When you’re decorating your home, you might find it tricky to work out some of those fundamental elements. What is the right size for a sofa? How do we create a proportionate and harmonious décor in our rooms? What are the criteria to choose a dining table? Here we collected a selection of rules – some are general, others more specific – to get you started. Let’s get to basics, and find out which are the fundamental rules nobody can forget, when it comes to interior design. Are you ready?
Create layers, but careful not to over decorate
The definition of “over decorating” really depends on your own taste, of course, but it is always advisable to avoid the temptation to stuff up a room with many details you like, but with no coherence. An easy way to get around this inconvenient, is to think of decorating as layering: every element – color, texture, pattern, fabric, surface treatments, lighting, pictures, plants, books – is a layer of the whole room décor. If you think of one thing at a time, everything will come out easily. We don’t mean to say that you shouldn’t go for a rich home décor, full of detailed elements and luxurious furniture: just remember that everything needs to be harmoniously mixed together.
Give your sofas enough space
For a comfortable living room area, think about functionality, as well as aesthetics. As a general rule, make sure there are at least 45cm between the seating and a central coffee table – any less can feel like a squeeze, but too much more can prove uncomfortable when reaching for a drink or book. When you’re choosing the coffee table itself, make sure it doesn’t overpower the room. The ideal proportions are when the table is about half to two-thirds of the length of the sofa. Have you written down all this math on your interior design notebook?
The right size for a carpet
Size matters, even when it comes to rugs for your home. Too many beautiful rooms are ruined by carpets that aren’t the right size. Often, the largest size available is a standard 240cm x 170cm, which is fine in a mid-sized room, but will not work in a big room, getting lost in the large space. To make your rug look great in your room, make sure that at least the front two feet of your sofa and chairs rest on it. It’s worth hard to hunt around to find a rug in a big size, since there are many retailers who have a wide selection of customizable carpets. A bespoke piece will make a significant impact in your home décor, and you will be able to personalize it according to your wishes.
Dress up your windows
Here is another bullet point of our back to basics list: a curtain should never hang at half-mast. Your curtains should either ‘kiss’ the floor – such as the beautiful ones in this open-plan living space – or puddle softly, with a very elegant effect. The combined width of your curtain panels together should be one and a half to two times the width of the window itself. For extra-wide windows, such as the ones shown in the picture, it’s worth looking at double-width fabrics (generally up to 300cm) as there will be fewer fabric joins.
How high must a painting be placed?
One of the most important rules for hanging pictures and paintings is not to place them too high. That said, there is not an ideal standard for every home: it really depends of how tall you yourself are. Paintings should be hung in relation to the people in the room, not the room itself. The perfect height is at average eye level, which is approximately 145cm from the floor to the center of the picture, but it might be different for you. If you plan to choose a big painting, you can hang smaller frames or pictures around it, but make sure the bigger piece stays the protagonist.
The suitable table
Pay attention to key measurements when you’re choosing your dining table and selecting the chairs to go around it. Each person, and therefore each chair, around a dining table should have about 60cm of space to themselves, if we want to avoid bumped elbows and knuckles. At the same time, 75cm is generally the minimum amount of space required between the edge of the table and either the wall or another piece of furniture, to allow people to push their chairs back when they get up. For most people, the seats of dining chairs will be most comfortable if they are about 30cm below the height of the table.