Interior Trends 2012 – Supersize That Please

images left and right are from SFGirlbyBay by stylist Sara Sorgen, center is a thomaspaul rug

thomaspaul rug

One of the best ways to create impact is expressed in  the growing trend toward over-sized graphic scale.  Graphic elements with presence may seem like a hallmark of the 2000’s, but at the risk of becoming undercurrent, not much is really new. Creating impact through monumental scale predates the Egyptian Sphinx.

Scale is a reference to the size of an object in proportion to its environment. People who love convention maintain that only apartment-sized furnishings should be used in small spaces. But no one ever achieved a memorable design by working entirely inside the box. Here are 10 ways to make large scale work in any space.

A room made “wow!” by selective large scale interest – image from

The truth is that over-sized elements can actually transform a smaller spaces, giving the illusion of spaciousness, and coziness as well. Here are a few tips for maximizing impact over-size graphic prints, or large scale elements.

1) Super-size a lighting element – not ALL your lighting elements! You don’t want a space that reads like an ode to Alice in Wonderland. But if you have an open floor plan, an over-sized chandelier in the dining zone, and an over-sized floor lamp and/or mirror create flow and continuity.

Large scale lighting that is transparent or translucent has very little visual weight, irregardless of size, creating impact without regret.

oversize floor lamp; I think by Crate and Barrel

2) Add graphic pattern to your fifth wall – the floor. Area Rugs are solid design investments. A beautiful rug is a care-free work of art that you can walk on. When you want to change your color scheme, or change out tired furnishings, simply move your rug to reinvent another room story.

Amy Butler, Emma Gardner and thomaspaul are just a few vivid lines that feature over-sized graphic scale pattern.

If your budget won’t wrap around the area rug on your wish list, reclaim a shabby floor with color, an over-sized stencil of choice – and several coats of polyurethane.

Graphic Stenciled floor – image from House of Turquoise

You can find amazing stencils at

3) Large scale wall art turns up the volume in any space, but a large scale oil comes with a price tag to scale. No worries – there are some cost effective alternatives for creating impact on a budget…

over-scale art – House Beautiful

…like a beautiful over-sized wall panel ( )

an over-scale flower mural – image from

or personalized wallpaper of you and yours with your own family wallpaper:

family wallpaper is a hot trend – many companies can help create the wall of you and yours! image from HGTV

There are allot of sources online dedicated to this growing trend.

If you can’t go big, go gestalt – the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Simple symmetry in arraignment evokes the feel of a large piece of art from an assembly of smaller pieces.

A symmetrical art display from Apartment Therapy’s blog

A large scale mirror used in a romantic bath

4) Over-scale mirrors are not news to designers – they not only create drama and amplify limited light sources, they double the visual space they occupy.

A peer mirror can set your budget back, at a cost ranging between $5K – $50K. Once again, go gestalt. A group of assembled mirrors look fantastic for less. You can create the frame by mitering 4 moldings at 45 degree angles. You can even customize your look by antiquing the mirrors, ( it’s really not difficult: ) or amplify visual impacting by hanging a smaller painting at the center.

An assembly of small mirrors, featured in Elle Decor Magazine

5) One of the best ways to infuse graphic pattern is wallpaper.

Mei Chiang Dragon Wallpaper by Schumacher – my personal weakness.

6)  Large scale print wallpaper can be expensive, both in high ticket cost and from the waste of matching large format repeats. It can also be visually over-whelming. One way to minimize cost and maximize impact is limiting graphic statements to a well-placed focal wall.

Another way, is using inexpensive neutral striping run at juxtaposing formats on the same wall. This is a great way to set the stage for that over-scale chandelier, by visually increase the room dimensions.

striped wall paper hung in juxtaposing formats – image from fresh home magazine

7) Floor-to-ceiling shelves in almost any space create the illusion of height.

Tall kitchen cupboards –

This is not a look for the faint of heart, but if your floors are nothing to write home about, try this designer trick for a dramatic home run. By uniting the color of the painted floors with the recesses of built in shelves, a large scale impact is achieved while preserving the airy, light feel with light walls – color is always your cheapest tool!

Great shelves, made large scale by high impact color! image from centsationalgirl bog.

9) An over-size ottoman creates intimacy in a room that has high ceilings or tall windows – even a room whose square floor footage is limited.

10) Last but not least – re-purposing something that might otherwise be thrown away with a large scale pattern transforms any credenza or dresser into an instant focal point. Get the look with paint and stencils, or wall paper leftovers applied to drawers.

from Martha Stewart, a damask stenciled dresser

Think big – supersize your decor!