20 Rule of Thumb Measurements for Decorating Your Home!

Whenever I'm getting ready to hang art or drapes or am thinking about buying overhead lighting, I end up having to rummage through the papers on my desk to find the scribbled notes with my favorite "rule of thumb" measurements. I decided it was time to put my tried and true rules together and post them online so that I (and you!) can easily reference them.

Hanging Artwork
{Hampton Design House 2012 - Kate Singer}
  • For a single piece of art, the center of the image should be at 56" - 60" from the floor, which places it at eye level. The larger the piece of art, the closer to 56" it should be.
  • When hanging two pieces of artwork, one above another, treat them as one large picture - find the center point between them and use the 56" - 60" rule.
  • For larger pieces of art hung on the same wall, use a spacing of about 2" between them. Smaller pieces can be hung a little closer together. 
  • When hanging art pieces above a sofa or other piece of furniture, the grouping should ideally be about 2/3 the width of the furniture below it. (For example, if an art grouping is being hung over a 60" sofa, the ideal grouping would about 40" in length.)
  • When hanging artwork over a sofa or other piece of furniture, leave 4"- 8" of space between the top of the sofa/furniture and the bottom of the art. No higher!

Window Treatments
{Design New England}
  • Buy drapery panels that will either kiss the floor or puddle on it.
  • To create the illusion of a taller window, mount drapery rods 4" - 8" above the window casing.
  • To make your windows appear wider and let in extra light, extend the rods anywhere between 4" and 10" (excluding finials) beyond the window casing. 
  • Drapery panels should have a combined width of 2-3 times the width of the window so if you have two panels framing a window, each panel should be 1 to 1½ times the window width. 

Light Fixtures
{Pure Style Home}
For a chandelier that will hang over a table:
  • The width of the chandelier should be about 1/2 to 2/3 the width of the table it will be hanging over.
  • The width of the chandelier should be about a foot less than the width of the table at its widest point. 
  • The bottom of the chandelier should hang between 30" - 36" above the surface of the table when there is an 8' ceiling. For higher ceilings, you can hang the chandelier up to 3" higher for each additional foot of ceiling. 

For overhead fixtures in rooms such as a living room or entry way that are not hanging over a table:
  • To determine a good width for your light fixture, measure the length and width of the room in feet and add those two measurements together - the number that you come up with is, in inches, a good appropriate width (For example, if your room measures 10 feet x 15 feet, add 10 + 15 to get 25. A 25" wide fixture would be appropriate for this space.) For rooms with high ceilings, you can add up to 6" or more to the width of the chandelier.
  • To determine a good height for your light fixture, multiply the height of your ceiling (in feet) by 2.5 and by 3. The height of your fixture should be, in inches, somewhere in this range. (For example, if you have 8 foot ceilings, 8 x 2.5 = 20 and 8 x 3 = 24. An appropriate height for your light fixture would be between 20" and 24" when measured from the ceiling to the bottom of the fixture). 
  • An overhead fixture that will be walked under, such as in the entry, should hang 7 feet or more above the floor.

  • Rugs under a dining room table should be at least 24" wider and longer than the table, allowing the back legs of the chairs to stay on the rug even when the chairs are pushed out.
  • Area rugs under a bed should extend at least 18-24" beyond each side of the bed.
  • For most typically sized rooms, there should be approximately 10" - 18" of bare floor between the edges of the area rug and the walls of the room. For small rooms, approximately 8" of exposed floor is a good rule of thumb.

The last two (and maybe most important) rules:
  • Take a few minutes to consider these measurements before purchasing drapes, lighting, or rugs - it may help you avoid making a purchase you'll later regret. However.... 
  • Don't be afraid to break the rules! The rules are meant to help you, not to squash your creativity or the fun of decorating. 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 gorgeously designed rooms break every rule in the book! 

For more rule of thumb measurements, be sure to also check out this post: 10 More Rule of Thumb Measurements for Decorating Your Home
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Pillow Giveaway From ElemenOPillows!

