Decorating Guidelines

The Fundamentals of Decorating

The following are decorating guidelines that will help you decorate your home. I really don’t like calling these “rules” because you can go against them and it can sometimes look good, it take a talented professional to pull that off though.

Decorating Guidelines – Window Coverings

  1. Your curtains and drapes should skim the floor, unless you want an elegant look, and then the should puddle about two inches.
  2. Hang your curtains at least 2″ above the window casing, but hang them closer to the  ceiling  if you want to create an illusion of height.
  3. If you want to create an illusion of wider windows, hang your curtains 4″-10″ outside of the window casing.
  4. How many panels should you buy? Take your window width and double it, at minimum. So if your window is 120″, you want 240″ total width of curtain.
  5. Choose patterns and textures for your curtains to make your space more multi-dimensional.

Decorating Guidelines – Furniture

  1. The optimum amount of furniture based on the size of the room. You don’t want your rooms to be filled with  more than 30% furniture. If they are, you are dangerously close to having cluttered spaces. (You can find my formula here). This decorating guideline will help your room feel less cluttered with furniture.
  2. 36″ is the ideal distance between the wall and your piece of seating.
  3. Scale is important when choosing furniture. Scale basically refers to the size of the furniture or item in relation to the room. If your room is too small and the furniture is too big that’s a no-no. Alternatively, if your room is really big and your furniture is a smaller scale, that’s a no-no too.
  4. Give yourself, your family and friends plenty of space to walk around your coffee table get still reach it for functionality. The optimum distance is 18″.
  5. Ideally, if your furniture is on an area rug all of the legs are on the rug. If it’s a smaller rug, you can have just the front feet of your seating on the rug.

Decorating Guidelines – Artwork and Wall Decor

  1. Choose larger artwork and decor for walls. Nothing makes a space look more cluttered than a bunch of artwork on all of the walls.
  2. Try just adding artwork to a wall opposite of the doors, this works for furniture too (mostly in bedrooms).
  3. Don’t hang artwork too high. Generally eye level is the best height (which is usually 56″-60″ in the center of the artwork)
  4. When working with groupings, treat the entire grouping as one large piece of artwork and apply the same rule for the height at center being 56″-60″.
  5. If you are creating a gallery wall, collage or grouping, the ideal space in  between the frames is 2″.
  6. The bottom of your artwork should not be any higher than 4″-8″ above the back of a sofa.

Decorating Guidelines – General

  1. Place different types of lights throughout the room, preferably at different levels.
  2. Follow the 60/30/10 formula for color or 60/15/15/10 for even more variety.
  3. The best height for a floor lamp is 68″ because the shade will diffuse the light when your seated and standing.
  4. If you are repeating elements, make sure you do so at least three times.
  5. When working with patterns mix the scale of patterns, small, medium and large.

Would you like some more decorating guidelines? Check out my pinterest board about decorating guidelines, it has lots of goodies on it!




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