The Golden Ratio

How to design your home harmoniously
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How come that some images, buildings or spaces in their charisma have harmonious effect on us? What confers a nautilus shell or the leaf of a tree this perfection? And what, you're going to ask you now, all this has to do with interior design? All that you will learn in this article!

1:1,618 equals harmony

The fact that harmony is subject to a law of nature was already known to the Pythagoreans in the 6th century BC. It was they who tried to express this "divine law" in numbers and thus to make it measurable – and to take advantage of it in this way, for example in architecture and art.

The Golden Spiral template for interior layout

The Golden Spiral is a handy template for your interior layout

The basis for harmony is the numeral ratio of 1: 1.618. It describes the harmonious relationship of two routes to one another – the Golden Ratio.

Look once at the ratio between the length of your hand to the length of your forearm ... Exactly! Also here the "divine proportions" are at work.

Motive guidelines

Harmonious image guidelines

There are several mathematical approaches to calculate the Golden Ratio. But no fear! We do not need the 8th or 3rd place after the decimal point for our interior design. If you roughly keep the ratio 1: 1.61, you're already on the safe side. Need an example?

The image composition

The results of the application of the Golden Ratio can be very well represanted on the basis of landscape photographs.

Centrally placed mountain

Strong presence: A centrally placed mountain

The picture of a wide landscape with a mountain right in the middle of the image attracts attention magically and exclusively on the mountain. The rest on the left and right of it becomes an unimportant, almost disturbing side thing.

The same landscape, taken in accordance with the principle of the Golden Ratio, displaced the mountain in the right or left third of the image area. The image now radiates harmony. And also all the details of the landscape are perceived by the eye. The image is now balanced and exudes calm, ideal for intense viewing.

That's what we want for our living spaces – Balance und Entspannung.

Mountains in the left or right third of the image

Harmonious: Mountains in the left or right third of the image

Where to place the sofa now?

Following the same principle you can easily find the best place for your new sofa and also for all the other furniture. Even if you do not want to measure accurately with the ruler to the centimeter, it is no problem. Just keep the approximate ratio of 2:3.

For this first divide the room into two areas – one as large as about two-thirds of the room size, the other as lagre as about one-third. The larger area hosts the most important furniture and describes the main use of the space – in our case, a living room. The smaller area serves as a zone for example shelves or a second, smaller sitting room or whatever you like.

Sofa in the interior layout

Where to put the sofa? The interior layout has to be right ...

When choosing furniture you should also act in accordance with 2: 3 ratio – this is leading to a harmonious all-round result. Ideal, therefore, is if the new sofa takes up about two-thirds the length of the entire seating area and the accompanying coffee table has about two-thirds of the length of the sofa.

Colour design in no time

In the interior design it is also said that a well-designed space should include three colour components in a ratio of 60-30-10: first a predominant colour, which should account for about 60% of the area, so for example, on the walls and on the floor. The second colour with a share of about 30% usually is contributed by the furniture. The remaining 10% should remain for a powerful colour, reserved for accents. They are gladly found for example in pillows, tablecloths, curtains and pictures.

Quite simply. Actually. But you're not sure which colours go together? Which combinations are really harmonious? Again, the principle of 1:1,61 can help you here!

Harmonious colour combinations

Harmonious colour combinations are no coincidence

Research has shown that those colours on a palette that are placed apart from each other in the ratio 1:1.61, from an aesthetic point of view, often fit together outstandingly. Now there are programs to determine these colour combinations easily and they are used, among others, also by interior designers – such as the PhiMatrix Golden Ratio Colour Palette Generator, which you can use for free for 14 days when downloading the PhiMatrix 1,618 professional software ( So you do not have to spend much money and you can try a wide variety of colour combinations!

The icing on the cake – the decor

Once you've equipped the room with the matching colours and furniture, only the decoration is missing. A great photo on canvas, a beautiful photo on acrylic (or more), some curtains on the windows...

Keep the two-thirds rule in mind. If you want to, for example, hang a large picture, first choose the wall, where it can best come into play. Divide this wall in your mind into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. The wall is now screened in nine equal fields. The middle of the field in the center is the right place for your picture.

Tic-Tac-Toe from matches

Imagine your wall with nine equally sized fields, as in Tic-Tac-Toe

If you want to hang several pictures on the wall, concentrate on the four intersections surrounding the middle field. Many galleries present their works in this manner. By varying frame sizes exciting wall arrangements can be created.

In the window decoration, which also holds a protective, shielding function, it is advantageous if it covers approximately 60% of the window area. The result is the so-called "Golden Rectangle", which represents the spirit of "divine proportions".

Exceptions confirm the rule

No rule without exception! This applies to everything, and especially when it comes to individual design. Your taste, your intuition should always be the priority. The instructions that you have read here should only represent a rough guideline. Every good interior designer will always have it in his plans and in his mind, but he will also know when to break the rules or when he wants to do so.

Custom interior

Custom is still the most beautiful

If you have, for example, in your living room, a centrally placed fireplace on a wall, then that is a central focal point one can not and must not ignore. If you have the feeling that a fourth colour is missing in your room, then listen to your instincts! Design, layout, and especially the design of the own living environment should be fun! The mathematics may at times also remain outside.

Try it out...

Start right away and look at your own four walls – in which rooms you feel particularly well? It may well be that you have designed it quite unconsciously in accordance with the classical theory of harmony...

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