20 Essential Decorating Measurements – Design Basics

Wondering how high to hang your chandelier? Or what size rug to buy? Make sure you get it right the first time with these 20 essential decorating measurements!

Decorating is a creative pursuit, but many people don’t realize there are mathematics involved if you want to get it right. Even the most beautiful room will look ‘off’ if art is hung too high or the rug is too small for the room. Many times the professionally designed rooms look better not because they have more expensive furniture or accessories, but because they have proportion and measurements down to a science. 

I frequently see people make the same mistakes over and over, and I know there’s lots of confusion as to what the basic decorating measurements are. So read on to prevent decorating mistakes and get it right the first time!

Once you know these essential decorating measurements, you’ll be on your way to creating a beautiful home.



Lighting: Chandelier Size and Height

I would say hanging lighting and chandeliers too high is the most common decorating mistake I see, so I’ll start with this one!

decorating measurements design basics hanging chandelier right height in white kitchen




• The chandelier should be about 1/2 to 3/4 the width of the table. 


• The bottom of the chandelier should be 30″ – 32″ from the top of the table for ceilings that are between 8′ and 9′ high. 

• Higher ceilings will require the light fixture to be hung higher, approximately 3″ for every additional foot of ceiling height. 




• The rule of thumb for a room where you don’t have a table is to add the length and the width of the room together. Treat that sum as inches, and you have the suggested diameter of the chandelier for that room. For example, if the room is 20-feet by 15-feet, the sum is 35 feet. Convert that to inches, and the ideal diameter of the chandelier for that room should be about 35″ wide.


• Allow 2.5-3 inches for each foot of ceiling height. A standard 8-foot ceiling will accommodate a chandelier that is 20″-24″ in height.

• When hanging a chandelier in an open space such as a foyer or hallway or anywhere it will be walked under, allow at least 7′ of clearance underneath.




• The standard distance between a kitchen island and a pendant light (top of counter to bottom of light fixture) is 30″ – 36″.  Make sure to adjust the height to ensure your view is not obstructed when standing at the island.


Artwork: Hanging it at the Correct Height

Probably the second most frequent mistake I see is people who hang their art way too high! If something feels off in your space, it may be because your artwork is not hung low enough.

hanging artwork decorating measurements correct height french country living room


• Typically art is hung at ‘eye level’ which for decorating purposes is roughly 60″ from the ground. Therefore the height from the ground to the center of your artwork should be 56″ – 60″.

• When hanging two or more pieces of artwork over one another (vertically), treat them as one large piece. Find the center point between them and use the same rule.


• For any groupings, hang things closer than you would think! 1 1/2″ – 2″ is the approximate space that should be between any pieces in a gallery wall or grouping. If you space them too far apart, they act as separate pieces rather than a cohesive statement.

• When hanging an art grouping above a sofa or piece of furniture, the grouping should be approximately 2/3 the width of the furniture below it.

• The ideal space between the top of a sofa and the bottom of a piece of art (single or group) is 5″ – 9″.


Find the Perfect Size Rug for Your Room

When it comes to rugs, bigger is always better!

the right size rug for your room french country living room



• The standard rule of thumb for rugs is that every piece of furniture should have at least the front legs on the rug. If possible, all the furniture should be on the rug but if you don’t have the space or can’t find a rug large enough, the front legs only is fine. What you don’t want is a rug that has no furniture on it except the coffee table. This tends to look like a postage stamp in the middle of the room and rather than enlarging the space, will actually make it look smaller!

• Really you want to get the biggest rug you can for the space, while still allowing 12″ – 24″ of bare floor between the edges of the area rug and the walls of the room. This will not only anchor the room but actually make it look larger!


• Make sure the chairs are all the way on the rug, even when they are pushed out. Usually 24″ – 30″ wider and longer than the table provides ample space for this. 



bedroom rug right size in beautiful blue French country bedroom


• Area rugs under a bed should extend at least 18-24″ beyond each side of the bed. In our bedroom, our 8 x 10 rug works perfectly with our king size bed, allowing it to come out over 24″ on each side of the bed. 


window treatments: hanging them at the right height

Nothing ruins a pretty room faster than drapes that are too short or hung too low! These decorating measurements will guide you to hanging all your window treatments perfectly.

essential decorating measurements right height to hang drapery


• Ideally you should hang drapery rods as high as possible above the window casing or trim. This creates the illusion of height, making your room and windows feel taller. A good rule of thumb for the average window is to mount the rods 4″ to 10″ above the trim if space allows.

