27th May 2019

Getting your Proportions Right

Our favourite interiors blogger, Jen Bishop, gives her tips on how to work with proportions and getting the most out of the space you have. 

By Jen Bishop, publisher at Australia’s leading interiors and renovating blog, Interiors Addict.

Size matters, as the old adage goes, and that’s definitely true when it comes to interiors! It’s not just what you put in a room but how big it is, especially in the context of the space and everything else that goes with it.

At its most basic, you need to make sure things aren’t too big or too small. A too-small rug can look both mean, and make your room look smaller. A large rug in a small room can actually create the illusion of more space.

The same goes for mouldings. Big rooms and high ceilings can carry off deep mouldings and statement panelling. They’d look odd with slimline skirting and architraves, with doors and windows looking a bit lost.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that smaller rooms can’t carry off more obvious mouldings though. Panelling a small study can create a really interesting, cosy space full of character, which might otherwise look like a featureless, pokey box. It’s like the cliche that you can’t use wallpaper or dark paint colours in a small space because it’ll make them look even smaller. It’s not always true and we don’t always want a space to feel roomy!

No two rooms are the same so feel free to experiment. Using smaller mouldings on a high ceiling will create the illusion of height, and make the room feel taller. And using different profiles for your skirting and architraves can actually create a great, really interesting look, so match-matchy isn’t always the way to go.

“Busy” profiles however, may be best left for larger rooms. And from a practical point of view, higher skirtings may be a good choice to protect your walls from bumps and scratches in high traffic areas. As a mum of two boys, I’m starting to wish I’ done this myself. (Thanks Grandpa, for that remote control car!)

There are heritage considerations too when it comes to skirting size. In Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian homes, skirting boards were all traditionally over 200mm which demonstrated the wealth of the owners and gave a more extravagant look.

You can have fun with proportion too, mixing things up and making a statement by, for example, using an oversized lamp on top of a buffet. And when it comes to vignettes—those deliberate little arrangements of decorative objects to finish off your styling—are good to mix up sizes and heights to create a more interesting story. Nobody wants to look at a group of three vases, for example, of the same size and shape.


If you’re not ready to experiment with space perception when choosing mouldings, sticking to these skirting sizes as recommended by Intrim are a great place to start:

Ceiling Height    Complimentary Skirtings Sizes

To 2.4m                   90-135mm

To 2.7 m                  135-185mm

To 3.0m                   185-230mm

To 3.6m                   285-450mm

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