the way two or more objects relate to each in three-dimensional space. Creating a room with balanced proportion requires an understanding of how objects with various shapes, pattern and size work together.
In accessorizing this display, Carrie’s use of scale and proportion are critical factors in creating an aesthetically pleasing and harmonious space. Here are some guidelines:
- Use large scale patterns in small areas sparingly. The pattern of the Chinese screens creates a strong focal point for this relatively small area. To balance the scale and impact of the screens’ pattern, the cabinet is accessorized with pieces in solid colors and simple shapes.
- The core furnishings of a room or area determine the scale for the other pieces. Carrie’s selection of the large French leather armchairs was guided by scale of the screens and open front cabinet that anchor this display. Smaller, more intricately detailed chairs wouldn’t work against the large, bold backdrop.
- To enhance a balanced sense of proportion, use repetitive shapes and colors. The earthy color scheme of green, brown leather, wood and bone white unify the space while the patterns of the open work screens are echoed in the elongated curves of the pottery and glass.
- Don’t forget about white space. Carrie accessorized the cabinet with plenty of white space around the objects and that space provides the mind and eyes a chance to rest. Leaving open space in some areas of a room or wall helps generate a calm, restorative energy.