Decorating Basics: Some Rules You Don't Want To Break

Tuesday Apr 30th, 2019


SOME RULES we were never taught. When it comes to home décor, there are decorating basics that many of us are not aware of. How high do you hang artwork on the wall and what about the TV? How big a sofa should you purchase? Should you match your window treatments to the wall colour and what if you really like that fire engine red?

Décor expert Karl Lohnes and Sue Rainville, director of marketing for Hunter Douglas, Canada’s leading window fashions manufacturer, offers the following input.


“Never hang artwork in relationship to the height of the ceiling,” says Lohnes. “It should be hung in relation to the anchor you’re hanging it above or the floor. In low-ceiling room, this means you should hang artwork about 8-inches above the anchor. In a room with high ceilings, hang pieces 12-inches above the anchor.”

According to Lohnes, when hanging artwork without an anchor, the basic rule is to measure 66 inches from the floor-the middle of your artwork should be at this height. This brings the artwork at approximate “eye level” – the normal qualification for hanging art.

What about the television? Advises Lohnes: They should be hung about 40 to 42 inches from the floor to the television’s centre. When hanging art or a flat-screen television over a mantel, it should be placed three to six inches above the top of the mantel.”


The rule for purchasing a sofa, says Lohnes, is that it should be no longer than two thirds of the width of the room. This means that your sofa will be alongside of it. He also suggests that tight-back sofas are the most space-efficient as opposed to deeper sofas which take up extra space because of their cushions.

To make the room seem larger, consider purchasing a sofa with exposed decorative legs that lets you see underneath it as opposed to one with a skirted base. What about for a very small space? “make a small feel as large as possible with a sofa under 39-inches deep and 80-inches long,” concludes Lohnes.


“First look at the window space itself, then the area surrounding it and, finally the room in its entirety,” says Rainville. “If you coordinate the window fashions with the wall colour it will help visually expand the room because low contrast keeps the eye moving around the room. To make the window or room appear smaller and cozier, use dark, warm colours and high contrast between the window and wall.”

She also notes that it is good to remember that colour intensifies as you increase areas of coverage – so some brights might work best as an accent colour. When combining colours in a room a good rule of thumb, she advises, is that the primary colour should be featured in up to 75 percent of the room, the secondary colour about 15 to 20 percent and the third colour about 10 percent.

With these simple rules, ruling your rooms and your décor should be easier than ever.

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