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Decorator Secrets… Measurements that Matter

An important measurement to know is the height that chandeliers are hung over dining tables. One of the goals in design is to create attractive and defined living areas in any room. Properly hung lighting adds warmth and is more inviting to family and guests.

The light fixture to the left is in a large dining room with very high ceilings, making it feel cold and uninviting. The clients couldn’t lower it because they couldn’t find matching chain. Always check the length of the chain or down rod that comes with the fixture and if the length is questionable purchase more at the same time that you’re purchasing the fixture.

Decorator Secrets 2Planning your purchase is important. For the staged house on the left, measurements were taken prior to purchasing a fixture.

Above any dining table the proper height for a light fixture is 32-40 inches over the table top. This means that hanging a light above a standard height table will be lower than hanging a fixture above a pub height table.

A question that I commonly hear is: With my new hardwood floors what are the rules and measurements regarding the use of area rugs?

Properly sized area rugs define and unify a space and provide warmth. When using a rug under a dining table, the “rule” is that the rug should be at least the size of the table, plus 3 feet so that the table AND chairs sit on the rug. If your budget allows, add another 2 feet and chairs will remain on the carpet for ease of use.

Here is an example of a home with great wood floors and my client budgeted for a properly sized area rug to protect her floors and unify the dining space.

Decorator Secrets 3

Carpet size and placement is also important in other rooms. To pull furnishings together, create a feeling of cohesion and a conversation area, rugs should be large enough to be placed at least under the front legs of the seating pieces in the room.

Decorator Secrets 4In this staged house, the sellers had no budget for a larger rug which would have been more appropriate, but a rug was still needed to define the space.

Decorator Secrets 5More appropriately, this large area rug helps soften the hard tile flooring and it’s placed correctly beneath furniture which ties everything together.

If you have further questions regarding measurements used in design and decorating, please ask them here and you can follow my posts on Facebook for more projects, ideas and inspiration. Click here to visit my Facebook page or visit or

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