Whenever you get something new for your home, you probably think in terms of color, shape and pattern-but not size. This is a common mistake among homeowners, and even professional designers: they don’t take into account the space requirements of various decor pieces. As a result, they often end up buying a smaller or larger item, or paying a small fortune to get their original piece altered.

It’s not that hard to achieve proportion in your home decor. Often, the first step is getting to know your space-how big it is, how much decor you really need, and how much room you can spare for it. Take some measurements around the room so you can see what you have to work with. Note that you don’t have to fill every bit of blank space with decor; make room for a bit of blank space to keep it all in balance.

For wall art, for example, you can either get a large painting or several smaller pieces. The latter works well for walls that have an interesting color, since more of it can show through. If you have a neutral color and need to give it some personality, then a wall-to-wall piece may work for you. You should also keep it in proportion with your room size-a large piece can overpower a small room, and smaller frames may not get noticed against a large wall.

Rugs and carpets are a tricky part when it comes to room sizing. Area rugs usually need some breathing space so that part of the floor can show through, just as with wall art. As a general rule, keep at least 18 inches of bare floor on all sides of the rug. Otherwise, it covers too much and works more like a carpet. If you’re using it under your furniture, make sure it’s big enough to provide padding when you pull the chairs back.

Finally, consider the size of your furniture. You want something that’s prominent (since furniture is often the room’s focal point), but not so big that it gets in the way. Designers recommend keeping furniture to about 20% of the floor space; that way, you have a good balance of visual interest and room for foot traffic.

Article originally published at Source by Adam White