Decorating in divine proportions: Using the Golden Ratio to create picture-perfect spaces

Apr 27, 2023
Here's how to use the divine proportions to create the perfect space. Source: Getty

Decorating your space can be a great experience, resulting in a perfectly curated haven that represents your own unique personality and style with pieces that bring you joy.

However, when designing the optimum space for you, it’s crucial to strike the perfect balance between aesthetics and clutter-free organization. And as designers and artists know, it’s not always about what pieces you’ve collected, but rather the art of optimising your space.

Also referred to as the divine proportions, the Golden Ratio is known for creating aesthetically pleasing and harmonious designs to help you get the most out of your space. 

So, what is the Golden Ratio and how can you apply it in your home?

What is the Golden Ratio?

The Golden Ratio is a mathematical concept of a ratio of approximately 1:1.618 that’s been used in art, architecture, and design for centuries and shows the symmetrical relationship of two proportions.

When decorating, the Golden Ratio is often used as a guideline for achieving balanced and proportionate arrangements in various elements of design, such as room layout, furniture placement, artwork, colour schemes, and more. 

The concept of the Golden Ratio and how to apply it to your space is best demonstrated through the use of a Golden Rectangle. 

A Golden Rectangle is when a square is removed from one of the sides of the rectangle (with the side length being equal to the shortest side of the rectangle); the remaining rectangle maintains the same proportions as the original rectangle.

Remarkably, this process can be repeated infinitely, resulting in a series of progressively smaller Golden Rectangles. And similarly, by adding a square whose side length is equal to the longest side of the rectangle, the resulting shape approaches the ideal proportions of a Golden Rectangle and the Golden Ratio.

The Golden Ratio can be used in all elements of design.

When these relationships are visually represented on a scale, they form a captivating pattern known as a Golden Spiral. This is a naturally emerging pattern in our world. 

How do I apply the Golden Ratio?

The Golden Ratio is a timeless and versatile tool that can elevate the visual appeal of a space and create the ultimate sense of balance and proportion. However, understanding how to apply it in a real space is key. 

An easier way to look at applying the Golden Ratio is to think of it as the 60/30/10 rule. This rule simplifies the application of the ratio by breaking it down into three key elements: the scale of furniture and structural details, colour scheme, and textural components.

To make it easier for you, we’ve broken down how to apply divine proportions to your decor elements. 

Choosing a colour scheme

Source: Canva

For a truly aesthetic room, the Golden Ratio should be considered in every detail, including the colour scheme, textures and patterns. 

When choosing a colour scheme for a room featuring two colours, the dominant colour should cover approximately 60 per cent of the surfaces, while the complementary secondary accent colour should cover around 40 per cent. If the room has three colours, you can break it down into even smaller ratios, such as 60/30/10.

When applying this theory to your room design, start with colours. Choose one colour to be the dominant colour, applying it to the room through the paint on your walls and larger furniture pieces, covering around 60 per cent of the space. 

Select another colour to be the secondary colour, which can be introduced through textiles such as curtains and rugs, covering approximately 30 per cent of the space. 

Finally, use the third colour for accents and accessories, covering about 10 per cent of the space, to create a balanced and cohesive look that appears effortless.

Room layout & choosing the right furniture

Source: Canva

Oftentimes, when decorating a space, we often find that the layout of the room can either feel too empty or too cluttered. If this is something you’ve faced with your decor, the golden ratio may come in handy!

Firstly, measure the floor space in the room you’re decorating, and then measure the floor space covered by furniture. 

If the furniture occupies more than 60 per cent of the floor area, the room may feel over-furnished. On the other hand, if it occupies much less than 60 per cent, the room may feel too minimal and unwelcoming. 

Ideally, aim for a layout that leaves around 40 per cent of the floor space clear, striking the perfect balance.

When deciding your furniture placement, consider the balance of your furnished and unfurnished space to fill any gaps or remove any items that may be crowding the room.

For example, in a living room, the couch usually takes up roughly 60 per cent of the space, and a coffee table approximately 40 per cent. 

To maintain a balanced feel, when choosing a sofa, look for a coffee table that is about two-thirds the length of the sofa. If the coffee table is larger, it may feel too big and overpowering, while a smaller coffee table may feel out of place and more like a side table.

Decorating your walls

Source: Getty

When choosing artwork for a space, consider investing in a piece that is either one-third or two-thirds the size of the wall space to create a visually balanced look. If you prefer larger statement artwork, opting for the two-thirds ratio can be a great choice.

Additionally, when it comes to hanging pictures, the golden ratio can also guide you in getting the picture height just right.

Pictures should be hung closer to the furniture below them, rather than to the ceiling above; be sure to follow the guideline of 40 per cent of the blank wall below and 60 per cent above. This can help create a harmonious balance between the artwork and the surrounding elements in the space.

Remember, be flexible! 

While the golden ratio is a valuable guideline in interior design, it’s important to remember that it’s not a strict rule. 

There may be instances where deviating from the golden ratio can still result in a visually appealing space. Factors such as personal preferences, the unique dimensions and layout of your space, and the overall aesthetic you’re aiming for should also be considered.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and make adjustments based on your individual style and functional requirements.

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