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House Beautiful – 101 Designer Secrets

2012 May 29

The May issue of House Beautiful is packed with home design goodness, per usual, but the true gem is the “101 Designer Secrets” feature. You can find many of them online here and here but right here you will find the 15 I thought were most relevant to our home and design aesthetic:

1. The hang up – where to hang my artwork? I’ve found that 63″ on center above the floor is a perfect viewing height for most pieces.  (Hunter Kaiser)

2. The ideal height to hang your flat-screen TV is at eye level when you’re in viewing position. The ideal viewing distance is 1 1/2 times the size of your flat screen.  (Jean Larette)

3. The perfect amount of space between a mirror and the top of a mantel is 7″.  (J. Randall Powers)

4. Never use a sconce over a mirror in the bathroom – it will cast unflattering shadows across the face. Sconces that flank the mirror will give a more realistic and flattering light. (Rob Southern)

5. Every room needs a touch of black. Just as it needs at least one antique piece. (Jan Showers)

6. Make sure you display everything in your collection together. (Ann Wolf)

7. Lighting is everything. It creates atmosphere, drama and intrigue in a room. The easiest way to accomplish this is with a dimmer switch. I always use dimmers, even in the powder room! (Martyn Lawrence Bullard)

8. I typically suggest an island 5′ wide by 8′ long. You don’t want it to look like an aircraft carrier. And when cleaning up, you want to be able to reach across it effortlessly. (Christopher Peacock)

9. Paint a small space a dark color. Just go for it. I had a small room in a house once with one tiny, tiny window. I painted it chocolate brown and it came alive. (Susan Ferrier)

10. A dining room rug should extend a minimum of 3′ from the edge of a dining table – dining chairs should always be fully on the rug – not two legs on and two off. (Ginger Brewton)

11. 60 watts for the dining room. I want it bright when reading, so 75 to 100 watts for the living room. It’s nice to have options – if you don’t have dimmers, then have some variety of 40 to 100 watts, so you can change the mood for the occasion. The bathroom needs overhead as well as side lighting. Keep the overhead to 75 watts, with 60 watts on each side. The best lighting is at eye level, not overhead, which creates shadows. And the best light is diffused light from a white or off-white lampshade. (Barbara Barry)

12. When you don’t have dimmers, use 15 watt bulbs to simulate candlelight. Works like magic. (Mary McDonald)

13. In lamps with two sockets, I like to use one pink bulb and one white bulb. (Marshall Watson)

14. Limited overhead can lighting to functional areas such as bathrooms and laundry rooms – the light is too harsh and flat for your living areas. (Timothy Corrigan)

15. Hang curtains. They make a room seem finished. Think of them as the lipstick of decorating. (Peter Dunham)



One Response
  1. May 29, 2012

    I just literally sent H this whole list. Started by sending the one re: the rug, then sent him the whole list w/ lighting ones bolded. I am vindicated in my hatred of overhead lighting.

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