Decorating a living room can be daunting, but with a few key guidelines in mind, you can create a beautiful and functional space.

Ever wonder how high to hang your artwork or how much room to leave between your couch and your coffee table? Of course, you have! Even the most experienced decorators need a reminder. It’s about the basic rules of decorating.

Here are some key decorating rules. They will help you make the perfect living room.

Window Treatments

Curtains and drapes keep out light and provide privacy. They also add softness, color, and pattern to a room. You can also look for “blinds near San Antonio” so you can play with light patterns inside you living room and allow light to beautifully filter in through the blinds.

  • Curtain Rod Placement: Mount curtain rods 2″ to 4″ above the window frame. Or, put them closer to the ceiling. This creates the illusion of taller windows.
  • Curtain Rod Length: Extend curtain rods 4″ to 10″ beyond the window casing on each side to make the window appear wider.
  • Curtain Panel Width: Use curtain panels with a combined width of at least double the width of the window for proper fullness.
  • Curtain Length: Curtains should skim the floor or puddle slightly (about 2″) for an elegant look. To achieve a puddle effect, add an extra 2″ to 4″ to the curtain length.

Art Placement

No room is complete without artwork on the walls. Follow these guidelines to hang artwork like a pro:

  • Eye Level: Hang artwork with the center point at 56″ to 60″ from the floor, which is generally eye level for most people.
  • Grouping Artwork: When hanging multiple pieces, treat them as one large piece. Find the center point between them, using the eye-level rule.
  • Spacing: Leave approximately 2″ between pieces of art hung in a group.
  • Sofa Clearance: Leave 4″ to 8″ between the top of a sofa and the bottom of a piece of art (single or group).
  • Hanging Hardware: Use picture hooks rated for 100 pounds or more for a secure hold.


A well-lit living room needs many types of lighting. They should be placed at different heights throughout the room. Here are some tips:

  • Floor Lamps: Aim for a floor lamp height of 68″ to conceal the bulb whether you’re seated or standing.
  • Wall Sconces: Hang wall sconces at least 60″ above the floor and 3″ to 6″ from the edge of a mirror or piece of art they’re flanking.
  • Hanging Light Fixtures: Make sure the bottom of a hanging light is at least 7′ from the floor. This is for spaces where people will walk underneath.
  • Light Switches: Install light switches 36″ above the floor and leave 1&1/2″ to 2″ between the switch and door trim.

Furniture Arrangement

Arranging furniture is hard. But, these guidelines will help you make a layout that’s functional and good-looking:

  • Coffee Table Distance: Leave about 18″ between the couch and the coffee table. This will give you comfortable leg room.
  • Area Rug Placement: In an average-sized room, leave 10″ to 20″ between the edges of an area rug and the walls.
  • Wall Clearance: Maintain about 36″ between the wall and a piece of furniture for easy movement.
  • Wainscoting Height: In a room with 8′ ceilings, aim for a wainscoting height of 32″.
  • Bookshelf Depth: Use bookshelves with a depth of 12″ for standard books or 15″ for oversized art books.
  • Chair Spacing: Leave 42″ between living room chairs placed side by side to accommodate a table, or 24″ in smaller rooms.

Color and Pattern Selection

Color and pattern choices are largely subjective. But, these guidelines can help you create a balanced and interesting space:

  • Color Proportions: Use your main color for about 60% of the room, usually the walls. Use two accent colors for 15% each. Use one strong color for the remaining 10%. This will add visual interest.
  • Pattern Mixing: Use three patterns in different scales. The scales are large, medium, and small. This mix creates a dynamic and layered look.

Remember, these guidelines are meant to be a starting point and not strict rules. Trust your instincts. Experiment with different arrangements and combinations.

They will help you create a living room that reflects your style and meets your needs with these decorating rules in mind. You’ll be well on your way to creating a beautiful and inviting living space.

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