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Understanding Proportion & Scale


A common phrase I hear repeated a lot from people is, "I know what I like but I don't know how to make it look good in my house"... or some iteration of that. To that I always tell people that they are probably just overthinking it and that the secret to pulling a home together lies more in how it makes you feel when you are in it rather than in "pulling it together". The reason people say this is likely because when they are in spaces they "like" it evokes a certain feeling for them. The good news is that there are two common interior design principles that will help anyone achieve that perfect "look" and feel- Proportion & Scale.

In interior design proportion refers to the shape of an item and how it relates to other things in the room, while scale refers to how the item relates to the size of the room. Sound confusing? It can be, but the most important thing to remember is this: whether you are talking about proportion or scale, just keep in mind how the elements of your design relate to each other in a space and this will serve as your guide.

If you walk through the various rooms in your home, and something feels "off" chances are that something is out of proportion or the scale is incorrect. Generally if you take a close look at the following things, you will be able to find the culprit and with a little tweak here and there you will have your space looking fabulous in no time.


Keep in mind that the main furnishing item in the room should set the tone for the scale of the rest of the room. So if you have a lovely delicate settee, you would not want to pair it with an oversized, chunky side table.


This one is pretty simple- the smaller the room, the smaller the furniture and decor that will go in that room, and the larger... well, the larger the furniture and decor. Think of it this way, if you wear a size 5 in shoes you aren't likely to go out and purchase a size 10 just because your REALLY love the shoes... same rules apply!


This is the space around and above furniture. The idea is, you do not want to cover every inch of space in a room- you need to leave some space so that the eye can rest- this will create a more cohesive, inviting design.


If you have low ceilings- use furniture that tends to be lower to the ground and smaller in scale. For areas with high ceilings you can use taller & more imposing pieces. Of course there can always be exceptions to a rule- modern decor often uses pieces that are low to the ground in large spaces in order to create a WOW factor or dramatic effect in the room


Use repetitive patterns or colors- just don't overdo it! This is another rule that can sometimes be "broken" in order to achieve a certain look and feel for a space but in general this a great way to keep your design in check.


Again for the most part, you will want to use smaller prints ( and not a lot of them) in smaller rooms, while larger areas will easily handle big, bold prints and more colors.

Remember the most important part of creating any space is to ENJOY the process! These tips should give you a good place to start and to refer to during your process!

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