This giveaway is now closed - thanks for entering!

Happy Wednesday friends! I've got a fabulous giveaway for you today from Etsy shop ElemenOPillows, which sells modern, fresh, chic, and affordable pillow slipcovers! The shop's owner, Karen, has a lifelong passion for fabrics, sewing, and decorating that led her to launch ElemenOPillows on Etsy in late 2011. Not only has she already filled orders for thousands of pillow slipcovers, but she even had her pillows featured on the Nate Berkus show! Karen works out of a sewing studio in her home, where she hand-sews her pillow covers using all of these gorgeous fabrics and more:
The pillow covers can be slipped over a pillow you already own or over a pillow insert.  I love the whole concept of pillow covers - years ago I invested in some nice down pillow inserts and then whenever I want to change up the look of a room, I simply buy a few new pillow covers, which are much less expensive than buying entire pillows. It's a guilt-free, inexpensive way to give your room an instant makeover!

ElemenOPilows has a huge selection of pillow covers in endless combinations of colors and patterns and if you're looking for pillow covers in a certain size, Karen takes custom orders.  It's almost impossible to pick a favorite pillow cover because there are so many to choose from but being a sucker for anything chevron, ikat, or grey, this pair of pillows hits the trifecta:

You may remember that I love the combination of orange and pink for a girl's bedroom - using a a few of these orange patterned pillows mixed with some of the pink ones would be so darling!:

These vibrant green pillow covers would also be a great jumping off point for creating a fun, girly space:

One of my favorite colors of the moment is navy - I love this navy and white pillow cover with a chain link pattern:

and I never tire of good ole black and white:

Want to go a little wild?  How about this fun giraffe print pillow cover?
Don't you just want one of each?!! I can't swing that but I can come close - Karen is generously giving one lucky winner a $40 credit to use at ElemenOPillows plus free shipping of the pillow covers that you choose! Entering the giveaway couldn't be easier - simply use the fun widget below to get up to four entries by commenting on this post about which pillow covers you would choose if you won, "liking" Driven by Décor on Facebook, "liking" ElemenOPillows, and/or posting the link for this giveaway on your FB page:

UPDATE: Congrats to Mary C. Nasser - you are the giveaway winner!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway ends Tuesday, September 4th at 11:59 PM EST. Entrants must be 18 years or older and residents of the continental U.S.  Winner will be notified by email and announced on the blog.  Good luck!
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My Search for a Wall Mount Mailbox (and Why I Need One...)

The mail in our neighborhood is delivered by a walking mailman who carries the mail right to our front door.  There are no mailboxes at the end of our driveways - instead, each house has either has a mail slot or a wall-mounted mailbox by the front door. We have a mail slot, which has a lot of perks, including that you don't need to have your mail picked up when you're on vacation and you don't need to worry about scaring the neighbors with your ugly glasses and beat-up robe as you walk outside to get the mail on a lazy Saturday. There is also a big downside to our mail slot - our sweet, lovable twelve pound boston terrier ("Hope") turns into a crazed, mail ripping terror when she hears the mail coming through the slot. It started with just a few teethmarks on pieces of mail here and there and, over time, has escalated into full-out mail destruction. You have to see this video of our boston terror terrier at work to have a full understanding of what I'm dealing with: 
(If the video does not appear on your computer, click {here} to view it on YouTube) 
Can you believe that such craziness comes out of this little dog that looks so sweet and innocent?! I love how she looks over at me a few times at the end of the video as if wondering, "Why are you not yelling at me like you usually do when I do this?!".
I've tried placing a basket under the mailslot to catch the mail as it comes in - this works most of the time but if Hope makes it to the front door while the mail is being put through the slot, she grabs it before it drops into the basket. Most of the mail that she destroys is junk, but the situation took a turn for the worse when she ripped up my Country Living magazine beyond recognition a few weeks ago. It was no longer funny people. I realized that I had to either (a) train Hope not to shred the mail or (b) replace our mailslot with a mailbox that mounts outside of our front door. Option "a" would probably be the best dog parent decision, but I'm thinking that it would involve LOTS of time and patience soooo I'm leaning towards option "b".  Over the weekend I did some searching for a wall-mounted mailbox and found a better selection than I had anticipated.  Some of my favorites are the ones that are styled like an envelope such as Pottery Barn's Envelope Mailboxwhich comes in four finishes including antique silver,
aluminum (love this galvanized look!), antique bronze, and vintage brass:

