Rules, rules, rules.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

There are a lot of rules out there, especially when it comes to design, interiors, or decorating.  Do this, don't do that; put this with that but not with that other; never put these things together; always put these things together; put this like this but never like that.....Do a quick Google search, "interior decorating rules" and you get 1.5 million page results.

I'm not a big rule follower.  I know some of the rules, I'll look others up for reference, but don't always follow them.  There is no one-size-fits-all solution to design.  I realize why all these rules are out there; they're meant to help people who want to do a little DIY, do a few things around the house but feel like they don't know where to begin or how best to do things or what is the "right" way.  Sometimes though, these rules are not helpful to those people and trap them even more in their fears of doing something wrong, resulting in a staid, formulaic outcome.  The "right" way is what works for you, not everyone else.

"Hang all your pictures at 56" high on center."  Pfft, sorry.

One of the first things I shopped for was a dining room light fixture.  We decided the back room off the kitchen would be our dining room.  The door to the back yard is just to the left.

As you can see in their wonderful staging, they set up this particular room as a family room of sorts, a couch, and a television on the wall (opposite the couch, which was one of those cardboard and plastic numbers, ya know, real quality staging piece).  And another horrible color on the walls.  They also put in a ceiling fan.  They had quite the photography lens for these photos; the room looks biggish but it's really about 9'x11'.  The floor lamp was decent and so were those fuzzy pillows again, but right, not my point here.

Mike wanted to keep the ceiling fan but I sure didn't.  It was huge, too huge for the room, and hung there like a looming, overly bright 52" diameter beast.  I wanted a nice fixture, one that didn't blow air in my face as I ate, and a dimmer switch.

I shopped and I shopped and I shopped, probably 90% online since I was at work and didn't have a lot to do.  It was tough to find something that looked good, was a good size, something that we both agreed on, and wasn't hugely expensive.  It took a while really.  I'd send links to Mike, I'd get no response (that was his way of saying, uh no, that's ugly) or if he wrote back and liked something, I had changed by mind by that point.

"A dining room light fixture should be mathematically proportional to your dining room table."  Uh huh.  If you ask me, it can be whatever you want it to be.

"A dining room fixture should hang at exactly x" from the top of your table."  Or there are a slew of other similar rules:  don't hang the fixture any lower than x" from the ceiling, or hang it x" off the floor, or what have you.  Those can be helpful as a guide but I feel like they're not taking the whole picture into consideration.  I know these rules are very helpful to people but I just wish folks realized you don't have to abide by them to the letter.

The uh...wait, let me check my binder...Kenroy Home Teton 3 light pendant.*  (See how handy that was?)  It's got an oatmeal colored shade, much lighter and grayer in person than depicted, a translucent plastic shade to soften the light and the metal is a dark bronze, almost black.  A modern yet Prairie yet Craftsman with a hint of mid-century.  Nice.  At 22" in diameter, I was concerned it wouldn't be large enough, but once it arrived, it was perfect.

Being the hardcore shopper that I am, I shopped the price on several websites, found one having a 20% off sale on top of a great beginning price, it had free shipping, and then I used eBates, so I saved quite a bit of cash.  I think I spent about $125 for it, less than my in-my-head budget limit of $150.  And it doesn't look like a cheapy fixture either.

But fyi, taking down a ceiling fan can be a marital test.  It's not simple.  And they are unruly.  We work well together on projects, really well, like almost weirdly too well, but Mike was grumpy that day so it wasn't a lot of fun.

Anyway, looong story short, I hung the fixture at a height that looked good to me.  I didn't measure, I didn't calculate.  "Hold it there baby, let me step back....wait, a little lower, ok, perfect."  Toss in a little rocker dimmer switch and voila, rule breaker.  I'll post a photo of it hanging when it's not such a gloomy dark winter day here.  And no, I won't measure how high it is off the table, sorry.

Come see how the dining room turned out here.

*The light fixture is an Amazon affiliate link, mwah thanks!


  1. Love. (Though I can't believe you didn't post a picture. That's a TOTAL tease.) ;-)

  2. I know, it was terrible of me to not post a photo! It was a dark and gloomy day, it would have made for bad photos. Soon, I promise!


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