Balance and Scale: How to Master 2 of Design’s Fundamentals
Domaine’s editor-at-large, designer Estee Stanley, shares her tips for mastering these interior design principles.
Balance and scale are two of the basic design fundamentals. These elements can make or break the visual impact of any space. The biggest issues with balance and scale that I see are when people opt for pieces that are not practical in terms of size and proportion to their home, and when they don’t account for the size of each individual piece when it comes to laying out a space. Read on for my tips on mastering the art of balance and scale.
Many people tend to shy away from larger furniture items or pieces of art as they feel it will make their space feel small. In fact, it does quite the opposite and helps visually enlarge a space. Even in small homes, include some large-scale items for an unexpected, but beneficial, look. Mixing pieces in a variety of scales, like a long console with a pair of tall lamps or an overstuffed sofa with a high coffee table, creates multi-dimensional layers and adds visual interest to your design.
When it comes to fabrics and textiles, mixing prints in a variety of scales is necessary to avoid overwhelming the eye. The easiest trick to remember is if you decide to use two strong patterns in one space, make sure the patterns feature designs in different scales. For example, if a rug has a large Moroccan print, you’ll want to use a smaller, tighter pattern on your drapes or throw pillows to avoid the fabrics competing and becoming overbearing.
Finally, balance is what keeps your eye at ease while completing the composition of a room. Do not put all of your heavier, bulkier pieces on the same side of the room or items of all one color in one area of the room, because you will end up with a top-heavy result. Think of balancing a scale, too much on one side will cause it to tip. Be consistent when arranging rooms in this way to create an even flow between spaces. When in doubt, be logical and use your eye to hone in on areas where the room feels too crowded or disjointed.
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