Design Recipes: Working with size, scale

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Ever wonder why one piece of furniture fits perfectly in one space but looks awkward in another? It may relate to how the object is visually perceived within a space, in which size and scale can often come into play.

Size

Size does matter in certain rooms. A general room of thumb is a space should allow for proper circulation. Typically a minimum of 3 feet should surround a piece of furniture. Be careful to select a piece of furniture that is not too big or too small for a space. Need help deciding? Here are some general rules of thumb.

1. Allow for proper flow and circulation in a space. One should be able to open a closet door, enter and exit a room without bumping into a piece of furniture.

2. Visually allow a space for the eye to rest. For example, a smaller coffee table next to a larger sofa may allow for the coffee table to not further overwhelm the space.

3. Use a piece of furniture or accessory to help anchor a space. Often in spaces that are overly large, a larger area rug, upholstery item or case good can help achieve this.

Scale

A chair in one room can look small, while in another space it can look commanding and grand. Similarly, a room that has soaring ceilings can feel cavernous and cold if furniture of the appropriate scale isn’t used. What can go wrong? Perhaps it’s a space in which the sofa is too big and overstuffed, a mirror is too small or too big, or an area rug just “floats” as opposed to helping ground a space. Here are some helpful tips.

1. In general, when it comes to artwork and mirrors, they should be 2/3 the size of the object below it. You want to avoid selections that are too small or too big.

2. When working with high ceilings or large walls, a selection of large-scale artwork often works best. Conversely, if you have a small area to fill, smaller scale pieces work best.

3. Think of scale even with accessories. A vignette of various accessories such as vases, sculpture, lamps even plantings or blooms should be of the appropriate scale.

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