Saturday, November 17, 2018

6 Foolproof Home Decorating Rules

Most of us know what we like and don’t like when it comes to decorating our homes – we’ve browsed enough magazines, watched enough HGTV, saved enough Pins to our Pinterest boards, and wandered through enough furniture stores to know what we want or don’t want in our rooms. But decorating requires more than just a sense of style to look good, the proportions of your pieces are equally important.

You’ll hear interior designers talk about scale, balance, texture, and more when referring to good d├ęcor. If your furniture pieces are too big or too small, or your room is unbalanced, it will look off. There’s no getting around it, these rules will help you create the perfect space. And the great thing about these home decorating rules is that once you know them, you’ll also know how to break them.

beautiful dining room

1. Choose the Right Size Dining Table

When shopping for a dining room table, you may have trouble visualizing how many guests you’ll be able to fit at the table, or how many chairs you should buy. A general rule is that each chair should have about 24 to 30 inches of space at the table. So, if you are looking at a rectangular table that is 72-inches long, you’ll be able to seat 2 to 3 people on each side and one on each end. So, you’ll need 6 to 8 chairs. If you are looking at a round table, find the circumference and divide by 24 or 30 inches to find out how many chairs will fit.

The Ariana Chateau Rectangular Dining Table from Lexington is a generous 80” in length. It also comes with two 20-inch leaves, so your family and friends will have plenty of space. You can keep the leaves in all the time if you need a larger table, or use them only when you are entertaining.

When to break the rule: Purchase a few extra chairs and use them for large dinner parties. Most guests won’t mind squeezing in a little to accommodate a larger group.

2. Estimate the Right Amount of Paint

If you want to paint your rooms, but don’t know how much paint you’ll need, here’s a quick way to estimate the amount. A gallon of paint will cover about 400 square feet. So, measure the length and width of each wall and your ceiling height. For example, a room that is 10 x 12 feet with a 9-foot ceiling is approximately 400 feet. Before you run off and buy a gallon of paint, keep in mind that you’ll probably need two coats, and a little extra. You almost always end up needing more than you thought you would.

When to break the rule: If your walls are in good shape and you only want to change the color, you can save by only painting the lower half of your walls. The windowsill is a good guide for how high you should paint.

u-shaped living room layout

3. Let Your Sofas and Chairs Have a Conversation

When you think of arranging your living room furniture, think of how a welcoming hotel lobby is arranged. The furniture is placed in groupings that encourage conversation. When you arrange your living room, think of how it will be used.

Two common layouts are U-shaped and H-shaped. A U-shape has a sofa and two chairs grouped around a coffee table. As seen in the Kensington Living Room group by Lexington, the two accent chairs are placed on either side of the sofa. In an H-shape layout, a sofa is placed across from two chairs, with a coffee table in between. Sometimes two sofas are placed across from each other.

One common mistake to avoid: pushing all the furniture up against the walls. People often do this because they think the room will look bigger, but the opposite actually occurs. If you can, float the furniture away from the walls for the illusion of more space.

When to break the rule: If you have an awkwardly shaped room, you may have to use an L-shape. If you have a small space, you may have to place the furniture up against the walls. If you do so, be sure to match the proportions to the size of the space.

4. Choose the Right Sized Chandelier

Choosing light fixtures can seem like a challenge, because once they are installed, it can be a pain to change them. Here’s another rule of thumb: the chandelier in a dining room should be about one- to two-thirds the width of the table. Or if you are going for pendant lights, measure your table's width and length and subtract 12 inches from each. Your fixtures should not exceed either of these numbers.

A smaller space may need fewer pendants, just like a larger room will need a larger chandelier. To determine whether your space can handle a larger chandelier, or even two of them, add the width and length of your room in feet. The total is the width recommended for your chandelier in inches.

When to break the rule: Go big if you want to make a statement. Or use two light fixtures.

5. Hang Your Art at the Right Height

When you see a piece of art in a space and it looks off, it’s most likely hung too high. A piece of art should be hung 6-9 inches above your sofa or console table. Another option is to hang it at gallery height, meaning the center of the piece of art is at eye-level, approximately 57 inches from the ground. And when choosing a piece of art to hang above the sofa, look for something at least 36 inches wide. The bigger, the better.

When to break the rule: If you are going for a more relaxed look, try leaning art against the wall on a piece of furniture or on the floor. Another option is to use an artist’s easel to display a statement piece.

6. Pick the Right Size Area Rug

Smaller is not better when it comes to area rugs. The rug should be large enough to fit under the furniture so that it defines the space. Or at least, the front two legs of the chairs and sofa should rest on the rug. Going too small with an area rug will make the room look out of scale.

When to break the rule: If you can’t find a rug you like in the size you need, try layering the rug on top of a neutral rug, such as a woven jute rug. That way your featured rug won’t look like a postage stamp floating on its own in the middle of the room.

These home decorating rules should help you create the perfect space for you and your family. Once you know them, feel free to bend or even break them, as long as your space stays balanced and beautiful.

Find more design ideas and read Baer's Furniture reviews on Houzz. Learn more about Baer's Furniture on Glassdoor.

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