How to Think Like an Interior Designer Part 15: Scale

Scale refers to the size of a space, the objects in it and their compatibility to the human form.  The areas you work with in your home vary in size so keeping your furnishings to scale with yourself and its dimensions are important for making everything look just right. The visual weight of the objects you place in a room need to be taken into consideration as well to maintain proper proportion.  Proportion and scale go hand in hand and tend to be used interchangeably because of their close relationship in design. 


To determine what size furnishings are appropriate for your living space consider taking measurements.  Ceiling height, length and width of a room all play their part in influencing what goes into the design.  For example, a room with a low ceiling would not be well-served with tall furnishings.  They will only make the room’s walls and ceiling appear shorter than they already are.  Taller ceilings have the luxury of using high or low furnishings as more sizable furniture will look proportionate to the space and low furniture can be used to make a statement. 


Small rooms can be decorated with more delicate furniture and visually lighter pieces while these would look out of place in a larger space.  When painting the walls, or choosing patterns, smaller rooms tend to need more light hues and smaller patterns to avoid overwhelming them.  Larger rooms can use a variety of colors and pattern sizes without dwarfing the size of the space.  Using a focal point in the room will help set the tone for the scale of items you use for the remaining decor no matter what size room you are working with.


It is also a good idea to allow for areas of negative space to prevent the room from looking too busy.   This can be accomplished through making space to walk between furniture or toning down the number of elements emphasized in a room.  Allowing a viewer to be able to rest their eyes throughout certain parts of the room will make it more comfortable and inviting.