Picking out the furniture, lighting and artwork can be some of the most exciting decisions you make when you set out to make your house a home. But even after you pick the most beautiful artwork, the most interesting accessories and most gorgeous furniture, your work is not done.

When it comes to designing your home, size matters! I’m not talking square footage, because some of the largest rooms can look “off’ if the proportion and placement is not quite right, while the smallest houses can look amazing if scale is considered.

I’ve gathered a round-up of guidelines to consider when you make design decisions, relying on information from experts. Happy spring decorating!

Rug Size

According to One Kings Lane, your living room size should determine the size of your area rug. If you have a large living room with your living room furniture floating in the center, the area rug should be large enough to accommodate all the furniture without feeling cramped, most likely a 9 X 12 or 11 X 14. For a medium-sized room where a sofa is along one wall, aim to have the front legs of all the furniture on the rug, likely a 6 X 9 or 8 X 10. For a small living room, you can place a small 4 X 6 or 5 X 7 rug in the center with a coffee table centered in the middle.

When it comes to dining room furniture, the consensus is clear: all chairs and the table need to fit on the rug comfortably so that chairs don’t leave the rug when pushed off.

One helpful tip: Tape off the dimensions of the possible rug to get a visual of what the rug’s shape will look like in our space.

Indoor lighting

Hanging lights can be tricky, but is so important to the overall look of a room. In the dining room, choose a chandelier or light fixture one-half to three-quarters the width of the table; anything larger will cast shadows on faces. Hang the light 36 to 48 inches above the table (the lower number if you want a cozy, intimate vibe, the larger if you want an airy look and so you can stand when toasting. In the bathroom, mount sconces on either side of the mirror (36 to 40 inches apart is ideal) to cast even illumination across the face. Position the fixtures so the bottom edges of the shades are a little below eye level, or approximately 60 to 65 inches from the floor.

Kitchen pendants should clear the head of the tallest family member and not obstruct views—around 36 to 48 inches from the top of the counter. Start the row of lights 12 to 15 inches from either end of the island or table, and space them evenly within that span. As for your bedside lamps, you want the bottom of the shade to be just below your line of sight or about 16 to 18 inches from the top of the mattress. A table lamp and shade that is roughly 26 to 28 inches tall usually works.

Where Should Pictures Hang?

This is one that frequently trips up homeowners, who are tempted to hang their art too high. According to Houzz.com, most galleries hang their art at average eye level, about 58 inches high. The center of the art, not the top, should at that height. The math is as follows: Measure the distance between the wire and the top of the frame, and measure the height of the art and divide it in half. Measure 58 inches on the wall, add the measurement of half the art's height and subtract the distance between the wire and the top of the frame. Put the nail here. It’s not always such an exact science though. If the art is for above a sofa, be careful not to leave too big of a gap between the sofa and the bottom of the art. Also, consider hanging art lower when you are in a room primarily for sitting, such as a family room.

If you want to try a gallery, salon-style wall, start with the largest piece of art. Center it in the middle or just off the middle, and then place the rest of the art around it in a way that pleases your eye. You can decide on a layout by laying the art on the floor until you find a solution that works or by cutting out the shape of each piece of art in brown craft paper and taping it to the wall to test out ideas. If you don't have one piece of art that's demonstrably bigger, weight the center with darker pieces and frames.


Curtains – How High and Wide?

The stylist Emily Henderson has some tips for those trying to figure out how high and wide to hang curtains. “A pretty room with poorly hung curtains is like a beautiful, pulled-together lady wearing way ‘too-small pants,’” Emily writes on her blog stylebyemilyhenderson.com “It cheapens everything else, stands out in a jarring way and just makes everyone feel uncomfortable.” She recommends hanging your curtain rod at least six to twelve inches above your window. Extend the rod at least 6-10″ on either side of the window frame (if you have the space) so that when the curtains are pushed totally open you can see almost all of the window. Emily also cautions against too small of panels for a large window. Curtains should look full, not as though they are barely doing their job. You may have to buy four panels (two for each side) and have them sewn together. You can also just hang the four panels, since you often can’t see the break because they are so full. As for length, do not go too short! Here are three options: the slight float (it doesn’t touch the floor, but just barely); the kiss, it barely touches the floor (measure accurately!); and the puddle (best for a romantic, or European, old-world feel).


We hope these guidelines help you create a home that looks effortlessly stylish. If you need any help making your house look its best for the spring market give us a call we would love to help you!