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Simply Perfect Proportions

With Pinterest, Houzz and HGTV, homeowners have more sources for inspiration than ever before. You may have found, however, that replicating what you see online or on TV isn’t always that simple. Mastering proportion and scale can be especially challenging. Let’s say you fall in love with an oversized vase which looks like it will fit with the colors and textures in your living room. But once it’s there, the vase doesn’t look the way you expected and you don’t know now to make it work.

Let’s say you fall in love with an oversized vase which looks like it will fit with the colors and textures in your living room. But once it’s there, the vase doesn’t look the way you expected and you don’t know now to make it work. Fortunately, designers are experienced not only in dealing with proportion and scale, but in handling multiple elements at once.

Fortunately, designers are experienced not only in dealing with proportion and scale, but in handling multiple elements at once. In the meantime, here are a few tips to help you understand some of the considerations regarding size.

Proportion Tips

1. Less is more

In the home shown here, the rooms are on the smaller side, where it would seem counterintuitive to use oversized pieces. But using smaller pieces can look busy—and can actually make the rooms feel smaller, especially when you add personal belongings to the space.

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2. Keep it simple

Several oversized pieces can create clean, simple lines. We put this principle to work using oversized items as anchors on both sides of the fireplace in the living room.On one side, we have two oversized blown-glass vases with amber, silver

On one side, we have two oversized blown-glass vases with amber, silver and purple tones. The irregular shapes in these beautiful pieces create interest and contrast; you can see through them and you can see the room reflected in them.

On the other side of the fireplace sit two oversized brass lanterns filled with driftwood and greenery; the contents can be switched out seasonally, as well.

The vases on one side and lanterns on the other side establish pattern (two of each, in descending order), balance and simplicity.

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3. Embrace the unexpected

On the mantle above the fireplace rests another oversized piece—a painting of a barn. Its neutral colors pick up the tones in the stone behind it and again, it works to bring simplicity to the space, rather than overly fussy detail.Nearby, just up the stairs, is an unusually spacious landing. A bench and pillows transform it into a special reading or conversation spot. The pair of hammered nickel vases on the window sill repeats the pattern established on either side of the fireplace. Using oversized vases in lieu of a window treatment is unexpected—as is incorporating sleek, modern-shaped vases like these in a farmhouse-style home. Yet because of the other oversized objects nearby, the vases feel distinctive and delightful.

Nearby, just up the stairs, is an unusually spacious landing. A bench and pillows transform it into a special reading or conversation spot. The pair of hammered nickel vases on the window sill repeats the pattern established on either side of the fireplace. Using oversized vases in lieu of a window treatment is unexpected—as is incorporating sleek, modern-shaped vases like these in a farmhouse-style home. Yet because of the other oversized objects nearby, the vases feel distinctive and delightful.

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4. Coordinate pattern and rhythm

Another oversized item is the table lamp in the living room. It’s a powerful light; aside from the overhead can lights, it’s the room’s only light source. The ridges on its ceramic base echo the pieces of wicker in the stunning basket behind the sofa.

This oversized wicker basket, which we’re a bit in love with, features a very large weave along with elegant leather straps. It’s ideal for storing throws, cushions, board games or anything else you want out of sight.

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5. Proximity matters

This home’s dining room is just to the right of the entry. An immense floor mirror—double-framed in weathered wood—is placed opposite the front windows. Measuring seven feet high, it’s a bold piece. And it works perfectly in this space to reflect light and make the room feel larger.

An oversized ceramic vase, with a porous, matte-stone finish, sits atop a table next to the mirror. Other regular-sized items share the small table, including a bottle of wine and a glass vase. But because of the enormous mirror, it was important to have one oversized item on that table, for balance.

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