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February 25, 2011 > Real Space For Real People

Real Space For Real People

How high should I hang my chandelier? And other Frequently Asked Questions

I work with many design clients each year, and these are some of the questions I get asked most often. Hope they help you with your home improvement projects.

Q. How high over my dining table should I hang my chandelier?
A. A good rule of thumb when hanging a chandelier over a dining room table is to hang it so the bottom is approximately 30" above the table. Since most tables are about 30" high, this means that the bottom of the light fixture will be about 60" or 5' from the floor. If you haven't placed your table yet, this height will seem very low. But trust me-- once your table is in place, the light fixture will look beautiful and be at the correct height.

Q. What about a pendant light over a bar or kitchen island? What is the correct height?
A. The same rule of thumb applies here too. Start by holding the pendant light so that the bottom of the fixture is 30" above the countertop. In most situations this works perfectly.

Q. How big should my area rug be?
A. A rug for your dining room should be large enough to accommodate both the table as well as the chairs with people sitting in them. A rule of thumb is to add about 36" to the width and length of the table. This will give enough room for diners to comfortably move their chairs in and out. Generally, china cabinets and buffets sit on the floor, not the area rug. In a living room, a rug under a coffee table looks best if the rug is the same length as the sofa. An area rug measuring 6' X 8' or 5' X 7' is usually a good size in front of a sofa. If in doubt, select a bigger, rather than a smaller size rug.

Q. How high should I hang my wall-mounted TV?
A. You want the TV positioned where it will be very comfortable for viewing when seated. You don't want to crane your neck to watch. Try this trick to help determine the perfect height:
Sit on the couch or chair in front of the TV where you'll be watching it. Ask someone to help you mark your eye level on the wall. Then stand up, and make another mark on the wall at your eye level. Hang the TV on the wall in between the two marks.

Q. How far away should my TV be from my sofa?
A. Many people are buying large flat screen TVs these days, but do you have enough space in your family room to accommodate it? You don't want to be too close or too far. Here are some guidelines for some of the more popular screen sizes:
For a 40" TV screen, you need about 5 to 8 feet of distance; for a 46" TV, you need about 6 to 9 ? feet; and for a 52" TV, plan on 6 ? to 11 feet.

Q. How high should I hang my artwork?
A. Artwork hung too high is something I see all the time. A great rule of thumb is to hang it so that the center of the artwork is 60-65" from the floor. Trust me-this works!

Anna Jacoby of Anna Jacoby Interiors is a local interior designer. Send your design questions to her at Call or fax her at 510-490-0379 or visit

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