The Da Vinci Code of Interior Design: Discover This Secret of Home Décor

There is a hidden code within the world of interior design. This secret goes by many names; the divine proportion, extreme and mean ratio, and the golden cut. The Greeks called it Phi, and it has been used by great artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Georges Pierre Seurat, and Salvador Dalí. This secret of artistic design is most commonly known as the Golden Ratio. The ratio is expressed as 1 to 1.61803398. You might be wondering what this has to do with interior design. Well, harnessing this proportion can give your home an uncanny sense of balance and placement. To obtain the visual benefits of the golden ratio, you do not need to follow the proportion exactly, but understanding how it creates balance can be a secret weapon in your design repertories.


The most common representation of the Golden Ratio is the Golden Rectangle. When a rectangle’s sides adhere to this ratio, it can be infinitely divided into smaller, perfectly proportioned rectangles and squares. This continuous spiral is what you are trying to create in your space.


The ratio presents itself throughout nature, from seashells to your own arm. You are surrounded by the golden ratio.


Without getting too deep into the mathematics, the ratio can be reduced down to a 60-30-10 ratio. Those numbers represent percentages of the room that should be set aside for specific interior elements. You don’t have to strictly follow these dimensions, but they will definitely help you allocate the proper amount of visual space to various design pieces.


60% of the room should be reserved for furniture, windows, and other major focal points. Limiting the space like this allows the room to breathe and allows the visual flow of the room to circulate. Over fill the room and it becomes cluttered. Under fill the room and a void is created, making the room feel less homey and comfortable. The Golden Ratio will help you find that perfect balance.

30% of the visual field should be a light color. Beige, ivory, white, and bright earth tones can be incorporated into the ceiling, furniture, and/or hanging art pieces to fulfill this requirement. This further opens up the space, keeping the visual flow moving and allowing the focal points to draw the attention they deserve.

The final 10% should be used to accent the space. Vibrant colors such as red and orange make great addition. This is necessary to add pop and focus to the space. As we saw in the continuous spiral above, the Golden Ratio directs your field of vision inward as the squares get smaller. The bright bursts of colors can be used to drive this visual effect.


Using this room as an example, the golden ratio is put great use to create a harmonious space. You can clearly see how the area rug, sofas, and furniture take up most of the visual space without dominating it. The room looks full but there is plenty of space for your eyes to explore. The light color of the walls, ceiling, sofas, and rug border give the room an expansive quality.  The red in the pillows and rug help to direct your vision inward, adhering to the continuous quality of the Golden Ratio.


The Golden ratio can also be implemented by choosing decorative items that adhere to the proportions of that rule. The accents you choose can even be designed according to the Golden Ratio. Drawer handles, rails and stiles in wainscot paneling, and even pillows can create a more pleasing setting when they are configured to fit within these dimensions. Picking a rug, for instance, that fit the 1 X 1.618 ratio can balance the look and feel of the room by subtly directing the viewer’s focus. Surya’s ART-206 area rug from their Art Studio collection comes in a 3’3”X5’3”. The 63” length divided by the 39” width comes within a couple decimals of the Golden Ratio and the bright bursts of color make it perfect for fulfilling the 10% accent requirement discussed before.


Just as the historic treasures created by classical artists, Surya’s Ancient Treasures collection features rugs with those golden dimensions. Because the Ancient Treasures collection features traditional designs such as intricately decorated borders and floral motifs, it could be a perfect focal point to draw visual interest inward.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to create a well-balanced room, not to exactly recreate the golden rectangle over and over again. If you use these dimensions as guidelines, you will soon have an incredible space that is open, interesting, and fashionable. Share this decorating guide on Facebook to reveal the secrets of the Golden Ratio.

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1 Comment

  1. This is an awesome article! I had no idea these proportion rules existed, but it makes a ton of sense now

    Thanks for the great write-up

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