Ever flipped through a home magazine and marveled at how perfect everything looks? While those professionally decorated rooms may seem unattainable, the difference between where-did-I-go-wrong and “wow” is often only a matter of inches. That’s because professional designers know the measuring rules that ensure aesthetically pleasing results.
Let’s go to the (measuring) tape!
Paint: Before having your favorite color mixed, measure the length and width of your walls to determine how many square feet you need to cover. As a rule, one gallon of good quality pain will cover approximately 400 square feet of wall space. Before beginning, it’s always a good idea to paint a test swath to see how the color you think will look simply divine appears in different lights throughout the day.
Lighting: Strategic overhead lighting can greatly enhance a space if you’re smart about fixture size. To determine the best size for your space, add the length and width of your room in feet to find the size (in inches) of an appropriate fixture. For example, if you room is 15 by 20 feet, look for a chandelier that’s about 35 inches (15+20) wide. Keep in mind that if you’re hanging a chandelier over the dining room table, the bottom of the fixture should end 36 inches above the table.
Windows: In-the-know designers use curtain fullness and spacing to make windows appear larger. As a general rule, curtain panels should be two-and-a-half to three times the width of a window—making each panel one-and-a-quarter toone-and-a-half times wider. Another way to make a window look wider is purchase a curtain rod that is 20 inches wider than the window, then extend the rod ten inches on each side. To create an illusion of height, mount curtain rods as high as possible above the window while letting the curtain panel just touch the floor or fall below it with up to a one-and-a-half break on the floor.
Dining Tables and Chairs: Ever wondered just how many chairs should be placed around your dining table? Here are the guidelines for ideal seating arrangements: Use two to four chairs for 36-inch wide tables, six chairs for 48-inch rounds, and eight armchairs or 10 armless chairs for 60-inch rounds.
Fabric: Before you decide to recover an older sofa or
chairs, you’ll need to estimate how much fabric you’ll need, and it’s often a lot more than you might guess. For example, a standard 84-inch sofa with exposed legs and a tight back will require 14 yards of plain, 54-inch wide fabric. For a skirt, add an additional two yards, and if the fabric you love has a pattern or repeat, expect to need an additional one-and-a-half to two times more fabric. To cover a wing or club chair, you’ll need from five to seven yards of fabric, depending on pattern and repeat. Hint: Unless you know your older sofa is of high-quality, using eight-way, hand-tied construction, it’s often less expensive to buy new than recover!
Now that you’ve got the inside scoop from the pros, your space is sure to be magazine-shoot ready in no time!