Another envelope design that's pretty neat is Signature Hardware's Antique Silver Envelope Wall Mount Mailbox, which comes in this antique silver finish with brass accents or in a verde copper finish.

House Art sells a more modern, clean lined envelope mailbox called the No. 10 Letterbox Wall Mount Mailbox. It is available in classic colors such as satin black or dark bronze 
as well as some crazy bright colors like this combination of key lime and bougainvillea pink:
The other wall mount mailbox designs by House Art are more colorful and modern than I'm looking for, but for the right house, they would be so fun.  Like these Monet Wall-mount Mailboxes in Key Lime - how cute are they?!:
One of the most unique wall mounted mailboxes I've found is Signature Hardware's Rustico Wall Mount Locking Mailbox, which is designed to look like a house and features an aged black powder coat finish:

I also like Garden Tones' Peninsula Wall Mount Mailbox that has an embossed "eternity" design and comes in antique brass, antique copper, and satin nickel:

Since our house has a copper covered portico, I like the idea of a copper mailbox (that will fade and patina with time) such as this Grid Wall Mount Copper Mailbox with raised bands in a decorative grid design
or this Horizontal "MAIL" Wall Mount Copper Mailbox:

I'm also considering a few that are very simple and classic in their design such as Signature Hardware's Brexton Vertical Wall Mount Copper Mailbox,
Restoration Hardware's horizontal and vertical mailboxes that come in five different finishes (oil rubbed bronze, antique copper, antique brass, iron, and pewter),
and Mailboxes.com's Salsbury Antique Brass Mailbox:
Do you have a favorite (or do you think that I should just train my crazy dog...)?
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Four Fabulous Baby Shower Games & Activities

The hardest part of planning the baby shower that I recently hosted was coming up with some fun games and activities that hadn't been done a thousand times over. The ones that I came up with won't blow you away with their creativity but they absolutely made for a great time at the shower and resulted in some special mementos being created for the mom-to-be. 

1. Name That Baby
For "Name That Baby", email your guests prior to the shower and ask them to bring a baby pic with them (and not show it to anyone else). Once all of your guests have arrived, display  all of the pics with a number by each one. (You can post them on a bulletin board, lay them out on a table, or hang them on the refrigerator with numbered magnets like I did):  
Have paper and pencils available for your guests and have them write down their guesses for who each baby is. The shower guest who correctly IDs the most babies wins! It's a great low-key game to play at the beginning of a shower because guests can wander over to look at the pictures in between grabbing a drink and munchies and/or catching up with friends. 

2. Daddy Knows Best (via video)
Prior to the shower, videotape the expectant dad answering a series of questions. The ones that I asked are: 

  • What has been {expectant mom's} biggest food craving during the pregnancy?
  • What’s the one word that would best describe {expectant mom's} mood while pregnant?
  • Do you think your baby will be born with no hair, a full head of hair, or in between?
  • How many diapers do you think your baby will go through in the first year?
  • What are you going to be most worried about if the baby is a girl?
  • What about if it’s a boy?
  • What parenting skills are you bringing to the table?
  • What percentage of the time do you think you will get up with the baby at night versus the percentage of time that {expectant mom} will get up?
  • Are you or {expectant mom} more likely to be the parent who says “no”?
  • Which grandparent will spoil your baby the most?

