The Right Way to Lay Out Your Living Room: The 7 Formulas Interior Designers Rely On | Kanebridge News
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The Right Way to Lay Out Your Living Room: The 7 Formulas Interior Designers Rely On

What size should the rug be? How high the coffee table? Design pros don’t just wing it. They follow these guidelines.

Mon, Jul 31, 2023 8:24amGrey Clock 4 min

“DESIGNING A ROOM is like putting a puzzle together,” Paul Corrie, an interior designer in Washington, D.C., told me. Despite my having interviewed dozens of design wizards as a journalist, my own suburban Colorado living room remains “unsolved.”

So I reached out to my decorating contacts to see if they could prescribe formulas for living rooms: from optimal rug sizing to how high to hang lights. None of these rules are etched in parquet, but even experienced designers largely stick to them. And they’ll help you (and hopefully me) map out a handsome but homey living room.

1. Keep Your Friends Close

Conversation can sputter fast if your seat is too far from—or discomfitingly near to—your chatmate. The minimum distance between the fronts of seats, says Atlanta designer Vern Yip, is 42 inches. Anything within that “feels like you’re intruding on somebody’s personal space,” said Yip, author of “Design Wise” (Running Press, 2016). The max separation is 120 inches. Any farther and “you no longer feel like you’re in the conversation.”

When laying out seating in a living space, Ellen S. Fisher, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the New York School of Interior Design, often conjures an image of three sides of a square for inspiration. “Why this shape? Because everyone likes a corner seat and to sit at right angles to others when conversing,” she said. Passageways between pieces that will see traffic should be at least 24 to 36 inches wide, says Yip.

2. Serve Up Comfort

My own coffee table is all wrong: a 33-inch wide ellipse of marble that, at just 12 inches tall, means my 6-foot-5-inch husband stoops like a drooping tulip just to pick up his morning tar. Ideally, says Yip, the table surface and seat should be the same height (as should a side table and sofa arm). And place the coffee table no further than 15 inches from the sofa, says Fisher, author of “Home: The Foundations of Enduring Spaces” (Clarkson Potter, 2018). Or even 12 inches, said Fisher. “That might seem too close, but if the table is too far away, a person on the sofa can’t pick up an hors d’oeuvre.” And the table should be one half to two-thirds the length of your settee, “small enough that you can negotiate around it but large enough that people sitting on the ends can still easily access the table,” Yip said.

3. Lower the Lights

You probably know to layer your lighting. An optimal scheme, says Yip, includes recessed, atmospheric and task lighting. But are you aware of ideal placements? Table and floor lamps, for example, should be low enough “so when you’re sitting, the shade doesn’t go above eye-level,” he said. Chandeliers need a minimum of 76 inches from the floor to the lowest point of the light but a maximum of 84 inches. “You see a lot of houses that have double stories—you know, homes in suburbia trying to be mansions—where the poor fixture is hugging the ceiling and doesn’t feel like part of the room,” said Yip. The aim is to have walking space while lending “ambience, atmosphere and scale to the space,” said Yip. Got sconces? Place them on either side of whatever they’re bracketing, be it a painting or mirror, aligned with the centerline.

4. Roll Out a Big Rug

Though I loathe the bland, taupe wall-to-wall carpet we inherited from our home’s previous owners, I have to admit, it creates a boundless horizon and feels dang good underfoot. Conversely, a too-small rug is bound to shrink the room. At minimum, the front feet of the furniture should sit on the rug. Better: all four feet, said Fisher. Yip takes it a step further, often custom-ordering expansive rugs so they extend to within 12 to 18 inches of the “limiting factor” (such as a wall or fireplace hearth).

5. Careful With the Couch

“A 6- to 8-foot long sofa is going to give you the most flexibility in designing a room,” said Corrie. As to the depth of the seat, a person can sit back about 24 inches before he or she starts to recline. Anything deeper calls for throw pillows. As for the overall depth of a sofa, “less than 33 inches starts to feel like a bench seat, and more than 38 inches creates a footprint that will impact everything else,” Corrie said.

