One of the most important concepts in interior design is scale and balance. Scale is more than just size. Scale is about proportion. The weight that objects hold in a room. Balance is about making sure that the scales of all the pieces in a space are properly connected to each other. In interior design we play with that scale and balance to create tension and movement.

One of my favorite things to do in a space is to use an oversized light fixture. This creates tension and draws your eyes up and around the room. It also will highlight tall ceilings and draw attention to tray or coffered ceilings. When using a large light fixture you add a great deal of weight to the space. This needs to be balanced throughout the room. One way to do this is to make sure that you use a large area rug with an open design. This grounds the room and adds depth. The furniture that you place in the room also need to continue in the same scale as the light fixture. For instance if you have a large wrought iron chandelier this should be balanced with heavy, solid wood pieces. Keep away from light feeling pieces. This is not the time for a mirrored table. Another place that is going to add depth and balance for the room are the window treatments. For this look draperies are the ideal. By using a tacked at the top prong pleat you will draw the eyes back up. By hanging these treatments on a heavy wood rod with fantastic finials the chandelier will be perfectly balanced. The weight is moved around the room, and there is less need for lots of accessories. No room needs to look like the inside of a consignment store. Fewer larger objects create depths and strength. They also welcome you into the room because it allows you to breath. There needs to be empty spaces on the walls and around the room. You need to be able to feel welcome to move around the room. If there are too many accessories especially small accessories the room will just feel cluttered not finished.

So when designing a room think big. Think fewer larger pieces that have substance. One large painting is usually better than three small ones. If you walk into the space and you just breathe easily you have achieved balance. If you look around the space and you are unsettled remove an object.

Comfortable Beach House

Comfortable Beach House

The use of the large cage light fixtures balance the weight of the rustic table. By leaving open space the room has depth while also welcoming you into the space. Your eye moves around the entire space in a calming way. This is a room that you want to be in and entertain in.

2 Comments on “Scale and Balance

  1. Sara,
    Great article on scale and balance. I suspect it’s one of the most overlooked areas of space planning. Always look forward to your next article.


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