  • Besides you and {expectant mom}, which family member will be your baby’s favorite?
  • What year do you think you will buy your first minivan?
  • How many happy hours do you expect to go to the first year after the baby is born?
  • How many times a month do you think you will hang out with your friends who don’t have kids?
  • From 1-10 how prepared do you feel for the baby’s arrival (with 10 being most prepared)?
  • What are you most looking forward to about being a dad?

At the baby shower, gather everyone around and play the video of the expectant dad on a computer or TV, pausing it after each question is asked so the mommy-to-be can guess her husband's answer. Talk about entertaining! We all got some great laughs out of this one. And the video makes a great momento for the couple to watch years down the road.

3. Wishes for the New Baby
Give each shower guest a sheet with "Baby Wishes" to fill in (for a printable PDF of the navy & green sheet click {here}, pink sheet click {here}, and blue sheet click {here}). Collect them at the end of the shower and give all of the endearing baby wishes to the expectant mom!   

4. Late Night Diapers
For "Late Night Diapers", give each shower guest a few diapers and some fine tipped permanent markers and ask them to write a message to the new mom on the front and/or back of the diapers. Use a brand of diapers that has a more cloth-like feel on the outside such as Pampers Baby Dry rather than diapers with a more slick material. These diapers are to be reserved for late night changings by mom so the point is to write something funny or encouraging to give her a little pick-me-up in the wee hours of the night! Put all of the decorated diapers in a basket that has this "Late Night Diapers" sign attached (click {here} for this printable sign):

Update: Due to so many requests for Late Night Diapers signs in colors other than navy and yellow, I've created several more! Find the free printables for these new signs {here}!

My shower guests came up with some fun messages for their diapers - these are a few of my favorites:

No doubt that these (and a few of the other funny diapers that were a bit too PG-13 to show!) will give new mom a few laughs during those bleary-eyed middle of the night diaper changes. There were also many diapers with sweet, encouraging messages that I know she'll appreciate such as "Enjoy me, I'll grow up fast!" and "Don't ever doubt what a great mom you are". I can't wait for the little guy/gal to get here - given that ALL twelve kids on our cul-de-sac are girls, I'm dying to know if our girl count will go up to 13 or if we'll have the first boy born on our street in over fifteen years!! (Update: Guess what? Another girl!)
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A Baby Shower!: Invitations, Centerpiece, & Mason Jar Glasses

This past weekend was a busy one with one event after another, including a baby shower that I hosted at our house for my friend Julia. The craziness continues today with us trying to pack way too much into the last bit of time before school starts but I thought I'd do a quick post to show you a few pics of some things I threw together for the baby shower.  First off - the invitations. We vacationed in Rosemary Beach in early August and by the time we got back, the shower was only two weeks away so I needed to get invites out ASAP! The solution? I had these adorable invites made through Andrea Gerig Designs on Etsy:  
Not only can you choose the style of invitation on Andrea's site, but you can also choose your colors and customize the invitation to say anything you wish. It's perfect for procrastinators like me because you get an e-mail with your customized invitation attached in JPEG format within 24-48 hours of ordering.  I bought some envelopes at a local stationary store, printed the invites at home, and had them out to the the shower guests the day after I ordered them! 

The baby shower was a luncheon so I put both leaves in my dining room table to expand it to almost 12', which gave us the room to all eat together.  To keep things simple, for the table centerpiece I brought in the potted succulent from my kitchen table (a jade plant from IKEA planted in the Elise Footed Bowl from Pottery Barn) and added two mason jars filled with orange/yellow roses that I grabbed on a trip to the grocery store. I had some burlap ribbon left over from another project that I tied around each mason jar to add some texture and interest. And because I love using burlap.
This arrangement worked well for the shower because it was low (I hate it when you have to talk around or over centerpieces!) and also because I could use the two mason jars filled with roses as prizes for games we played at the shower.  

