Thursday, February 7, 2019

the mathematical formulas behind good design

When you step inside a home that just 'works', do you ever wonder how and why it looks and feels so pulled together? Like each of us in our own field, designers have spent years studying their craft and are schooled (whether in design school or the school of hard knocks) in the basics of good design and have years of experience in their tool belt!

The interior world talks a lot about a designer's eye - their personal aesthetics and influences. Some of these are learned, but most designers possess inherent intrinsic attributes that make them difficult to duplicate, and in high demand!

But what is rarely chatted about are the mathematical formulas every good designer knows to follow! These formulas create the foundation for their creative expression and application.

So, the next time you embark on one of these following projects, be sure to get out your ruler, er, measuring tape, and follow these simple formulas:


Hanging a chandelier over a table
The space from the bottom of the chandelier to the top of the table should be
between 30-34 inches, and the fixture should be 1/2 to 2/3 the width of the table.  

Hanging a light fixture that is not over a table
Allow 7 feet from the floor to the bottom of your light fixture.

For a 2-story foyer, the bottom of your light fixture should not be lower than the second floor.
Foyers with windows, be sure to center the chandelier within the window.

Bathroom Vanity
The light fixture should bae at least 24 inches wide and
should be the same size or smaller than the mirror.
Allow 75-80 inches between the floor and the bottom of the light fixture.

Bathroom Sconces
The bottom of the shade should be 60-65 inches from the floor.
Over a kitchen island
Allow 30-34 inches between the top of the island and the bottom of the light fixture.
The space between each pendant should be larger than the diameter of the pendant.


The typical formula is to extend the drapery rod 3-6 inches from the window frame.
This gives the illusion that your windows are much wider, and allows in more light.
For a more dramatic effect, extend the rod 10-13 inches beyond the window frame.

To give the room the illusion of taller ceilings, mount the drapery rod 4-6 inches
(or higher) above the window frame. This helps elongate your ceiling height.
Your drapes should just kiss the floor!


Hang shelves in 3 or 5, not 2 or 4!

Hang art in 1, 3, 5 - you get it!

For a more formal backdrop, hang your art
in straight lines to create one cohesive look. 

When accessorizing, use odd numbers, e.g.
use an odd number of flowers in 3 of 5 vases (work the formula)


I love this graphic from Apartment Therapy.
For many years, I worked in a Fine Arts Gallery during the
summer months - the owners instilled these very same formulas in me.


Follow these simple formulas found on
Joanna Gaines + Magnolia's Blog
to calculate the right size rug for any room!

While not a math wizard, I do find these formulas easy to follow and always provide the correct result!

Until next time,

la chasse au bonheur

1 comment:

  1. Such an attractive and thought-provoking post... I feel more elegant simply visiting Le Petit Chateau, Darcy.