Furniture Scale

Alright, in the interest of promoting some postings and discussion; here is a topic I don't think has been addressed.
We all know that furniture scale to human dimensions is important, particularly for tables, chairs and desks and that various rules of thumb have been developed over the years to address how to scale those objects for the human form.
My question relates to scaling furniture for a room. A piece that looks good in a magazine or other setting may be way out of scale in a woodworker's intended application (either too large or too small for a room). In the past, I have resorted to mock-ups and tape outlines to help determine scale and found that the tape outline is only a poor indicator of how things will look -- the mockup is a much higher fidelity measure, but takes more time. I have also been burned by building something from plans that later look too large in my setting. Are there any good rules of thumb for what looks good in a particular setting other than a mockup?
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Mark & Juanita wrote:

Well there's always cardboard and duct tape for a QnD mock up of the basic size.
One solution I'm playing with is using Google's SketcUp. You can do the room the piece is going to go in in 3-D, make a 3-D drawing of the piece, or a sketchy version with just the height, length and depth and position it in the room. Then you can "walk through" the room and see how things look.
Head over to www.go-2-school.com click the videos and watch "Kitchen in 20 minutes" - several times - AFTER you've downloaded and installed SketchUp (which is FREE). With SketchUp opened, you can watch the video and play with the ideas right in SketchUp.
Hell, Google has a library of already made 3-D "components" (models) you can download for FREE. Something about the size of what you have in mind should be somewhere in that vast library - and you can tweek the model you download to the size of your piece.
SketchUp is a pretty powerful 3-D application that's pretty easy to begin using. Getting good with it on the other hand, does have a learning curve to climb.
charlie b
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charlieb wrote:

Yep, making physical models is an effective mechanism. There are times, however, when this is impractical. For example, designing an entertainment center for a space that already contains some version of the electronics. Certainly one can move things around temporarily, but this is not an ideal solution.

I can see this as a reasonable solution that solves the issues identified above. I did a version of this using VariCAD and Blender (since Sketchup doesn't run under Linux) for my end tables.
I guess what I'm poking at is the question of whether there is anything resembling the rules of thumb for human scale for furniture (e.g. 24" per diner at a table) that would be a good first order assessment for a piece to fit in a room. I was thinking of this as an extension to the human-scaling of furniture (x" of space between furniture pieces, fill no more than y% of wall space, pieces should be no larger than some dimension of a room, etc.) It seems like some general rules of esthetics would be available as a first order scaling estimate.
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Mark & Juanita wrote:

snip

I suspect that there's an Interior Design book or two with that type of info. I know there are books on ergonomics that provide counter top height, dining table height, chair height, sofa height, width per person etc.
I doubt howere that there are any rules of thumb about how much wall length can have a sideboard or table.
But there must be some rules of thumb on scale, given a context. Maybe you should put together some first cuts at some of them and see what this group comes up with.
charlie b
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charlieb wrote:

That's a good idea, I'll have to take a look at some of those books to see what they have.

If I could come up with some, I'd not have needed to ask the question. :-) My problem is that I do OK with the esthetics of design for a piece, but have problems with scale. I tend to build too big for the space and am trying to overcome that problem.
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