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Quick tips from top designers

Answering some of the most-asked questions about decorating, today’s top designers share their wisdom with House Beautiful in the July/August issue:

A 36″-wide rectangular tables is perfect for conversation.  A round tables with a diameter of 48″ seats six; a 60″ round will handle eight standard dining chairs or 10 ballroom chairs.    –Charlotte Moss

How big should an overhead light fixture be?  Just add the length and width of the room in feet and whatever number you come up with is, in inches, your guide for the fixture’s diameter.  So, a 15’x20′ room would need a 35″-wide chandelier.   –Bunny Williams

One gallon of paint will cover about 400 square feet of wall.  –Alexa Hampton


Mount curtains as high as possible to give the room height, and let them break 1 1/2 inches on the floor.   –Miles Redd


A kitchen island should be about 38″ high — a little taller than the countertops — to be comfortable for prep.   –Thomas O’Brien


Curtains should be 2 1/2 to 3 times the width of the window.  So, if you’re doing two panels, each should be 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 times the window width.  Buy a rod that’s 20″ wider than your window so it extends 10″ on either side.  Your window will seem much wider than it really is.  –Libby Langdon


The bottom of a dining room chandelier should hang 36″ above the table.   –Thom Filicia


Install light switches 36″ above the floor and 1 1/2 to 2 inches to the side of the door trim.   Gil Schafer


For a standard 84′ sofa with exposed legs and a tight back, you’ll need 14 yards of plain 54″-wide fabric.  Add 2 yards for a skirt.   Madeline Stuart


From classical times to today, the golden ratio has always been the perfect proportion: 1 to 1.62.   Eric Cohler

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