How big a dining table can I fit in my room?

The general rule of thumb is that you want three feet of space between the edge of the dining table and a wall or piece of furniture.  That leaves space for a person to pass behind someone sitting at the table and also space for pushing back the chair when you want to get up from the table.  That rule may vary some depending on the particular circumstances of the room (a dining space with a bay window for example), but it is a good rule to follow to not crowd a room with too big of a table.

I want to sit eight people at my dining table.  How big a table do I need?

For rectangular tables a six foot table seats six; an eight foot table seats eight; etc.  For round tables, we need to do a little math. Take the diameter of the table (the measurement end to end) and divide by eight.  A 64” round table will seat 8. If the table has a leaf, add two people for each leaf.

What size chandelier should I get for my dining table?  How high should I hang it above the table?

Take the width of the table and divide it in half.  A 40” wide table should have a 20” fixture. A chandelier should hang about 30” above a dining table.  Since most tables are 30” high, the bottom of a dining room chandelier should hang approximately 60” from the floor.

How do you figure the right size light fixture for a room without a dining table?

Measure the room and add together the length and width of the room in feet.  That number is the size of the fixture you need in inches. A 10’ x 10’ room needs a 20” fixture.  A living room that is 20’ x 14’ can use up to a 34” fixture.

How do I figure the amount of light I need for my room?

First we need to calculate the size of the room in square feet.  Multiply the length and width of the room to get total square feet.  Multiply the number of total square feet by 1.5 to get the total number of watts needed.  A 12 x 20 foot room is 240 square feet and requires 360 watts of lighting.  Remember to add the wattage of lamps and recessed lighting to the light provided by a ceiling fixture.  Work spaces may require additional task lighting.

I like LED bulbs.  Can I use a higher watt LED bulb in a lower watt rated lamp?

One of the reasons for the popularity of LED bulbs is that they are more energy efficient and draw less power.  A 60 watt LED bulb draws about 8 watts of power; an 100 watt bulb about 15 watts.  You can safely put a higher watt LED bulb in a fixture designed for a lower watt incandescent bulb as long as the power draw from the LED is lower than the power draw limit for an incandescent bulb.

How can I update my traditional home without changing everything?

We advise our clients, many of whom have beautiful traditional homes, to start a transformation with paint! Use more neutral tones on walls and brighten heavy, dark trims by painting them white

Take traditional style dining chairs and paint them fun modern color like white, black or red and use them with your existing traditional table.

Reupholster classic pieces in funky fabrics, maybe changing dark wood frames to a lighter, more up to date color. Changing out throw pillows on existing sofas can be an easy way to add a pop of color and lighten up even the deepest traditional tones

Take down heavy, elaborate window treatments and replace with them with sleeker, more modern Hunter Douglas window coverings.

Replace heavy traditional area rugs with ones that have more simplified designs and textures

These simple introductions will modernize your home until traditional furnishings are back…and trust me, they will be back!

Which is better, solid wood or veneer?

That’s really asking the wrong question.  The fact is there is good solid wood furniture and bad solid wood furniture.  The same is true with veneered product. There are some looks that can only be achieved with veneers.  A fine retailer like the stores that make up White House “Designs for Life” has vetted the furniture world and can guide you to quality product whether solid or veneered.

What is top-grain leather?  Why is it better?

A natural hide of leather is too thick for most upholstery.  To make it usable, the leather is mechanically split.  The top of the hide is the top-grain.  The bottom layer is called the split.  The split needs to be coated with some kind of polymer and processed to mimic a top-grain leather.  Top-grain leather is superior because the cell structure of the hide is tighter and stronger than the split.  As the bond between the polymer and the leather of the split weakens over time, a split will crack and peel.  Most fine upholstery manufacturers, like Hancock & Moore and Bradington-Young almost exclusively use top-grain leathers.

How do I know if a sofa is good quality?

Shopping for furniture can be very confusing.  Prices can range widely from store to store.  One hallmark of fine upholstery is eight-way hand-tying.  The springs that make up the seat deck are tied and knotted by hand with Italian twine eight different ways to ensure that the spring stays in position and compresses directly up and down.  Hand-tying requires a skilled worker to do the work.  In contrast, sinuous spring construction requires only stapling a sinuous wire to the front and back of the frame.  Sinuous wires will fatigue and pocket over time while hand-tied coils hold up.

There are a variety of other things that make up a fine sofa –double-dowelled and corner-blocked frames; the thickness of the lumber used to make up the frame; the quality of the cushions and the materials used to pad the upholstery; and of course, the quality of both the fabric and the tailoring.  Let the designers at White House Luxe and White House Living show you what is a quality sofa.

I am concerned about my upholstery getting dirty.  What options do I have for fabric?

All upholstery fabrics come with Cleaning Codes –S for a fabric cleaned with a solvent and W for a fabric cleaned with a water based cleanser.  We recommend keeping the name of an upholstery cleaner handy… just in case.  Armed with the cleaning code, they’ll know what to do.

Even better, more and more manufacturers have added performance fabrics to their line up.  These fabrics come with a wide variety of trade names including Sunbrella, Revolution, Inside Out, Crypton, and Alta.  Each is manufactured differently and offers different degrees of cleanability.  Other fabrics like microfiber and Brisa are generally highly cleanable.

Lastly, White House “Designs for Life” offers two forms of third-party protection.  You can make a nonperformance fabrics more stain resistant by having us apply Fibreguard to the surface.  Yet another option is to purchase a Guardsman furniture protection plan.

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