Design Concepts: Golden Mean

Having an understanding of the Golden Mean of proportion will help you enjoy the beauty around you and help you understand how you can create that beauty in your home. We know the world is not perfect but if we can understand what the Golden Mean is - the ideal relationship of things to themselves - we're more likely to achieve real success in creating beautiful surroundings.

Since Renaissance times, the Golden Mean as well as the Golden Rectangle have been extensively used in art and architecture.

Not just artists and architects have been fascinated by the Golden Mean, but mathematicians (and more recently, readers of "The Da Vinci Code,) have been fascinated by mathematical proportions and the Golden Mean. It's the basis of much of the artwork of Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. The Greeks' Golden Rectangle and Golden Mean are therefore excellent guides for anyone interested in decorating.

Today for architects and designers, the Golden Mean has become a standard proportion used:

  • in facades of buildings,
  • in first story to second story proportion,
  • in the dimensions of paintings and picture frames,
  • in planning a room or elevating a wall and the sizes of the windows or the spaces between or above or below.

    Definition of Golden Mean:is a formula for dividing a line at between 2/3 and 1/2 its length. This formula is believed to result in the segments being satisfactory proportions, believed to be pleasing to the human being.

    Definition Of The Golden Rectangle: is any rectangle in which the ratio of the short side to the long side is 3 to 5 or of course any extensions of this ratio such as 4 x 6, 6 x 9, etc.

    Example of Golden Rectangle in an area rug, a typical interior decor item:

    This Ocean Corsaro area rug from Gumps San Francisco measures 4' x 6', it is an example of the golden rectangle.

    Determining the Golden Rectangle: Let's say you are considering adding on a room addition and your available area is 18' in width and plenty of land, what should be the length of your room? Divide the 18' by 2 and arrive at 9'. Add the 9' to the 18' and you have 27'. Therefore the dimensions of your new room should be 18' x 27'.

    When you know good proportion, you can see why an area rug is so satisfying and why a long hall gives you claustrophobia.

  • Interior designers have ways to correct flawed proportions in many instances. The hallway shown in the above photograph has been architecturally corrected by the beautiful archways. If you have a long narrow hallway, a less expensive idea is to place a mirror at the end of the hall to bring in light and visually widen the space. You can either hang a traditional mirror in a frame or mirror the whole wall from cornice to baseboard.

  • The Design Concept Series endeavors to help you bring more beauty and harmony into your home by helping you learn to see better and by helping you to know how to incorporate important design principles

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