Using the Golden Ratio in Your Home
There is a specific division of space, called the Golden Ratio that creates visual harmony in an environment that is really quite amazing. The Greeks discovered it initially wayyyy back about 3,500 years ago (1800 B.C.E.) and artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Salvadore Dali, Michaelangelo, and Sandro Botticelli all used it in their masterpieces. Structures like the Parthenon, Taj Mahal, and many others were built using the proportions
Just as the Golden Ratio is found in the beauty of nature (plants, animals, insects, etc.) it can also be used to create balance, harmony and beauty in art and design. It can be used in interior design as well, and it’s as simple in its essence and elegant in its application as one can imagine. Like the rule of thirds, this mathematical concept can be applied to your interior designs to make them more visually appealing.
This “golden” number, 1.61803399 is also represented by the Greek letter Phi (pronounced “fee.”) The Golden Ratio is also called the Golden Proportion, Golden Mean, Golden Section (Latin: sectio aurea), Divine Proportion, and Divine Section (Latin: sectio divina.) It was initially written about by Euclid in Elements around 300 B.C.E.
What is the golden ratio?
The golden ratio is probably most easily understood as the proportions 1:1.618, although the mathematical equation at work here is much more complicated than that.
SKIP THIS PART IF YOU HATE MATH
The ratio itself comes from the Fibonacci sequence, a naturally occurring sequence of numbers that can be found practically everywhere in nature. The Fibonacci sequence is easy to remember. Starting with 0 and 1, add the last number of the sequence to the number that came before it to create the next number in the sequence. So it goes 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, and so on to infinity. From the Fibonacci sequence, the Greeks developed the golden ratio to better express the difference between any two numbers in succession within the sequence.
The golden ratio isn’t exact when it comes to the Fibonacci sequence, but it’s pretty close
Creating A Golden Rectangle
Start by creating a rectangle with golden proportions: 1.618 wide to the ratio of 1 tall:
Now add a perfect square on the right side, leaving behind a rectangle on the left side — another golden rectangle!
Take the new rectangle and create another perfect square inside it. You can achieve another golden rectangle
Once again, take the new smaller rectangle and create a perfect square inside, and you’ve created yet another golden rectangle
Using The Formula in Your Interiors
Let’s use the Golden Ratio to create a room that’s 12’ wide. If it were in a Golden Ratio, then it would either be about 19’6” or 8’6” long, depending upon if you use the 1.618 on the width or the length of the room. That’s why a 5” x 8” framed art piece works to create balance, as it hits the Golden Ratio pretty closely.
Obviously, not all of us have a room that’s in perfect proportion to the Golden Ratio, so let’s explore other ways within a room that you can create this proportion.
Selecting Your Color Scheme
Color is a great way to start using the Golden Ratio in your home. Two color scheme: You should use a majority, say 3/5 of your dominant color, about a third to 2/5 of a secondary hue.
Three color scheme: Use a majority, again about 3/5 of your dominant color, and about 1/3 of your secondary hue, and then add splashes of your tertiary color throughout your room.
Selecting Furniture for Your Space
Making certain that there is a balance between furnished spaces (where the various pieces of furniture are placed) and unfurnished spaces (the space between the furniture pieces) is important. Again, you want about 3/5 of the space to be used for your furnishings, whether it’s sofas, loveseats, occasional chairs, side tables floor lamps, and/or a coffee table. Making certain that the pieces all are proportioned the same is also important. An example would be selecting two matching 9’ sofas, and placing a 3’x 2’ ottoman would look ill-proportioned- the ottoman/coffee table needs to be
longer as well- probably 2/3 of the length of the sofas, or 6’ long.
One can apply the same principles to styling free-standing shelves, a bookshelf, or a coffee table. Your accessories should take up no more than 3/5 of the space, so choose carefully to pick up color, textures, or your favorite objets’ art that work within the room.
Think about a time when you arranged your furniture, and thought, This just doesn’t feel right. Odds are that the scale or proportion was off. Sometimes, moving something as small as a floor lamp can make the difference. Once you look for the Golden Ratio and practice using it, you’ll find that your furniture arrangements, your accessories, or your vignette of pictures on a wall will improve.
What questions or comments do you have related to the Golden Ratio? We’d love to receive your description and/or photos of your space with a challenging arrangement. Give us a call (253) 693-8227 if we can help.