The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.
— Vince Lombardi
When we speak of scale in design, we speak of the relationship between space and the details within the space that define it, as well as the size of details we include such as furnishings, light, the use of line, etc. It is important in design to recognize the use of scale in creating a desired effect in the space.
We can use larger elements of line or mass to create a focal point that may not be in scale, but still draws attention. Or we can carefully construct a space and keep everything within a certain scale. A smaller space requires a lower profile sofa, not over-stuffed, but sleek and lower to the ground. If we have a larger space, we can use chairs with higher backs, possibly overstated and fun; use fabric with larger prints, wallpaper with large patterns, lighting that is either elaborate or simple. With a larger space, we can create different effects all over the place, because we have more flexibility with our choices and our goals for the space. As you walk into a space, you define in your mind how scale will be used in the space, and what you would bring in to balance scale or enhance scale elements.
As a designer, scale is one of the first things I use to create a scheme or a feel, both in an interior or with a floorplan design for a home. When a homeowner asks for my help in trying to figure out why a room isn’t working, I look first to the scale of the room itself, then evaluate what the architectural designer was trying to achieve with the space. I would ask a client to decide if the integrity of the home design is more important, or if the function or feel of what you are trying to achieve is more important. More often than not, a client is trying to solve a problem and create a scheme or a feel they are more comfortable with, or which represents their sense of style, not the architect’s. This is where you would address the use of scale in the room.
For an artist working in clay, the human scale was of utter importance. As a functional potter, I was concerned with how each piece would be most effectively used. All the while, I was trying to play with scale and proportion to create something interesting and bold – a careful balance to maintain for sure when you are making a mug.
When you go shopping for furniture for your home you visit all of these huge warehouse style stores. The ceiling is 20 fee above you, so it seems like any sofa will fit in any space. This just isn’t true. Always go to the store with a sense of what space you have to work with. measure your room, measure out what size sofa will fit. Be aware that an overstuffed sofa arm will not always look great in your 12 x 14 living room. Opt for the smaller arm sofa and your small living room will seem so much bigger and more open, and you’ll have the same amount of seating.
Planning a room is more that just the furniture layout. You can use lighting and accent pieces to create an appealing setting. Most of the time the furniture store will have a free design service to utilize. I think this is a great idea. We don’t sell furniture anymore. We only do custom pieces, one off’s. There are no returns, you can’t sit on a custom sofa before you buy it. It’s a win / win of you use a store with the service, they will come to your home, measure and help choose the appropriate pieces that will serve you best.