Of course you buy queen sheets for your queen bed, even though you yearn for a king. And you don’t have eight chairs at your kitchen table for four—that would just be crazy.
You started learning about size and scale when you were a tot, trying to wedge those round wooden pieces into square holes. But scale—especially as it applies to interior design and decor—is more than an elementary concept. And if you screw it up? It’ll look as if you live in a circus funhouse. (Which isn’t as much fun as it sounds.)
Don’t beat yourself up—even the pros struggle a bit with scale. And furniture store showrooms are part of the problem, making it hard to imagine how that Pinterest-perfect sofa will actually look in your not-so-Pinterest-perfect living room
If you haven’t measured before you head out to the store, you’re destined to commit one of the most common furniture-buying sins there is: Buying a couch that’s too big.
There’s a limit to the size that table lamps should be, but choosing one that’s too small is the more common mistake, says Justin Riordan of Spade and Archer Design Agency. Too small, and your fixture can get swallowed up by large end tables. Plus, it won’t shed enough light to be useful.
“A good rule of thumb is to check that the bottom of the table lampshade falls roughly at seated eye level,” he says.
Three: Area Rugs
Don’t float an area rug that is too small in the middle of the room, the pros warn, lest it look like a sad and lonely coaster. Plus, a tiny rug usually can’t accommodate your furniture, which leaves homeowners trying to squish their pieces onto the fabric. The result? It will make your room look smaller.
Four: Artwork and Knicknacks
Pictures and paintings need room to breathe. Hang large artwork (or a gallery of smaller pieces) so that it covers no more than 75% of the wall space you have, and make sure the center of the piece is at eye level.
Five: Dining Room Tables
As a general rule, you want 42 inches of clearance between the table and the walls. Keep this in mind if you’re buying a table that expands, Riordan suggests—you need to be able to exit easily, however many leaves you add.
Let’s be honest: Scale makes buying a bed a pain in the butt. How do you get the size you want without having it take over the entire room?
You can push the boundaries a bit here. If you’re dying to move from a queen to a king bed (or swap a full for a queen), allow about 2 feet of clearance to change the sheets without having to do an awkward side shuffle.
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