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HomeArtsyEasy Measurement Formulas for Comfortable Design

Easy Measurement Formulas for Comfortable Design

Have you ever felt uncomfortable in a room but were not sure why? Maybe the sofa and chairs were too far apart, or the art hung too high, or a hanging light too small for the room, or perhaps the curtains don’t quite reach the floor. Chances are your personal space has been subtly challenged. When spatial guidelines are ignored, a room can feel crowded or off balance, or just not right. But it’s not always obvious – just something you feel.

The following measurement formulas will help you figure out if your room has spatial balance. With a few tweaks, you might find harmony in your room with very few changes!

Furniture Arrangement

  • Allow 2′ for walkways, and try not to force walkways through a conversational space.
  • Leave 14″ to 18″ between the sofa and the coffee table.
  • Reserve 2′ behind dining and desk chairs, and allow sufficient space for drawers to be opened.
  • The conversation zone should be contained within an 8′ diameter.
  • The distance from the TV to seating should be three times the size of the screen. For example, to watch TV on a 32″ screen comfortably, allow 8′ between the TV and the seating area.

Hanging Art

  • Most people hang art too high. While the normal advice is to hang art so that the “normal” eye level (5′ 7″ to 5′ 10″) hits it one-third from the top of the art piece. However, you should also consider the type of room and how the art will be viewed. For example, hang living room art lower to appeal to seated guests, foyer art higher for standing guests, and kids rooms art a bit lower.
  • Bottom line – use common sense, and when in doubt, hang it a little bit lower than you think you should.

Hanging Lights

  • The sum of the length and depth of a room (in feet) equals the ideal width of your light fixture in inches. For example, a hanging chandelier in a 14′ x 12′ dining room should be 26″ wide. A hanging pendant in a 10′ x 10′ foyer should be 20″ wide.
  • When hanging a light over a dining room or kitchen table, the bottom of the light should be 28″ to 32″ above a dining or kitchen table. Hang it lower for contemporary designs or intimate settings, and higher for larger tables.

Hanging Curtain Panels

  • Your goal is to hang them so that the bottom of the panel lands right above the window sill, or go all the way to the floor (not in-between!).
  • The higher you hang your panels, the taller the room will feel.
  • Hang them about 3″ beyond either side of the window. This makes the window appear larger, and allows for more natural light to enter the room when the panels are open.
  • Double Rods are great if you’re hanging sheers behind panels. Just make sure the sheers are the same length as the panels.

Area Rugs

  • When placing an area rug in a dining room, measure your table, and then add 24″ to 30″ all around (or about 4′ to 5′ in total length and width). This makes it easier for guests to move their chairs around. Consider casters on the bottom of the chairs to help them move more smoothly.
  • When using a room-sized rug on hardwood flooring, leave at least 8″ of exposed hardwood showing around all edges of the rug.
  • If you’re using an area rug in a sitting area, make sure it is anchored by the front legs of the furniture, and not floating in the middle of the room.

So get out your tape measure and go make your room more comfortable! Your friends will notice something is wonderfully different, but will never put their finger on what it is. It will be our little secret!

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