Design Guide: Key Measurements You Need to Know When Decorating Your Home

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On Monday I’ll be outlining my full list of blog goals for 2016 and one of  them is to develop a series called Design Guide. I wrote the first Design Guide series last year, all about sectional sofas.  I’ve been so surprised at the response this blog post and pin has gotten and just how many people are struggling with sectional sofa decorating.  I receive emails weekly (4 this week alone) from people who’ve found the blog post and want additional decorating tips for their sectional.

The Design Guide series will fulfill my desire to share my design knowledge with you so that you can decorate your home with confidence.  If there is a design topic you’d like me to write about just leave me a comment below.

Today’s post is the first installment of  the Design Guide series for 2016 and it’s all about the key measurements you need to know when decorating.  Before you jump into the guide, let me say that while these measurements are ideal in most situations, they won’t work in others.  Every home is different and every design layout and plan requires some adjustments so keep that in mind as you read through the guide.  Your home needs to work for you and your family so make adjustments where they are needed, so they will work for your decor.

FURNITURE PLACEMENT

Dining room

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DINING ROOM FURNITURE:

♦ Allow 36″ – 48″ of space between the back of each dining chair and the wall or furniture behind it to so chairs can be pulled in and out with ease.

♦  The distance between the top of the table and the chair seat should be about 12″. To determine the best seat height for your table, take the height of your table and subtract 12 inches.  Example: A 30″ high dining table (standard height) works best with chairs with a seat height of 18″ (30″-12=18″).

♦  For comfortable dining chairs, look for chairs with a seat depth of between 16″ and 18″.

♦  For rectangular dining tables, allow a minimum of 24″-28″ of table length per person and keep in mind the  width of the chair seat may impact the space needed for each place setting at a table.

LIVING ROOM FURNITURE:

Furniture Placement

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♦  18″ is the ideal distance you want between the couch and the coffee table.

♦  Walkways between furniture and walls should be at minimum 36″ to allow for easy movement in all directions.

♦  The ideal amount of space you should allow between two chairs placed side by side in the living room is 42″.  A standard size side table will easily fit between the two chair.

♦  The height difference between an end of table and the top of a sofa arm should be 1-2″.

ARTWORK

Artwork

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♦ When hanging artwork over a sofa or another piece of furniture, leave 5″- 9″ of space between the top of the sofa/furniture and the bottom of the art. You want to have some separation between the two elements.

♦  When hanging an art grouping above a sofa or piece of furniture, the grouping should be approximately 2/3 the width of the furniture below it. Your goal is for the artwork to be balanced (not too large or too small) with the element below it.

♦  For a single piece of art, the center of the image should be at 56″ – 60″ from the floor, which places the middle of art at eye level. Naturally if the entire family is extra tall or short, you can and should adjust the art so it feels comfortable for viewing.

♦  When hanging multiple pieces of artwork in a stacked layout above a piece of furniture, handle the art as if it was a single, larger piece. The space between the top and bottom piece of artwork should fall at 56″ to 60″.

♦  For symmetrical gallery wall displays, hang wall decor pieces about 2-3″ apart.  For asymmetrical and artistic layouts, arrange the wall decor so it’s pleasing to you.  Keep in mind you want the overall arrangement to feel balanced top to bottom and left to right.

WINDOW TREATMENTS

Window Treatments

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♦  It’s always a good idea to hang drapery rods as high as possible above window casing/trim which will make your room and windows feel taller and more expansive. A good rule of thumb for the average window is to mount the rods 5″ to 10″ above the trim.

♦  The trend today is for window treatments to skim the floor.  Letting your drapes puddle on the floor is matter of preference and tends to look best in more formal environments.

♦  To give the impression of wider windows extend the drapery rod 6″ to 12″  beyond the window casing not counting the length of a finial is you are using one.

♦  Many people hang curtain panels for decorative purposes only.  If you want your drapes to be functional, your panels should be 2 to 3 times the width of the window.  You can have custom drapes made in the appropriate width or you can hang multiple off the shelf panels together to achieve your desired width.

