I was miserable at math in school. My Grade 10 teacher agreed to pass me if I promised never to take math again. (True story). I use a lot of math in my business now, fractions, decimals, converting meters to yards, inches to centimeters. I’m pretty good at it and do most of it in my head. Who would have thought. I also flunked potholder in Home Ec. Here are a few things you may not know but might be a good idea to tuck away for future reference. Because so much of what we use in the decorating world is from the U.S. a working knowledge of both inches and meters is essential.

A meter is a little more than a yard. ( A meter is actually 39.5” but we’ll use 40” for ease of calculation, a yard 36”) Every 4 inches is .1 of a meter or 10 centimeters. So, if the pattern says 1 yard is required, this is 36” divided by 4 equals 9; you would need .9 of a meter. If you need 7 yards, this is 7 times .9 = 6.3 meters. 2.5 centimeters is one inch.

How much paint is needed? The wall is 10 feet wide and 8 feet high. 10 times 8 = 80 square feet on the wall. If there is a huge window, 8’ x 6’, for example you can subtract 48 ( 8 x 6 ) from the 80 and the actual square footage you need to paint is 32. This is also the basic formula used to calculate wallpaper requirements and flooring. There are 144 square inches in a square foot.

The width of a window is the measurement from side to side. The length is the measure from top to bottom. Measurements are always written as width first, then length.

How do I know how much that foam cushion will cost? If you are buying foam from most retailers the price will be listed per foot of ‘thickness’ but is actually calculated in board feet. If you can do this yourself you will get a much better idea of exactly what you are paying. A board foot is a piece of something 12 inches wide, 12 inches long and 1 inch thick. A piece of foam 12 x 12 x 2 is 2 board feet. You want a cushion 24 x 36 by 5 inches thick. 24 x 36 = 864. This is the square inches on the ‘surface’. Divide this by 144 ( the number of square inches in a square foot ) and we get 6. This is the square feet on the surface. You want the cushion to be 5 inches thick. So.. multiply 6 by 5 and you get 30 board feet in your cushion. Don’t fall over when you see how much foam costs per board foot.

Fun stuff; nothing to do with home decor: To convert Celsius to Fahrenheit , add 15 and double it. 20 degrees Celsius plus 15 is 35, times 2 is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Just reverse to take Fahrenheit to Celsius. To convert kilometers per hour to miles per hour, multiply the first digit by 6. 60 kph is 36 mph. 65 kph is the 36 plus 6 times 5 = 3 for a total of 39 mph.

And lastly, one of my favorite nonsense bits for all of you who travel to Vancouver. To find out what the avenue is crossing a main street at a specific address, subtract 15 from the first 2 digits of the address. 4500 Granville is at Granville and 30th.