Interior design is all about the details, and that includes some key design measurements — like how far the couch should be from the coffee table, and how long pendant lights should hang above the kitchen island. It’s those little details that can make a big difference! We’re here to help you get them right so your design is less awkward and more awe-inspiring.
Key design measurements to master, room by room:
Installing kitchen lights, specifically island lights, merits some measuring attention. First, consider the type and scale of the light fixture that best fits the space. For instance, determine if a see-through design is necessary to keep from blocking views around the room, wall art, or nearby windows. Then select a light fixture in scale with surrounding furnishings.
When it comes to hanging light fixtures above islands, plan on the bottom of pendants or fixtures hitting 30-36” above the surface below. This would be the distance between the top of a countertop or table top to the bottom of the light fixture’s lowest point.
If household members are taller, you may consider raising light fixture bases to 40” above the surface below, to ensure the fixture is not within their line of sight. However, If ceilings are lower than 9’ it could look awkward to raise lighting higher. In these circumstances, consider smaller fixtures, with a more linear or horizontal design. If multiple fixtures are to be hung, aim for 24” between pendants.
If you’ve ever knocked your knee on the coffee table getting up from the couch, then you know design measurements matter! Comfortable furniture placement requires ample walking space. Furnishings should ideally be placed at least 36” apart to allow for good flow. However, nested furnishings may require less distance, like 12-18” between the edge of a couch or chair and coffee table. High traffic areas, like areas between the back of a couch and kitchen islands, usually require a minimum of 5’ distance to achieve a comfortable walking path.
The same rules apply for dining tables as kitchen islands, with dining table lights recommended to be hung 30-36” above the table. Longer rectangular or oval dining tables are best supported with linear horizontal lights as opposed to more traditional chandelier style lights often used over round tables. Dining tables over 8’ in length may require multiple fixtures for good lighting. If tables have leaves that are removed when not entertaining, consider more flexible lighting options.
As a rule of thumb, leave 36” between the end of a dining table and wall, and at least 24” for dining chairs to be pushed back. A distance of 18” is ample for end chairs. Also check the legs on chairs under the table to make sure they fit appropriately and are not hitting other chairs or table legs when moving. A 48” round table generally sits 5-6 people, while a 60” round table best fits 7-8 people.
Bathrooms are busy zones before heading out the door in the morning. Extra walking space and double sinks can help with the hectic-ness of multiple people using one small room at the same time. At least 6’ of wall space is necessary to support a double sink, 8’ is even better if you’re designing a more spacious master bath.
Similarly, walk-in showers are most comfortable when they are around 5’x5’ or larger in size. Also, keep towel bars in mind when measuring. Towel bars are typically hung between 42-48” off the ground. Be sure they are not hung behind doors where they could rub, and not too close to a window or mirror where they could block a view once towels are hung.
From key measurements to major renovation, our team is here to help with flexible design services—allowing you to gain the experience of a professional interior designer, specific to your project needs and budget. Contact us today to set up your initial consultation, and let’s get measuring!
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