LIGHTING & CEILING FANS

LIGHTING OVER A TABLE:

Dining Room Light

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♦   The bottom of the chandelier should hang between 30″ – 34″ above the surface of the table for ceilings that are between 8′ and 9′ high. Higher ceilings will require the light fixture to be hung higher, approximately 3″ for every additional foot of ceiling height.

♦  Height–the higher the ceiling, the taller the chandelier. The rule of thumb is 2.5-3 inches for each foot of ceiling height. A standard 8-foot ceiling will accommodate a chandelier that is 20-24 inches in height.

♦  Diameter–add the height and the width of the room space together. Treat that sum as inches, and you have the suggested diameter of the chandelier for that room. For example, if the room is 20-feet by 18-feet, the sum is 38 feet. The approximate diameter of the chandelier should be 38 inches.

LIGHTING IN AN OPEN AREA:

Foyer Light

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♦A chandelier should be hung in the center of a foyer or entryway.

♦If your foyer has a window above the door, the chandelier should be centered in the window so that it can be seen from the outside of the home.

♦If an entryway is two stories tall, the chandelier shouldn’t hang below the second floor.

♦ A fixture hung in an open space like a foyer should hang approximately 7′ above the floor.

LIGHTING IN THE KITCHEN:  

Kicthen Lights

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♦  The standard distance between a kitchen island and a pendant light (top of counter to bottom of light fixture) is 30 to 36 inches.   Adjust the height to ensure the view across the island is not obstructed.

CEILING FANS:

♦  To determine the fan size that’s most appropriate for your space (fans are sized by the number of inches that their blades span), first determine the square feet of your room by multiplying the room’s length by its width. Then use these suggested guidelines:

For rooms up to 75 sq ft, choose a 29″ – 36″ fan
For room 76 to 144 sq ft, choose a 36″ – 42″ fan
For rooms 145 to 225 sq ft, choose a 44″- 48″ fan
For rooms 225 to 400 sq ft, choose a 48″- 54″ fan
For rooms over 400 sq ft, choose a fan that is 54″ or larger
For large great rooms, a fan as large as 72″ may be appropriate
If the room is over 400 sq ft, consider using two fans

RUGS

RUGS

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♦  Rugs under a dining room table should be at least 24-30″ wider and longer than the table, allowing the back legs of the chairs to stay on the rug even when the chairs are pushed out.

Here’s an easy guide to follow:  

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♦  Area rugs under a bed should extend at least 18-24″ beyond each side of the bed.  Also note you can place runners at each side of the bed as an alternative to a full area rug and runners can be placed along the side or at the foot of the bed.

Runner in bedroom

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♦  For standard size living, family there should be between  12″ – 24″ of bare floor between the edges of the area rug and the walls of the room. Smaller rooms should have between 6″-10″ of bare floor exposed.

♦  In living and family rooms, the rug should be larger enough so that the front legs of furniture sit on the rug.

Rug Size

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OTHER MEASUREMENTS YOU NEED TO KNOW:

♦  Allow 20″ to 28″ inches for leg clearance below a desk and the seat height of the chair should be 14″-18″ with your feet flat on the floor.

♦  Bookshelves that are used to hold books, including oversized art books should have depth of at least 15″.

♦  For optimal viewing, size your TV based on its distance from the sofa. To get the minimum screen size in inches, divide the viewing distance by 3; for the maximum, divide by 1.5. Already have a TV? Use these guidelines to position your couch. Aim for a 15- to 20-degree viewing angle to the center of the screen.

♦  Always measure your rooms, ceiling height and doorways before you go shopping for furniture to ensure pieces will fit through doors and in their planned space.

TV

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These measurements will get your started on a solid design plan for your home.

Shelly

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Comments

  1. Shelly, this is so much valuable information. OMGee’s, this is why I leave the interior design to the experts. Too much math for me. Kidding aside. I have picked up so many tips here. Thank you for sharing.

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