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Proportions and Optical Illusions

proportionsandopticalillusionsProportions of a space and everything within it are extremely important and often overlooked by many people.

The sizes of your furniture, appliances, artwork and lighting should typically be in proportion to the overall size of your space. If you have a large room with a tiny sofa & tiny fireplace in it, clearly the overall proportions will look wrong. Similarly if you have an oversized sofa in a small living room, besides the obvious practicality issues, it will simply look wrong. These are extremes, but it’s easy to go wrong with less extreme sizing differences.

As mentioned in our earlier tips, a well planned and presented floorplan and 3D visualisation that includes the items mentioned above will help you greatly in making sure proportions for a space are correct and that your design will look as you expect.

There are a number of optical illusions that can either be used to your advantage during the design process or that can catch you out if you’re not aware of them. They can be used to visually manipulate space rather than physically manipulate it by adjusting walls or ceilings for example, therefore saving a lot of hassle and expense.

The use of colours, tones and patterns to manipulate space is a key design technique which is very effective if done correctly. For instance, warm colours appear to advance, so a room painted red will appear smaller than the same room painted in cool colours, such as blue or green, which tend to recede. Tone can be used to add or detract from this effect. Dark tones, even with cool colours, will advance while light tones will open up a space.

These properties can be used to change the proportion of a space. For instance, if you paint a ceiling in a darker tone than the walls, it will appear lower. If you paint a long, narrow hallway with lighter, cooler colours it will appear more spacious, as well as reflecting more light.

The use of patterns to achieve similar effects is also common. For instance, vertically striped wallpaper on the walls will help counteract the effect of a low ceiling.  Horizontal blinds will make windows appear wider.

At Sunset Interior Design we understand these and many more effects and always use and combine them effectively during the design process.

If you would like any help with your domestic or commercial interior design or decorating projects, however small or large, please contact us and we will be pleased to work with you. We offer a professional, friendly, personal and affordable service to every one of our customers and are here to help you achieve your desired results first time and within budget.

Linda Mills
Sunset Interior Design, Sheffield based interior design and decorating