Before COVID-19, I remember traveling to New York City. I had the opportunity to fly first class, and the difference between coach and first class was significant. It made my flying experience extremely pleasant. Rather than feeling eager to get to my destination, I relaxed and enjoyed the flight.
Of course, the plane is no bigger in first class than it is in coach, but the use of the space is significantly different. Instead of three seats across, there are only two. Each seat is larger and designed for luxury and comfort.
It occurred to me that this is no different from the experience we have in our own homes.
It’s not always the size of our homes that needs attention. It’s the way in which we think about furnishing our homes. There are so many things to consider when placing furniture that often the correct size and scale of the pieces can be overlooked.
And then there is the flip side to this idea.
The day before my trip to New York, I was invited to a magnificent home that was newly built and decorated. The rooms were huge and open to each other. The large windows exposed breathtaking views. But I was disappointed to see that the furniture chosen for this home did not suit the architecture.
The furniture was not congruent with the grandeur of the home. The proportions were in conflict because the furniture scale was too small and looked as though it was brought from their previous home. It wasn’t. This incongruity also made the furniture look dated and out of place.
Often, we successfully ignore the architecture of a home — the very thing which can give it interest, style and individuality, using colors, textures and accessories. This can happen when combining periods to give an eclectic look.
However, when it comes to size and scale, it is critical that the scale of the architecture not overwhelm the furnishings or vice versa. Having too much space and too large pieces can be cumbersome to live with. Having furnishings that are too small will make your pieces look like they don’t belong.
Another misunderstanding of space is when every inch of wall space is filled. That brings the perimeter of a room in, and makes it appear smaller. This happens when every wall has a picture on it or a small wall area has a picture that is too large for the space.
Just because there is a wall, you don’t have to hang something on it. Indeed it is important that there be empty spaces in between your art, so your eye can rest and you can better appreciate the pieces that
When I was in New York, I visited several people who live in apartments. I was surprised at how little space there was to keep things that weren’t absolutely essential. Yet, the apartment dwellers made the small space work for them.
Space — too much or too little — is something we must consider. Are we using it to its best advantage?
One of the first considerations when beginning a project is good space planning. Consider the space you have, then fill it with what works for you. Then, of course, decide what looks good. This all has to be successfully integrated with the architecture, and only then will we have created a successful space.
To provide us well-being we have to feel good in all our spaces. JN
Barbara Kaplan offers personal interior design guidance, ideas and solutions for free in her monthly Zoom class. Email Barbara@BarbaraKaplan.com to claim a seat.