1. Please don’t hang your artwork too high. Even if your husband is 6’4”, you and your guests are not. The center of a picture should be about 5” from the floor. If he won’t agree to this, hang them yourself with a friend when he goes out of town.
2. Dining room chairs should really not be pushed all the way under the table. They should be slightly out from the table so you can see some of the chair seat. I am not sure why this is the way we do it, but it is a design rule probably made up by a fabric manufacturer. At any rate, try pulling them out a bit and see what you think.
3. Please do not overload your sofa with too many pillows. My husband, who hardly notices anything like this has often complained to me that he doesn’t know what to do with all those pillows. Does he throw them on the floor or what? And believe me, he doesn’t notice many design details.
4. Have a place for a guest to put a drink or snack. No one wants to hold onto a plate and drink for an evening. Make sure you have a small table, or cocktail table, or something that is convenient for your friends.
5. Speaking of cocktail/coffee tables, they belong in front of the furniture, not centered in the middle of the room. They serve a purpose and you should be able to reach them easily when you are seated (or as in many homes, you should be able to put your feet up on them). I am not saying this is OK, but let’s face it, that is what happens.
6. Let’s talk lighting. It is so important not to keep you or your guests in the dark, unless of course you are playing some kind of weird game where that is appropriate. Your seating areas should have decent light so you can actually read something. A 3-way bulb is a good solution so you can have ambient light too.
7. If you are using area rugs, be sure that your furniture is an anchor and the rug is not “floating” in the middle of the room. Even if only the front legs are on the rug, this will provide the proper anchor. Of course you want to see your new rug and it is oh so pretty, but just be sure to let the furniture sit on it, if only partially.
8. Any centerpieces, or candles, or anything else you put on your tables need to be short enough so that people can see over them. I am not talking about a fabulous decorative arrangement in your foyer, I mean when you are sitting at a table you should be able to see the person across from you. I am assuming you invited them and you like them and might want to see them. In any other situation, the hell with it.
9. Place your seating so that people can actually talk to each other. It is so awkward to be in someone’s home, on the edge of your chair trying to hear them and relate. For those of you with really large rooms, have two separate seating areas, like one in front of the fireplace or windows. I can’t tell you how many times I have sat and smiled and nodded at people, all the while thinking “I sure hope she didn’t just tell me some horrible news since I can’t hear a word she is saying.”
10. I wish the furniture manufacturers would cease and desist making loveseats. They are too expensive and believe me, the second seat on the loveseat is the LAST place anyone but a child would sit. A comfortable chair with an ottoman is so much better. You all know that Seinfeld episode with the “close talker”. I am sure they must have been sitting on a loveseat at some point.