So… you’ve selected all these beautiful pieces of furniture, artwork, and color schemes, etc. for your new design and have attached them to your mood board. However, will they fit properly in your space? Are they proportionate to the room’s size? Walls? I’m reminiscent of a story where my ex-wife and I bought this remarkably comfortable sectional for our den, which was located in the lower level of our home. We loved it in the furniture showroom…so we bought it on-the-spot without taking any prior measurements! Our problems began when the sofa was delivered. No matter how hard the delivery company tried, they couldn’t fit the sofa through the entry door leading to the down stairway. I regret not having measured the width of the entry door before we signed the deal. Well…the sofa eventually got down into the den, but in order to make it fit down the hallway stairs, we had to hire a separate company to disassemble it, and then have them reassemble it once it was set in place. My bad…because it cost us a small fortune for not taking the time to measure the width of the doorway.
It’s time for you to get out your tape measure! Obviously, it’s critical that all your furniture fits perfectly into your room. One way to ensure that it does fit seamlessly is to draw a small sketch of the room’s measurements, along with all the measurements of the furniture you’ve selected from your mood board. Furniture, most often, comes in various sizes, so it’s important to find the right sizes(s) for your room(s).
What I usually do first is to measure the length and width of the room from one end of the wall to the other…or take side-by-side wall measurements. I measure one wall at a time, and then jot the measurements on a piece of paper. For the optimal accuracy, I measure to the nearest ¼ inch. Once you’ve measured all your walls, you should also measure the width of all hallways, entries and door openings, and include them on your floor plan. It’s important to have the height and width of all door openings; because you want to be sure that your furniture can fit through these openings. Try to include the direction of how the doors swing open, too, along with any other architectural features such as a fireplace, built-ins, etc.
Now that you have your room measurements, you’re ready to draw your floor plan to scale. A reliable way to plan your furniture arrangement is first by creating a paper floor plan using graph paper, a ruler and pencil. To make things easier, one box on the graph paper can represent 1’ (one foot). For example, if one straight wall measures 12’ (twelve feet wide), draw a straight line across using 12 consecutive boxes on your graph paper. This procedure will repeat until you have connected all your perpendicular walls drawn on the graph paper. For door entries, leave empty boxes—2 ½ boxes empty (with no lines) if your door opening measures 30”… or 3 blank boxes for a 36” door opening, and so on. It’s usually recommended to lightly pencil in all the walls and door openings, etc. before firmly committing to more solid dark lines.
It’s also helpful to note and include where your outlets are located on the plan, as well as your TV cable lines, phone lines, etc. These are the features, which can determine your furniture placement. For example, you wouldn’t want to place a large wall unit in front of the only phone jack in the room.
Following the exact procedure as above, use a separate piece of graph paper to draw and create cut-outs representing your furniture to scale. Again, to keep things easier, one box on the graph paper can represent 1’ (one foot). Look at the dimensions of the furniture you’ve selected. For example, if your sofa measures 7’ wide x 3’ deep, you’d sketch a straight line of 7 consecutive boxes across, and then make 2 more parallel rows of 7 boxes beneath . You’ll be cutting out a total of 21 boxes (3 parallel rows of 7 boxes each directly under one another). This cut out should represent your 7’ x 3’ sofa. Repeat the same process with all other pieces of furniture, as well. Once you have your furniture cut-outs all finished, you can color them or shade them in order to have them to stand out on your floor plan. Start moving the furniture cut-outs around on your floor plan to see where they fit best. What’s critical is to place furniture away from entry doors. Also, leave enough room for people to walk around comfortably. Generally, there should be a minimum of 30”-36” of a walkway or passage between furniture pieces or enough space for 2 people to pass together at the same time. If you have a larger room, try not to place sofas up against the wall. Also, try not to overload the room or cram it with furniture. Sometimes, less is more!
Oftentimes, I bypass all the sketching and measuring required when creating a floor plan, and instead apply blue painters tape directly on the floor. This is, yet, a different method of visualizing how a room can look with furniture in it. This simple method is where you’d use painters tape to create an outline of all your furniture directly on the floor. I use the painter’s tape method in most cases when I already know where the sofa or bed, etc. should be positioned. However, furniture outlines of painters tape could be easily removed, and then relocated around the room, too. First, refer to the furniture measurements…then outline those measurements using the blue tape directly onto the floor. For example, if your selected sofa is 7’ wide by 3’ deep, create a rectangle of blue tape lines–using those exact measurements on the floor with the painters tape. This is another method of guiding you to see if your furniture is proportionate to the room, if there’s adequate space between furniture, and if it’s a functional layout, etc. You’ll see immediately if the outlines look too large for a room…or if it looks too congested…etc.
For those of you who are seeking more detailed and precise floor plans, we suggest that you hire a professional floor plan creator, or use one of the many apps available online. Many offer 2D & 3D floor plan renderings.