The importance of controlling relationships
Karen Cummings & Pamela Blythe
High exists because of low. Large exists because of small. Each exists in comparative relationship to the other and the contrast is called scale. Scale, proportion, and balance influence our design decisions in significant ways and are the principles upon which skillful solutions are founded.
A 12-foot high ceiling may seem tall and awkward in contrast to a 6’8” standard residential door, but an increase to an oversized 8-foot-tall door reduces the size difference and voila! The ceiling height is suddenly perfect because the two objects are now in relative proportion to each other.
Now, put a 2” wide door frame around that oversized door and you’re right back to an awkward relationship. The better solution would be a 4” wide frame to make the relationship between the door and frame size work and feel more comfortable.
Proportion is the relationship of size and scale of elements in a design within a context. Spaces intended to impress are usually sized to a scale that dwarfs the human occupants, as seen in most European cathedrals.
The proportions of your home should be in scale with human measure. The result will be a friendly, comfortable, and less intimidating surrounding.
Scale in surface pattern is also important. The stools in the photo above have an appropriate amount of pattern when seen in relationship to the lack of pattern in the rest of the room. And that leads us to a discussion about balance.
Formal balance in a room gives the appearance of having equal weight and creates a visual stability. An information balance involves a design in which the visual weight of the room is unequal. In both examples, it is the relationship of objects that cause the formal vs. informal reaction.
The way in which the principles of scale, proportion, and balance are applied in architecture or interior design can convey very different messages about you, about your lifestyle, and even about your relationships.
Unless you’re building from the ground up, you might not be able to control the size/shape of your home or the rooms within. But you can definitely control these principles. Let us know if we can help.