Three little words
In the decorating of your home, it is important to consider these three elements of design.
Proportion, to quote from the dictionary, is “the relation of one part to another or to the whole with respect to magnitude, quantity or degree.” As an example, if you are looking to decide where to add a detail, such as trim or decorative molding on a wall, divide that wall into 5ths and choose your placement at either: 2/5ths, 3/5ths or 4/5ths for the correct level.
Draperies that have tiebacks, or a curtain panel that has been divided by using two separate fabrics will look “right” if the defining line is set at one of these levels. Never choose the center or middle of the overall height. It’s just a little trick that ensures a pleasing look. You could also do this when deciding on the size of a table placed in front of a sofa. Take the length of the sofa, divide it into 5ths and the table would be then either 2/5ths, 3/5ths or 4/5ths of that length. It works.
Scale relates to the proportion of the object to the size of the space. It is often a misconception that in a small room you cannot place a very large object. Be a little bold. I’ve found that in a small room it is essential to have at least one oversized piece of furniture or art. Adding something that is tall will also create interest. This can be as simple as large floor lamps, a bookcase, a rustic ladder with books and objects displayed on its steps. Putting a taller piece on the diagonal and placed in a corner is effective.
A large round table set into a corner will create an intimate dining spot for 2 or 3. If space is at a minimum, this table can be used as a library or worktable, as well as for meals. Add a table lamp or a floor lamp in that corner for soft lighting. A look that I like is to hang a very large mirror somewhat low on a wall to reflect the space. If the mirror isn’t particularly wide, get one that is very tall with a somewhat heavy frame. The reflection will create liveliness in the room, one that is not static.
Balance relates to an aesthetically pleasing integration of elements, in particular the textures. You can include smooth, silky, soft, rough, loose, deep, bulky, a wide selection. If your furniture upholstery is a chenille or velvet, for instance, then add one or two accent pillows in a silky finish and a “throw” in a loose weave or perhaps a fur. They will complement each other and bring pleasing tactile impressions. If everything were heavy and bulky it would be uninteresting and boring. It is the contrast that livens up a room.
The same ideas work especially well in a room that is decorated in a neutral palette, add different textures, make them even dramatically different. You can create a stunning room by using only neutral colors, with the addition of a few pieces in accent colors your room will “pop”. These accessories can easily be changed, yet the basic design of the room remains.
Your upholstered pieces will usually represent your largest investment so the careful selection of fabrics and color is rather important. A choice of a good quality fabric in a neutral color will serve you long and well.
There is no real mystery to good interior design. We each have access to a lot of information and ideas. You can find what you like, what really reflects your lifestyle and personality by looking around you. A little collection of pictures from magazines that show things you are attracted to will also help.
Your home should nurture you, reflect your interests and passions, encourage your creativity, offer comfort and peacefulness and, of course, beauty. Bring a bit of nature into your home whether it is in found objects, plants a collection of sea glass or seashells.
Remember proportion, scale and balance.
Mary Courtney has been practicing Interior Design professionally for thirty-five years. Mary’s work takes her all over the country and she currently is based out of Sonoma. Mary may be contacted by phone at 707-721-6175, or email@example.com www.marycourtneydesigns.com