Since Julia doesn't know if she's having a boy or girl, I stuck with a gender neutral color scheme of navy, orange, and green for the shower.  For the lunch buffet I set up in the kitchen, I alternated orange and white paper plates in a greek key design with green and white ones that I snagged in the checkout line at Home Goods
and we drank out of mason jars with striped straws that I purchased from The Bakers Confections on Etsy.
This group of girls is always fun to hang out with and we got in lots of good laughs sharing our pregnancy and baby stories. I also coordinated some fun games and activities that I'll definitely share them with you when I have more blogging time this week because I can tell you it was HARD finding games that were fun but hadn't been done a thousand times over!  

Update! You can check out the fun baby shower games and activities that I came up with {here}
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Creating a Long Gallery Wall

Last weekend, I stopped by to see my friend Kristin who just moved into a great new house a few miles down the road from me. She's my friend with the grey dining room that I was helping search for drapes (no idea what I'm talking about? see the post {here}). The drapes were for her old house (which sold soon after that post!) - now she's in a new house with a lengthy list of things she wants to do that will help make her house a home.  One of those things is filling up all of the empty wall space! When I was visiting her, Kristin showed me some sketches she has of Cincinnati that were passed down from her grandparents and asked if I thought the long, empty wall in her family room would be a good place to hang them and, if so, in what arrangement.
First of all, I love the sketches and the sentimental value they hold so absolutely they should be proudly displayed in her home. However, the wall she would like to place them on is a pretty long one (13 feet) and these four framed sketches are too small to hang alone on such a long wall. For a few pieces of small art and a long wall, here's what I'd do:
  1. Pimp out the sketches with wide mats, which will make the art look more substantial and impressive, and reframe them. Mats do wonders for any art that you would like to draw attention to but they are especially useful for smaller pieces!
  2. Find several more art pieces to hang with the sketches.  One inexpensive option is to take some neat photos of architectural details around your town or your favorite vacation spot and place them in standard sized matted frames. This would work perfectly for Kristin's art grouping that already has a Cincinnati theme! I prefer to stick with either all color pieces or all black and white pieces for a cohesive look.  Since Kristin's sketches are black and white, I would keep all of her images black and white but add some interest to the art grouping by using a variety of different frames.
  3. Arrange all of the pieces of art together into an attractive gallery wall.  Creating a long gallery wall can be pretty overwhelming so it helps to have some visual inspiration to guide you - here are some of the long galleries that I find most inspiring: 
Anisa Darnell of Milk & Honey Home created a gorgeous long gallery wall, keeping all of her images in either sepia or black and white but mixing things up with unique frames.  I love the use of a large decorative letter to break up the monotony of the square and rectangular shaped frames (some great sources for decorative letters can be found {here}).
I also love this gorgeous arrangement of art that has the perfect balance!  Again, an unexpected piece (in this case, a convex mirror) was added to the grouping of frames for visual interest:
This long gallery wall is a great example of a more contemporary, streamlined look, which was achieved by using similar mats and frames for each piece of art:
{Dumican Mosey Architects}
Another option is to do a gallery-esque wall of picture ledges holding mirrors or art.  Not only does it look cool, but it's totally practical as you can change out your art whenever the spirit moves you without having to worry about patching nail holes.
{Country Living}
Even with some visual inspiration, it can take a bit of trial and error to get a large gallery wall to feel balanced. Instead of ending up with tons of holes in your walls before you get your gallery wall arrangement just right, trace each art piece on kraft paper (which you can find at office supply stores and hardware stores) and cut it out. Then use painter's tape to secure your cut-outs to the wall and play around with different arrangements to figure out what works best. Leave the kraft paper up on your walls when you measure and mark for hangers so those marks go on the paper instead of your walls! 
I'm working on creating a gallery wall myself for over our sectional in the family room. I think that finding art you love (and that is affordable) is one of the most challenging parts of decorating, don't you? Hope you all have a great weekend!
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