Design Principles – My Favourite… PROPORTION

Design Principles – My Favourite… PROPORTION

Most people think Interior Decorating is all about throwing a few pretty items together, but surprisingly like most things, there is a science to it. Design has fundamental principles & elements that guide you through your decisions to create a space that makes sense, is functional as well as being attractive. (Form, Function & Aesthetics – for those design minds out there!)  The Elements list includes components such as colour, line, shape, value & texture, whereas the Principles includes ideals such as balance, proportion & scale, unity & variety, pattern & repetition. And lately I’m loving PROPORTION.


Where is it used?

In modern design, we love showing off. It’s all about saying ‘look what I’ve got’. Proportion is a great way of doing this. Bigger is better, right? I love the popular look right now of massive clocks. Back when I was a kid you had your 30cm plastic, white framed noisy ticker in every room & maybe a fancy timber clock for the mantle, but now clocks are the statement piece. When I spent some time in a homewares shop lately, they had a clock that was a whopping 70cms in diameter – it stood up to my waist, & for some customers that still wasn’t big enough!

CaroleRussell  large-mirror

But it doesn’t just stop at clocks, with mirrors, artwork, vases & even doors making that ‘wow’ factor in new modern homes. But be careful, you can’t just keep adding large items & expect the world to think that you’ve got it all. If you add too many large, attention grabbing items then the home can look small & you could feel a little like Alice In Wonderland. Proportion works best when only one item is featured, as this becomes the focal point of the room & all others are secondary.

Choose carefully when you think BIG

When you are planning on highlighting an item, choose which is the best to focus on…. and why! If you’re an art buff, then art would be the best option, but if you love flowers, maybe a large arrangement will take pride of place. But think about what matters to you. If you have a large family or you love entertaining, then an over-sized dining table perhaps with a pendant light above will make the dining space the place to be. Or maybe you want to walk into your bedroom with a massive king-sized bed with a large upholstered bedhead. Whatever your tastes are, keep it to one large item per room.

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Designing for your house

You also need to think about the room it will be in. In a small room an oversized sofa can be ideal as long as all other items & decorations are kept sparse to allow the sofa to take pride of place. A large, open-planned room may need a massive rug in order to pull in the walls & make the space feel cosier. It is important to be aware of what you have to work with. An older home with high ceilings may need a much taller mirror than what you would for a standard 2.4m ceiling house, otherwise it may look stunted. However, older houses tend to have smaller rooms, so an enormous buffet unit may not fit, especially if you are added an oversized dining table.

Whatever you choose to feature, make sure that the surrounding items are balanced. They don’t all have to be small to allow the one feature to stand out, but more ‘normal sized’ items with a couple of smaller pieces to keep the balance. It is usually better if the large scale item is also placed in a central location of the room so that it doesn’t make the room feel heavy on one side & an awkward space to be in.


Decadence all the way

So have fun & go big. Make a statement in your home that shows your sense of style, & hopefully those areas of your home you’re not quite happy with will recede into the background.

To know the other Design Elements see this post –



Images by Mysteree Designs, 7 House Rules 2014,

For other great free Interior Design tips –

Environmental Design –

Sheen Levels with Paint or Cabinetry –

How to get the Industrial Look –

What is Contemporary Design? –


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