Decor Measurement Guidelines

One of the most common questions that I get is about measurements. How big should a rug be? How high should the lights hang? These types of dilemmas are the most frequent to occur. So, I am offering these decor measurement guidelines (note that I do not call them rules) for measurements for your home decor.

Decor Measurement Guidelines – Rugs

Decor Measurement Guidelines

(Traditional Living Room by New York Interior Designers & Decorators Stait Interiors, LLC)

The traditional method for getting a correct rug size is to have the rug sized to allow just 18″ of space around the perimeter of the room. However,  that method has been followed less and less as homes convert over to an open concept. But, if your home is not open concept, this is still a good guideline to use.

Decor Measurement Guidelines

(Transitional Living Room by Calgary Interior Designers & Decorators Bruce Johnson & Associates Interior Design)

With an open concept, spaces are frequently defined by rugs. So, the rug will be sized according to the area for which it is intended. With that in mind, a rug for the seating area should extend beneath the sofa a bit. Some prefer just the front legs resting on the rug. While, others like the rug to extend all the way to the back legs. Either way is fine.

Decor Measurement Guidelines

(Shabby-chic Style Bedroom by Charleston Interior Designers & Decorators Jolene Smith Interiors)

For bedrooms, a rug should at least extend beyond the edge of the bed by 12″ for a standard size bed, more for a king size.

Decor Measurement Guidelines

(Traditional Dining Room by Toronto Interior Designers & Decorators AM Dolce Vita)

Dining room rugs look best with the rug extending at least 24″ past the edges of the table.

Decor Measurement Guidelines

(Transitional Living Room by Wayzata Interior Designers & Decorators DESIGNS! – Susan Hoffman Interior Designs)

The most important guideline for rugs is to make sure that you do not reduce the space by using rugs that are too small. (unless, of course, that is your intention). With that it mind, it is always better to have a rug that is a bit too large, than a rug that is too small.


Decor Measurement Guidelines

(Traditional Kitchen by South Jordan Home Builders Candlelight Homes)

Pendant lights over a kitchen bar work best when they are between 30″-36″ above the countertop, for a 8-9 foot ceiling.

Decor Measurement Guidelines

(Modern Kitchen by Gibsons Interior Designers & Decorators Dawna Jones Design)

If the ceiling is higher and/or the pendants are large, I prefer them to be at least 40″ above the countertop.

Decor Measurement Guidelines

(Contemporary Dining Room by Austin General Contractors Avenue B Development)

Dining room chandeliers should be approximately 66″ above the floor. Any lower and you run the risk of someone bumping their head into it when they lean forward to grab a biscuit. 🙂


Decor Measurement Guidelines

(Transitional Kitchen by Austin Interior Designers & Decorators Five Star Interiors)

If your countertop height is  36″, barstools should be 25″ tall.

Decor Measurement Guidelines

(Rustic Kitchen by Minneapolis Cabinets & Cabinetry Steven Cabinets)

If you have a 42″ high countertop, the barstools should be 31″ tall.


Decor Measurement Guidelines

(Traditional Living Room by St Louis Interior Designers & Decorators Amy Studebaker Design)

Like just about everything in decor, determining the correct dimensions depends a great deal on what you are trying to accomplish. Windows are no different. But for the sake of this article, I will assume that you want to accomplish the look of tall windows. So with that in mind, drapes/panels should be hung as high as possible. Usually, that means hanging them from just below the crown molding.

Decor Measurement Guidelines

(Transitional Living Room by Baton Rouge Photographers Oivanki Photography)

If you want your curtains to have that puddled effect, make sure to add 2″-4″ of length to the overall measurements.


Decor Measurement Guidelines

(Contemporary Family Room by Chicago Interior Designers & Decorators Sean Michael Design)

The standard for hanging wall art is for the center of the piece to be between 57″- 60″ high.

Decor Measurement Guidelines

(Contemporary Living Room by Irvine Interior Designers & Decorators International Custom Designs)

There are a few exceptions though. If your intent is to utilize architectural features that are up high. (This can draw the eyes upward). Also, when you want to hang artwork for the purpose of viewing from a second floor. In these instances, you would hang the wall art at the location of center eye level for that floor.

Final Thought…

As I noted at the beginning, these are guidelines. I don’t like to refer to any interior design guides as rules, because well….. there is always an exception to the rules. But, these guidelines should provide a good starting place for the above items. If you go with these, you can’t go wrong. Of course, don’t feel that you need to stick to these guidelines for every situation.