April 26, 2011

tz trend review: experiments in scale

Do you remember how Alice in Wonderland grew and shrank after she fell down the rabbit hole?  Well, just call me Alice.

The Cordell Chair from C.R. Laine looks perfectly traditional …

… until you realize how large it really is in comparison to the sofa!

Conversely, these Ansley Chairs at Hickory Chair are rather petite – just look at the teensy back legs – compared to the nearby desk and ottoman.

Or how about this combo?  Mr. Brown paired a breakfast-sized table with a single chair (look for the pillow peeking above the table on the left) and a high-backed settee.

To sum it up, at High Point Market, there was a lot of playing with proportion!  Never fear, though – these experiments in scale aren’t just a flight of fancy.  If you step back and think, you realize that the somewhat unusual proportions are actually very functional.

Take the Cordell Chair, for instance.  Can’t you imagine curling up in that chair with a book … and perhaps a toddler? Although the Ansley Chairs may be petite, they are scaled for comfort and low enough that they don’t interfere with the view into the room.  Or how about putting your children – and their friends – on that Mr. Brown settee for supper?  With some child-friendly upholstery, I think it would nicely confine my twins and their mess!

I also enjoyed seeing designers experiment with proportion within the confines of a traditionally scaled piece.  A perfect example is the Bradstreet Chair – in most respects, a classic spool chair but with enlarged detailing on the arms.

Even accessories got the oversized treatment.  The size of the shade on this floor lamp from Arteriors Home makes it a showstopper!

Oh, and don’t forget patterns.  I’ve already shown you plaids, botanicals and birds that were super-sized.

So what’s the key to making this trend work?  Like so many things in design – it’s all in the mix.  If everything in your home is big, bigger, and biggest … a visitor might just wonder where you are hiding the NBA player who really lives there.  (For the record, I am no relation to Tyler Zeller.  He’s 7’0″ and I’m 5’3″ – you do the math.)  But if everything is super teensy tiny … well, would you be comfy in a child’s playhouse?  (I do fondly remember Barbie’s Dream Cottage circa 1983 … although I changed out the furniture.)  A variety of sizes (within reason, of course!) – in furniture, accessories and patterns – is what makes a home beautiful and practical.

Do you have any over- or under-sized pieces in your home?


  • Amanda
    Apr. 26, 2011
    I think side chairs keep getting better and better!
  • diane
    Apr. 26, 2011
    Love that chair. I also do a regular post on our blog called "Go big or go home" that you might enjoy. http://www.onlinefabricstore.net/blog/home-decor-go-big-or-go-home/ I like this new trend of playing with scale although it does need to be done very carefully in order to work. Fun post...thanks.
  • Laura Casey Interiors
    Apr. 26, 2011
    No oversized pieces and my husband is almost 6'6". Getting scale right is one of the most important design elements there is. thanks for looking at the furniture, always interesting.
  • Rae
    Apr. 26, 2011
    I don't have any oversize pieces, but I do have undersize chairs (in a lovely cream fabric complimented with peacocks and peahens) and they are fabulous in my kitchen. The girls love having a sitting area apart from the table that's comfy and yet proximate to me while I cook and clean up. When we move house, I'm putting them in Katie's bedroom to create a reading nook.
  • Naomi@DesignManifest
    May. 02, 2011
    Interesting post, Traci! It's all about how they are paired. I don't like the huge arm chairs if they dwarf everything else in the room.

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