10 More Rule of Thumb Measurements for Decorating Your Home

Two decorating projects that I’ve been working on this month are selecting a ceiling fan for our home office and helping my sister find dining room chairs that work well with her new dining table. Once again, I’ve gathered together some measurement guidelines to help in making my decorating decisions and then compiled them here for easy future reference. 

10 helpful measurements for decorating your home!

 (For my previous post on 20 rule of thumb measurements for hanging artwork, selecting and hanging window treatments, and choosing light fixtures and rugs, go to: 20 Rule of Thumb Measurements for Decorating Your Home). 
Ceiling Fans

It’s important to choose a ceiling fan that is proportional to the size of your room.  To determine the fan size that’s most appropriate for your space (fans are sized by the number of inches that their blades span), first determine the square feet of your room by multiplying the room’s length by its width. Then use these suggested guidelines:

  • For rooms up to 75 sq ft, choose a 29″ – 36″ fan
  • For room 76 to 144 sq ft, choose a 36″ – 42″ fan
  • For rooms 145 to 225 sq ft, choose a 44″- 48″ fan
  • For rooms 225 to 400 sq ft, choose a 48″- 54″ fan
  • For rooms over 400 sq ft, choose a fan that is 54″ or larger. 
  • For large great rooms, a fan as large as 72″ may be appropriate.
  • If the room is over 400 sq ft, consider using two fans, particularly if the space is rectangular.  
  • Ceiling fans should be hung at a height so that the blades are at least 7 feet above the floor. For ceilings that are 8 feet or less in height, consider a hugger/low-profile fan to keep the fan blades from being too low.

If your ceiling is over 9 feet tall, your fan will require an extension downrod. Here are some guidelines for determining the approximate length of your downrod:

  • For 9 foot ceilings, use a 6″ downrod if needed
  • For 10 foot ceilings, use a 12-18″ downrod
  • For 11 foot or taller ceilings, subtract 9 feet from your ceiling height to get the length of your downrod.  For example, if you have a 12 foot ceiling, 12-9=3 so you would want a 3′ downrod.
  • If you have extremely tall cathedral height ceilings, fans are often hung higher off the floor than for more standard height ceilings.  For this reason, for cathedral ceilings use the above calculation to determine the maximum length of your downrod – you may wish to go with a downrod that is a foot or more shorter than what you calculate.
  • If ceiling height allows, the fan blades should be at least 8-9″ from the ceiling for optimal airflow.
  • Ceiling fans should have a minimum of 18″ clearance between the wall and the tip of the fan blades.

If you’re searching for a good-looking ceiling fan for your home, you may find this recent post on ten great ceiling fans to be helpful.

Dining Chairs & Tables
  • The distance between the top of the table and the chair seat should be about 12″. Therefore, to determine the seat height that’s best for your table, take the height of your table and subtract 12 inches.  For example, most dining tables are 30″ high so an appropriate seat height would be 30-12=18″.
  • Allow at least 32-36″ of space between the back of each dining chair and the wall or furniture behind it to allow room to pull chairs in and out easily. If the area behind the chairs is a traffic pathway, increase the amount of space.
  • The back of your dining room chairs should be taller than the top of the dining table but how much taller is a matter of personal preference.  When dining chairs are lower in height, it feels more modern whereas taller chairs tend to make a room feel more traditional and formal. If you’re using different side and end chairs, your end chairs should be taller than your side chairs.
  • A seat depth of 16-18″ is recommended for dining. 
  • For rectangular dining tables, ideally allow a minimum of 24″-28″ of table length per person and some additional inches at the corners (how much space is needed at the corners depends upon the table width – more additional space is needed for narrower tables than for wider tables). Always consider the location of the table’s legs/base in determining how many people it will comfortably seat. Also consider the width of your dining chairs – if you have wider than average chairs, the amount of table length per person will need to be greater.
Want more decorating tips? Check out my previous post with 20 rule of thumb measurements for decorating your home {here}.
20 rule of thumb measurements for decorating your home - so helpful!
And remember that considering these measurements can help you make better decorating decisions and furniture purchases. However, if you’ve tried something with a room that doesn’t fit with these measurement “rules” but looks and feels right to you, go for it! Some of the most unique, gorgeously designed rooms out there are ones that have broken a rule or two!
KJ Signature


