Going from creating 2-dimensional print advertising in my role as a graphic designer/creative director of a marketing company to creating beautiful, harmonious 3-dimensional spaces as an interior designer has been a logical shift. The artistic concepts of an effective ad are the same as a well-designed home (content, balance, scale, white space and call to action), except now I am able to add texture, mass and light to the palette.
Scale & White Space could essentially be entitled “Balance: Part II” because both are so closely tied to bringing balance to a space, yet they have their own important aspects to consider.
Scale refers to the relative size of one thing to another. By definition alone you can see how this plays a big part in bringing balance to a space. The items you place in a room need to be appropriate to the scale of a room and the other objects in the room. I have often seen people, thinking their room was too small, bring in a large number of small-scale objects. This actually made the room look smaller! A few, well-placed large pieces…accentuated by smaller items in complementary finishes and materials, actually make a space feel larger. It’s the delicate combination of scale and balance that makes the room work.
“White Space” refers to the area around the object of interest and should be considered a part of the overall scale of a focal point. In print, it could be a photo or important text, or the balanced combination of both. Our brains are bombarded by input on a constant basis. I’m not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV) but it is super important to let your brain rest between the influx of information, whether it is digital or print or sound or surroundings. Personally, I believe this is a concept that should be applied to all areas of our lives, but in this instance we’re talking about our living spaces.
What I have heard over and over again from clients is that they’re looking to create a comfortable place to relax and unwind. We’re all busy with kids, work, activities, family…you name it…so our home and, in particular, certain rooms of a home, are our sanctuary. White space in interiors does not necessarily mean that a room must be white with pops of color. It just means that the room has been thoughtfully arranged so certain object or details can have the spotlight, and the other parts of the space are compliments and not competitors to that attention. White space ties in closely with balance as there can be several focal points to a space and the trick is to allow your eye to focus on each and rest in between. Think of it as the matting between art and a decorative frame.
This does not mean that you need a minimalist or contemporary or neutral style. This white space can come from grouping items such as a seating area, a collage of photos, or even using multiple items in a single color family to provide the backdrop of one significant pop of color to take center stage. Even in some Bohemian-style spaces, with the eclectic use of accessories and textures and color, white space can be achieved through the use of one consistent color.
White space could also refer to traffic paths and the general floor plan! Poor use of space…furniture too close to a doorway or too far away from each other to have a conversation or watch TV…can contribute to the internal, unconscious feeling that something is off.
When I design an area for a client, I always make sure I have the sizes of the items that we will be using and place them in a true-to-scale floor plan drawing. This ensures that sufficient white space is accomplished from a top-down level. Then, I move to the white space of the elevation (or standing perspective) so the multi-dimensional space is balanced, in appropriate scale, and has adequate white space for featured areas to be highlighted.