A few most commonly asked questions I get asked by people when decorating or re-arranging their home are in regards to dimensions or scale. “What height over the dining room table should I mount my chandelier?” or “How do I know what size area rug I need for my living room”… Sometimes it’s enough to get your panties in a wad. So here are some basic dimensional guidelines to keep in mind for the most common areas in your home.
Let’s start in the dining room with the question regarding the dimension for the chandelier over the table. Generally 30 inches works well as a rule of thumb for the minimum. You want about 3 inches for every foot of ceiling height above the table. So for an 8ft ceiling you want to mount the fixture between 24 and 30 inches above your table. What size fixture is another question that comes up and basically the chandelier dimension should be approximately equal to ½ the width, or diameter if round, of the table or take the width of the table and subtract 12 inches. Higher ceilings call for larger chandeliers to be in proportion with the space.
In the living room a popular question is about area rugs and how to determine what size is best. My answer is how much of the floor you want to cover really depends upon your personal preference. Area rugs tend to come in standardized sizes but typically our rooms do not so what I suggest is starting off by arranging your furniture first. Take a look at the room and think about how much of the area you want to cover.
You may only want a small sized rug say under the coffee table to bring some warmth and a focal point to the room….or you may want a larger area rug say to define and pull together your seating area by placing your furniture completely on the rug. Just remember it’s either “all legs on” or “all legs off” the rug. You do not want the sofa half on and half off the rug. The rug should be large enough to cover the entire area. If not, it’s best not to put the furniture on the rug at all and arrange it around the rugs perimeter. The same goes for rugs under kitchen or dining tables, keep the chairs on the rug no half on / half off.
With either scenario, measure the space you wish to cover. Take these dimensions as a guide with you to choose a rug size that comes close to the measurements. Remember chances are you won’t find one that measures exactly. That’s ok! You’ll be surprised how it can actually add to the space and create some spectacular results.
For living room chair placement, keep them no more than 8 feet apart. The goal is to engage and encourage conversations. Coffee tables you want to allow for proper legroom and want to keep around 15 to 18 inches from a sofa or chair. Side tables should be about as high as the arm of the sofa or chair. Also don’t forget your main paths of travel, try to keep them several feet wide to allow for easy flow and movement from room to room.
Remember, they’re simply general rules of thumb that will hopefully give you some guidelines to follow and keep you from getting dementia over dimensions!