  1. [email protected] says

    What is the rules of thumb when replacing lamp shades and you dont want to use the old dated tall cylinder ones Thanks Vicki

    • says

      Personally, I like it when the mirror is about the same width as the nightstand. The height totally depends upon what you’ve got going on in the rest of the room, including the height of the ceiling, height of headboard, etc. so there’s not a great rule of thumb for that!

  2. Christine says

    I was wondering if you can use a darker wood table if all the rest of the wood in the floor and cabinets are a light maple color?

    • Kris @ Driven by Decor says

      Hi Christine – absolutely! In fact mixing woods can result in a more high-end look than if all the wood tones in your room are exactly the same.

  3. Sarah says

    Wanting to hang 2 chandeliers in my dining room.

    The room is 15 x 13’6″ with 10′ ceilings.

    I have found 2 antique chandeliers that I love. They are 18.5″ in diameter. Do you think that is adequate since I will have 2?

    Thank you SO much!

    • Kris @ Driven by Decor says

      Hi Sarah! For your two chandeliers, it is actually the width of the table that’s going to matter more than the size of the room. 18″ chandeliers would work well for a table that’s about 30″ wide (give or take 3-6 inches). It’s fine to use two (I love that look!) if your table is long enough so that they don’t look crowded. Hope that helps!

  4. Becky says

    What is the right height for a floor mirror in a foyer with 12 foot ceilings if you want to present a dramatic effect?

    • Kris @ Driven by Decor says

      Hi Becky,
      Unfortunately I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all answer to that question. I think it totally depends on the style and layout of the space and what other furniture is already in it. It sounds like you’re working on a gorgeous space!!

  5. Roger says

    Love the tips, Kris. I’m putting a mirror over a fireplace mantel, with windows on either side of the fireplace.

    Would the ideal width be the same as you recommend for over a sofa? (I think that was 2/3..)


    • Kris @ Driven by Decor says

      Hi Roger,
      Mantels are a little more flexible than walls since you can layer several art, mirrors, and accessories. I don’t think there is one “ideal” width – it all depends upon what else you’re putting on the mantel. But if the only thing you’re putting on it is a mirror, a width of about 2/3 would be about right!

  6. Mary Barr says

    I have a canvas art piece that measures 30″ W x 47″ H. I want to add a pair of sconces on each side. How tall can my sconces be? I like one that is 24″ tall and another that is 31″ tall. I don’t want my sconces to overpower the picture. Also, do I center them to the picture or hang them lower than center?

    • Kris @ Driven by Decor says

      Hi Mary! I wish I could give you an answer but it would just be guessing – this is a situation where there are so many factors that come into play (how weighty are the sconces, what else is in the space, etc.) that I would recommend getting the opinion of a designer who can come out to your house and see it in person. Sorry I can’t help!

  7. Pat says

    How high should a shower curtain rod be above the floor? I have a tub with a separate shower surround. Thank you for all the great tips.

    • Kris @ Driven by Decor says

      Hi Pat – I think that it’s totally personal preference but I like to hang my curtain rods so that the curtain falls to about 1-2″ off the floor. Thanks for reading!

  8. Gary says

    Hi, I have master bathroom single sink vanity that is proximately 52 wide with the sink on the left half of the vanity and counter top space on the right half of the vanity. The right side of the vanity buts up to a wall with light switches/electrical outlets and doorway while the left side of the vanity ends with a toilet and shower beyond My question is where do I center my lighting which will be mounted to the wall above the mirror? The mirror will cover the entire width of the vanity (52″ wide). Do I center the lighting over the sink or the entire vanity?

    ~ Gary

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