Whoever thought becoming a student again could be so much fun? I am currently a couple modules into my design course through the International Institute of Home Staging and have learnt about the importance of size, scale, proportion and balance. I guess this is something I had never given too much thought to, well consciously anyway. Alisa and I were able to put rooms together, but we had never really considered in depth the importance of these elements.
The first element to module 4, was size. I learnt that size was based mostly on instinct. When you walk into a room you may not know the metric measurements, but you instinctively know whether if feels big, small, clutter or airy.
The second element was scale. I am learning that all principals and elements of design blend and correlate with each other. Scale is one of the most difficult elements to understand. Scale works in with the size of a room, objects, ceiling heights and layouts of a room. Alisa and I failed during living/dining week on Fans vs Favs in relation to our scale.
We had grand ceiling heights and the room was open and airy. We under estimated the size of the space and subsequently bought furniture that was too small for the room. On completion of the room, we both stood back and loved what we’d created. The judges felt that the rug was too small for the space (they said it look like a tea towel) and the coffee table was insignificant. They believed that the couch was also lost in the room.
Upon returning to “The Block” and having a subjective look, we realised that the scale was very out of proportion to the room. It was at that exact point, that I understood the importance of getting the scale right – and it ultimately cost us the win for that room.
The proportion of a room is strongly related to the size and scale of the space. When designing any room you will no doubt faces some challenges. When I think of proportion, I think of the second bedroom during “Sky high”. It was long and skinny and quite a difficult space to use. By positioning the wardrobes against the longest wall and placing the appropriate sized bed in between, we turned an awkward layout, into a very useable space.
The final element is balance. In design, balance creates a feeling of equilibrium, or in layman’s terms, evenness or symmetry. There are different forms of symmetry; axialsymmetry, radial symmetry and asymmetric symmetry. The perfect way to describe balance (axial) is to envisage a bedroom. How often would you go into a bedroom, and if you put a line down the middle of the bed, it would be a mirror image of each other. Balance doesn’t mean that it has to be an exact match on either side of the room; it’s about distributing the visual weight of objects within a space to achieve a feeling of equilibrium. It is the best way to achieve balance within a space and often leaves you with a welcoming and comfortable feel. Without balance things tend to go sideways.
I don’t blame you if you’re trying to get your head wrapped around the above elements; I was the same. If you are like me, you’re probably thinking, “yeah but isn’t proportion the same as scale?” Then add balance and size to the mix and it seems as though it all blends into one. To a certain extend they do, but they all have their place when it comes to designing a room. If this doesn’t make sense, then I recommend you do what I’m doing and do some study with IIHS. Even though I’ve only been studying with IIHS for a few months, it’s finally all starting to make sense and I cannot wait to start the next modules.
Check out Lysandra’s Block confessions here.
Check out the highlights of the last IIHS workshop with Alisa and Lysandra here.
Click here to start studying with IIHS!