(480) 946-9601 | (877) 788-AIID info@aiid.edu

I have always been a fan of good design that is proportional to itself and its surroundings. As such, I have always advocated for applying the Golden Mean in our everyday design.

The golden mean, also known as the golden ratio, is a common mathematical ratio found in nature, that is used to create pleasing compositions in art. It is widely regarded and used by artists and graphic designers to bring harmony and structure to their work.

But, did you know that it is also integral to interior design?

Here are points to note about the Golden Mean, and how it can be applied to interior design to ensure the creation of convenient and functional spaces.

What is the Golden Mean?

Adobe Stock Image

The golden mean is closely related to the Fibonacci sequence, and is used to describe the perfectly symmetrical relationship between two proportions.

Without getting too technical, the golden mean is approximately equal to a 1:1.618 ratio, as is most easily illustrated by the golden rectangle. Here if you cut off a square with side length equal to the shortest side of the rectangle, the rectangle that is left will have the same proportions as the original rectangle – this can then continue infinitely. Plus, if you plot the relationships in sales, it creates the golden spiral, which often occurs in the natural world.

The Golden Ratio in History, and in Use Today.

Many believe that the golden ratio has been in use for at least 4,000 years in art and design. Two of the most famous examples are Leonardo Di Vinci’s Vitruvian Man and The Mona Lisa. It can also be clearly observed in numerous examples of Ancient Roman architecture, and some art historians even argue that the Ancient Egyptians used the ratio to build the pyramids.

Adobe Stock Image (Editorial Use) – Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci at the Louvre Museum, April 15, 2015 in Paris, France.

Today, the golden ratio can be observed in all areas of art and design – including interior design – to create interesting, functional and beautiful designs.

How can the Golden Ratio be Applied to Design?

1 – Ceiling Height

If you are able to work with clients from the early drafting stage, it is important to consider the proportions of the room as a whole. These proportions directly affect the functionality, feeling and aesthetic of the space as a whole. The key thing to remember is that the ceiling height should never be greater than the width of the room.

Adobe Stock Image

2 – Furniture and Accessory Placement

Whenever possible, if against a wall, furniture and accessory placement should take up ~60% of the width of the wall space. One should also consider placement of accessories like art, plants and mirrors to match these proportions. Accessory heights (e.g. faux plant heights) should also take up roughly 60% of wall height where possible, and where the size of the room allows for it. A designer should also consider the height of lamps and hanging ceiling lights, and the proportions of color to patterns.

3 – Drapery Placement in Relation to Ceilings

The proportions of drapery above a window can have a significant effect on the final look of a design. They should always be hung in the ‘golden mean’ ratio in relation to the height of the ceiling, and the size and placement of the window. Altogether, they look and function great when hung by applying the ratio to the wall space above the window.

A good design studio should always go in depth into looking at the application the golden mean at every stage and type of design, in order to create functional and beautiful spaces.

Design a Great Day!