• Likewise, you want to mount your drapes outside the window casing on each side as well. Extending the drapery rods 4″ – 10″ beyond on either side will create the illusion of wider windows. 

• Curtains should just skim the floor, neither puddling excessively nor being too short. I like the look of a slight ‘break’ which is equal to about 1″ extra in length. 

• Drapery panels should have a combined width of 2-3 times the width of the window. So if you have two panels framing a window, each panel should be 1 to 1½ times the window width. And this applies whether they are functioning or not! Even if you are hanging them for decorative purposes only (as I did above), go with the wider width. If you go any thinner they will end up looking skimpy.


HOW HIGH TO HANG CURTAINS drapery with woven wood shades


• Also, if you are layering drapes over any kind of shade, make sure the drapery rod is at the same height as the shades (as above). Do not allow there to be space in between the two! This creates a foot or more of ‘dead space’ and ruins the ‘elongation’ of hanging the rods higher.


I hope you’ve found these essential decorating measurements helpful! But if you find that your measurements are slightly different yet you love your home, or you like the look, don’t worry. Rules are simply guidelines, a starting point. And as we all know, rules are made to be broken!

But if something does seem off in a room in your home, take a look at these basics and make sure you’re applying them. You may just find that they make a big improvement!


Happy Decorating!



You can shop more of my home below:

Living Room
Dining Room
Primary Bedroom


If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out more decorating ideas below!

How to Decorate Using Odd Numbers

Five Essential Textures Every Room Needs

7 Things to Do to Make Your Home More Beautiful – TODAY!


20 Essential Decorating Measurements graphic on Maison de Cinq


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  1. Great post, Sheila! Wonderful to have it all in one place for quick reference. Thank you!

    1. I’m so glad you found it helpful JC!


  2. Sheila, I was an Interior Design high school teacher for years. After retirement, I started a small design business. You have provided fantastic information for your followers. Great job! Greer

  3. Thank you Sheila for this great post! Thank you for taking the time to make this blog and for helping all of us make our homes pretty! I am grateful! This was a fabulous post .

    1. Aww thank you Rose! It means so much that you found it helpful!


  4. Marilyn Rabena says:

    Hi Sheila,
    I want to install drapes over my shades. The shades sit inside window frames/trims. Would you recommend installing drapery rods just above the top trim in this scenario? This means the shades and drapes will not be the same height as you suggested above.
    Just like all your readers, I appreciate the knowledge that you share. Wish you continued success.

    1. Hi Marilyn! Yes, I would install the drapery rods *just* above the trim in this case. I would not go the 6″ above to make the windows taller as then you’d have that ‘dead’ space I spoke about. A couple of inches is fine and will look good, it’s the 6″-12″ that looks so bad!

      I’m going to email you a pic!

      Go just above and you should be fine! Hope that helps!


  5. Hi, Sheila,
    This was THE best post ever! Such great tips I’ll printing it out and file it my my deco file.
    Thanks so much.
    I have a quick question for you… I am hunting for a French style chandelier and Love, love, love yours. Could you tell me where you bought it? I have been looking for a while and, according to your deco tips, the chandelier should bot be bigger than 1/3 to 1/2 of the table. So, since our dining table is only 32″ wide, it is quite difficult to find a suitable one. The smaller ones I see are just not right and yours looks like it is on the smaller side. Could you please share?
    Thanks much,

    1. Thank you so much Monika – that makes me so happy that you found it helpful and good idea to print it out!

      As far as my chandelier, it is sold out, unfortunately, but I do think it would be too big for your table as it is 27″ wide. However, I have so many similar French style chandeliers linked in my chandelier post!! And there are varying sizes and price ranges so I think you might find something! You can find that post here: https://maisondecinq.com/ten-stunning-french-chandeliers/

      Good luck!


  6. Thank you for these basics, I need to fix some window treatments up, knew they were off but did not know how much!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing the basic measurements for decorating. I’m going to be changing out our lighting so these tips came just in time. That was so helpful!

    1. So happy to hear that Vikki! And you’re welcome! 🙂


  8. I appreciate you sharing with all of us your tips and these measurements as they are a definitive design guide resulting in a feeling of comfort and peace in lieu of an impression of something feeling off in a space. When implemented, and if necessary, tweeked, they make the difference! It’s magic!

  9. Thank you for combining all of these solutions in one post. It can be frustrating having to search for this information on the internet. I so enjoy your informative information and decorating helpful hints.

    1. Thanks so much Vickie- I’m so glad you found it helpful!