Answers to Common Interior Design Questions

Design Tips by Cindy Beyer

This is a sponsored column by Cindy Beyer, ASID,NCIDQ. Beyer is a Reston-based interior designer and Reston Now Best Reston Business Award winner. Find her online at

Many people ask me questions about various design subjects. Here are some of the most common:

What size chandelier should you use?

Size of chandeliers: A good guide for sizing the chandelier is half the size of the tabletop. For instance, if your table width is 48″, then the diameter of the chandelier should be 24″. If you have a 60″ diameter table, then the diameter should be 30″. Remember, this is just a general rule of thumb.

How high do you mount your chandelier?

A good rule is 2-1/2″ -3″ for each foot. If your ceiling height is 8 feet, then the height of your fixture should be about 24″.  For a 10′ ceiling, your fixture should be about 25-30″.  Mounting over the table is also a question I am often asked. I like to tell my clients that 30″from the table top is perfect.

What is the proper rug size to use in a room?

How far should area rugs be away from the wall? If you want to cover most of the room to create a larger sitting area, then place the area rugs from 6 inches to 2 feet from the wall. I like to place all of the furniture on the rug with the back edges of the legs touching the edge of the carpet.  This way I do not have half of the legs on and half off.

However, if you are using an existing carpet and have a larger sitting area, then make sure you build up under the leg of the furniture on the floor to equal the height of the carpet and pad. I very often will custom size my rug to fit the space.

What size rug do I use under the dining room table?

I use a general rule of thumb to have the carpet extend at least 24-36″ from the edge of the table.  This way your dining chairs will stay on the carpet.

Can I paint my ceiling a color?

Many clients ask me if it is proper to paint the ceilings anything other color than white. I say, never paint it white.

If you must paint it light, I suggest Benjamin Moore’s Linen White. If you are using a wall color from a color card and want to stay in the same family, I suggest either going up the card or down the card for the ceiling color.

Some of my favorite ceiling colors are: Benjamin Moore’ North Shore Green, Woodland White, Sand Dunes and Healing Aloe in the blue and green family.

I also do not mind a faux painted sky in a bedroom. Don’t be afraid of also using a darker color on the ceiling. Think outside of the box, and you will be pleasantly surprised. I just finished having my family room ceiling painted Benjamin Moore’s Baked Pretzel. It turned out fantastic. Always make sure you use a flat finish on your ceilings, unless you are doing something special like Venetian Plaster or a high gloss for a trendy effect.

Please visit my website at If you have any design questions, please feel free to email me at: [email protected]

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