When it comes to decorating your home, there is a lot to consider - whether you’re simply hanging artwork, or purchasing a new area rug.  While we can’t help you select colors, or choose that perfect piece of furniture, we can make your home makeover run a little more smoothly.  Use these standard rule of thumb measurements to ensure you’ve got the right sized furniture at the right height.

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1. Hanging Artwork

The photographs or artwork that you choose can really change the look of your space.  It’s those personal touches that help to transform a house into a home.  For maximum impact, remember the measurement guidelines below:

  • If you’re hanging a single piece of art, the centre should be between 56” and 60” from the floor (or eye level).  The larger the piece, the closer to 56” it should be.  This same rule can be used when hanging two pieces of artwork, one above the other.  Simply find the center point between them.
  • When hanging artwork above a sofa or other piece of furniture, leave a 5” to 9” space between the top of the furniture and the bottom of the art.
  • If you’re hanging multiple photographs or art pieces, keep approximately 2” - 3” of space between them (smaller for smaller pieces, or slightly larger for larger pieces).

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2. Drapery and Window Treatments

The right drapes or window treatments can make your windows appear larger, and even let in extra light.  To give the illusion of a taller window, hang your curtain rods 4” to 8” above the window frame.  Extend the rods anywhere between 4” and 10” beyond the frame to make your windows appear larger.  These tricks work best when your drapes either kiss or puddle on the floor, so be sure to measure the distance between the curtain rod and the floor before purchasing drapes or other window treatments.

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3. Light Fixtures

There are plenty of measurement rules for light fixtures - with different guidelines depending on where the light is placed in the room.  For overhead light fixtures, measure the length and width of the room in feet, then add those to measurements together.  That sum is, in inches, a good estimate for the width of your light.  (Rooms with extra high ceilings can add up to 6 inches or more.)  Keep in mind that if people are going to be walking under your overhead fixture (it’s not over a table) that it should hang at least 7 feet above the floor.

On the other hand, if you’re hanging a light fixture over a table, the bottom can hang 30” to 34” above the surface of the table.  If your ceiling is higher than 8 feet, you can hang the chandelier up to 3” higher for each additional foot of ceiling.  The width of the chandelier should be about a foot less than the width of the table at its widest point.shutterstock_146140856

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4. Area Rugs

An area rug is a wonderful accessory that can add plenty of color and style to a space - but its size is almost more important than the actual rug that you choose.  For most average sized rooms, there should be approximately 12” - 18” of bare floor between the edges of the area rug and the walls of the room.  For smaller rooms, approximately 8” of floor is a good rule of thumb.

If you’re planning on using an area rug in the dining room, it should be large enough to allow the back legs of your dining chairs to remain on the rug - even when they’re pushed out from the table.  Generally, that’s about 24” to 30” wider and longer than your dining room table.

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5. Dining Chairs and Tables

If you enjoy hosting regular dinner parties, you want your guests to be comfortable.  Things like table height, seat depth, and table length per person have almost as much impact on how enjoyable the evening is as the food and drinks that you serve.  Keep the measurements below in mind to help guarantee a pleasant evening for all of your guests.

  • Most dining tables are 30” high, so 18” is an optimal seat height.  Determine the appropriate height for your dining chairs by measuring the height of your table, and subtracting 12”.
  • 32” - 36” of space is necessary between the back of each dining chair and the wall or furniture behind it, so guests are able to be seated easily.
  • 16” - 18” of seat depth is recommended for dining.
  • Allow 24” - 28” of table length per person, with some additional inches needed at the corners.  This will prevent your guests from feeling squished.  If you have wider than average dining chairs, increase the amount of space per guest.

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6.  Ceiling Fans

If you’re going to purchase a ceiling fan for your home, you need to ensure that it’s proportional to the size of the room.  Anything too big or too small is going to make it stand out - and not in a good way.  Determine the square footage of your room by multiplying the room’s length by its width, and use the guidelines below:

  • 29” x 36” fan for rooms up to 75 square feet
  • 36” x 42” fan for rooms between 76 and 144 square feet
  • 44” x 48” fan for rooms between 145 and 225 square feet
  • 48” x 54” fan for rooms between 225 and 400 square feet
  • Use a fan that’s 54” or longer for rooms over 400 square feet, or, consider using two fans.

Hang your ceiling fan at least 7 feet above the floor.  If your ceiling is 8 feet or less in height, choosing a low profile fan can help prevent the blades from being too low.

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