Mena's Design Tips

Our living room is long and narrow. We have a sofa and two chairs in the middle. What do we put at each end?

At one end, you could put a game or card table and chairs, which would give additional seating and add another function to the room. You could also think about a desk and a chair for a private study area. Third, you might want to consider a piano in that area.

How high do we hang our chandelier over the dining table?

The rule of thumb is 60” off the floor. Start with that and move it up or down to compensate for centerpieces or candlesticks you use on a regular basis.

How do I hang a group of pictures?

Decide where you want the group to be and measure the wall space. Transfer that space to the floor below the wall and make your arrangement on the floor, moving the pictures around until you feel good about the arrangement. It gives you a chance to visualize your group before you put holes in the wall.

How much room do I allow for a dining table and chairs?

If your table is 40 inches by 60 inches you need to add 48 inches minimum to each measurement for the chairs to pull out. Total measurement for the space will be 7 ft. 4 in. by 9 ft.

I've heard that pictures should be hung at “eye level.” Is that true?

Whose eye level? Eye level when sitting down is a lot different than when you are standing up. Decide where the picture will be enjoyed. In a living room where people sit more often, you won’t want the painting up near the ceiling. In a hallway you might want to place the painting approximately 48 inches from the floor to the bottom of the painting. Nothing is written in stone, so adjust for the size of the picture and your comfort.


About Mena

After graduating from Syracuse University with a fine arts degree in interior design and a minor in fabric design, Mena pursued additional study in Italy and Japan before locating to Hobe Sound, Florida. During the next twenty years, she and her mother, also an interior designer, operated two retail design practices in Florida and North Carolina. In 2000, Mena moved to Denver, where she opened a retail interior design practice in LoDo, a fashionable district in downtown Denver.

Her design work includes the Palm Beach home of the publisher of Gourmet Magazine; the Ponce de Leon Hotel and Golf Resort in St. Augustine, Florida; The Colgate Inn, a 60-room country inn at Colgate University, in upstate New York; Jupiter Island town hall, in Jupiter Island, Florida; and numerous upscale homes and lofts in Denver, in addition to homes in the Colorado Rockies.