6. Aim Higher

I dream of flinging open silk velvet draperies each morning, like a “Downton Abbey” maid. But if I make the splurge, how high should they be hung? “It doesn’t matter if you have thousand-foot-tall ceilings,” Yip said. “Take your drapery as high as you can go,” and don’t stop short of the floor. If you have crown molding, roost your curtain rods just below it. Yes, this costs, but it also makes rooms feel voluminous.

7. Max Out the Viewing

Whether placing a TV, mirror or painting, consider where the observing peepers will be. Hang art so that its center is 60 inches from the floor—“the average human eye level,” said Yip. Televisions, since they’re watched while sitting, can be hung as low as 48 inches floor-to-center. Ideal viewing distance? “Roughly 1½ to 2½ times the diagonal measurement of the screen,” Yip said. For example, a 60-inch screen is best placed 90 to 150 inches from your seats. Any closer and you’ll notice a breakdown in picture quality, says Yip. “Any farther and you won’t feel engaged.”


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Tonino Lamborghini Unveils New Luxury Residences in Ras Al Khaimah

Tonino Lamborghini recently revealed a new luxury project comprising 241 units in Ras Al Khaimah, developed in partnership with Arista Developments.

Tue, May 21, 2024 2 min

Named the Tonino Lamborghini Residences, this project promises a fresh take on luxury living with its iconic design, cutting-edge amenities, and stunning sea views.

Set on Al Marjan Island, the development is adding 241 high-end units to the area’s real estate offerings, all reflecting the sleek, Italian elegance associated with the Lamborghini name.

These residences are designed to impress, featuring modern architecture that harmonizes with the scenic surroundings and interiors marked by meticulous craftsmanship and top-quality finishes.

Living in this one of the project’s units means access to a range of upscale amenities: a state-of-the-art fitness center, multiple swimming pools, beautifully landscaped gardens, and dedicated areas for children’s play. The complex also offers a business center with a conference room, an outdoor BBQ area, and a chic café, catering to all aspects of high-end living.

Arch. Abdulla Al Abdouli, Chief Executive Officer, Marjan, expressed excitement about the introduction of Tonino Lamborghini Residences to Al Marjan Island, noting the project’s blend of sustainable construction and smart home technologies. This integration, he mentioned, guarantees a luxurious lifestyle equipped with the finest modern amenities, reflecting the exquisite Italian craftsmanship. He is confident that this new venture with Arista Developments will significantly boost the allure of Al Marjan Island as a top lifestyle destination in Ras Al Khaimah for both investors and residents.

Tonino Lamborghini, President of the Tonino Lamborghini brand, said: “We are delighted to be among the pioneers in this remarkable new destination in one of the seven emirates of the UAE. Our heartfelt gratitude and recognition go to H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, for his visionary leadership and foresight, and for embracing innovative strategies to revitalize a region full of potential.”

Mr. Arthur Chu, Chairman of Arista Developments, highlighted the project’s ambition to capture the essence of the Tonino Lamborghini brand in every aspect of its design. He described the development of a prestigious residential tower on Al Marjan Island that will reflect the lifestyle and beauty synonymous with Lamborghini. From the sharp, well-defined lines of the exterior to the elegantly designed interior common areas, every detail is crafted to showcase the brand’s distinctive elegance and sophistication. Chu emphasized that the interior designs, personally crafted by Tonino Lamborghini, aim to fully immerse residents in the Italian brand’s luxurious identity.

The variety in housing options is vast, ranging from one and two-bedroom apartments to duplexes, sea view villas, signature villas, and exclusive penthouses.

The collaboration between Tonino Lamborghini and Arista Developments blends iconic Italian style with expert real estate craftsmanship. This venture marks Lamborghini’s first introduction to Ras Al Khaimah and represents a commitment to setting new standards in luxury and modern living.



Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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