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Secret 1: Get The Lighting Right -
Create a relaxed ambience by hanging a large pendant light a metre above the top of the dining table - or, for that matter, a large coffee table placed centrally in a living area. - Hang your lampshade too high and you'll kill the atmosphere,too low and you'll be playing peek-a-boo with your dinner guests. For best results, create a subtle glow by adding a dimmer switch, too. - Don't forget to check what colour your shade will throw around the room - and in which direction the light will go. If you want to keep the lighting low, ensure the shade doesn't have an opening at the top - or light will bounce back off the ceiling. Or, buy bulbs that are designed only to throw light downwards. Bear in mind that very dark shades will allow little light to seep out of the shade, while warm-toned shades, such as those in bronze orreds, will throw a pinkish glow around the room.
Secret 2: Get The Right Size TV -
Get the right size TV by measuring the distance from the sofa to where it will sit (in inches), and then dividing by 2.5. - The sum you end up with (in inches) is the width of screen you should go for, if you want to get the proportions right. - If you really want a much bigger TV, hanging it on the wall - over a fireplace or in an alcove - will help minimise its impact on the room. - Also, depending on the colour scheme of your living room, you could also consider, buying one with a white or silver frame - both of which are less obtrusive than bachelor-pad black.
Secret 3: Allow Enough Space -
When it comes to your dining table, avoid a squeeze by allowing a metre gap between your dining table and the nearest obstacle behind each chair. - Coffee tables and sofas ideally want at least 50cm between them, if you don't want to be knocking your shins as you pass between them. There's no reason that sofas and chairs, sitting at right angles to each other, can't almost butt up against each other, but ask yourself if this will restrict the traffic in the room. In other words, will it be a pain to have to walk right round the sofa to get to it, when moving it and the chair apart by about 50cm or so will mean that you can move comfortably between the two. - If you're planning a kitchen, and you have the space, allow at least 125cm between two sets of units, so that two people can move about in the floorspace, ovens and drawers can be opened comfortably, and the dishwasher can be unstacked without everything else having to be stopped. - In a bedroom, you might be tempted to add as much storage as possible, but ideally, you shouldn't have one side of a double bed up against a wall, and the gap between the wardrobes and a bed should be at least 1m. Go for slimmer wardrobes with sliding doors and a slightly smaller bed if space is a real problem. - Before buying any furniture, mark out an imaginary table and chairs, sofa and coffee table or bed and dressing table, for example, on the floor using a sheet and pillowcases, then walk around it and see if the space will work or if you'll have to downsize.
Secret 4: Choose The Right Paint Colour -
Choosing a paint colour from a colour chart can be tricky, so play safe and buy sample pots in one or two shades lighter than the one you think you want. - Paint them all onto large pieces of thick white paper and stick them on the walls you'll be painting - then watch how the colour changes with the light throughout the day. - Bear in mind that the light will fall differently on different walls in the same room, so consider your choice carefully against furniture and existing accessories during the day and at night. - If you're dithering between different colours, this method should help you choose the right one. Once you've found the colour you like, it might then be worth getting a couple more tester pots and repeating the exercise with slightly different tones of the same colour.
Secret 5: Hang Mirrors & Pictures Properly -
Hang a mirror at the perfect height every time by ensuring that its centre is 1.5m from the floor. - The average person's eye line is 1.5m from the floor, so use this as your guide. Putting a table beneath? Try to buy one that will leave around a 20cm gap between the bottom of the mirror frame and the top of the table. - So far, so good, but what about pictures? These are far harder to quantify, but essentially, you want to link them visually to the furniture beneath them, not to the ceiling above them. So, that means they will often be hung so that the middle of the picture is slightly lower than the midway point between the ceiling and either the floor (if there is no furniture beneath them) or the top of the piece of the furniture below. - However, you also need to consider the size and shape of the picture (or pictures) and the space they'll be filling. Ideally, your picture shape and size will complement the space it's hanging in. It makes little sense to put a tiny picture midway up a huge wall space, but a larger frame or a group of pictures will do the trick.
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