The question I hear the most is, do you think I am ordering the right size bracket?  To answer that question effectively, my response ends up being a barrage of questions in return. There are many variables to consider when selecting the appropriate size bracket for your porch: shape, surface area, volume, background and, most importantly, visual effect. Selecting a bracket size strictly on a numeric calculation can often lead you to a bracket that appears too small in its space.  That’s why I recommend determining visual size versus actual size for your bracket.

Visual size is exactly how it sounds. It is the amount of space that appears to be taken up by the bracket. It is how our eye views the object in its setting. It’s similar to that statement on your side mirrors: “Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear.” Because of shape, surface area, volume and background contrast, a particular bracket may need to be 15 inches tall to visually look the same size as a 12 inch bracket. 

First things first. What needs to be considered when determing visual size is how much space you want the bracket to fill and how big of a statement you want to make with the bracket. Then, you need to take into consideration the design of the bracket. Does the shape of the bracket curve inward? Does it curve outward? How heavy is the overall design? Are there many cutouts that make it appear lighter? Will the bracket have a stong contrasting color to its background? All of these factors play a role in determing the actual size needed to reflect the visual affect desired. (See image below.)

Contrasting colors make a bold statement, but can create a visual problem for thin and light brackets with a busy background. The wrong size bracket can easily get lost against a busy background even if left in its natural white state. Take the same bracket and paint it yellow and install it on a mostly dark blue house and you’ll see a big difference.

Viewing depth also matters when selecting the right size bracket.  Will your bracket be viewed mostly from street level and straight ahead or are you up on a hill or you have a second story? If the bracket is viewed from a steep angle (on a hill or second level), then you should consider a larger, thicker bracket that will be more visible from all angles.  Corbels for soffits are usually very popular for this reason.  A thinner bracket could be lost visually when viewed from certain angles.

Last, and certainly not least, your personal taste and style should be considered when selecting your bracket. Personal taste is as varied as snowflakes.  Your’s may be big and bold, where someone else may enjoy a more subtle and conservative statement.

Whatever your style, taking into consideration all the factors of visual weight and appearance will certainly increase your chance that your finished project ends up as you envisioned it.

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