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Create a Beautiful Room Layout

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Please note that this is an extension of the post "Overcoming Decorating Paralysis in 8 Steps." 


One of the first things you have to do to avoid large , costly decorating mistakes - is create a furniture layout plan that will work in YOUR room.  Can you imagine purchasing a beautiful new couch or sectional, and then not having it fit in your room ( I know, it fit in your head ...right!).  Or, as I've seen happen, the furniture won't fit thru a doorway or down an angled hallway! YIKES!!  Something else that happens pretty frequently, you have room for the couch you have purchased, but you hadn't taken into account needing room for a side table - for placing things like your cup of coffee, glass of wine, or your tv remote.   The goal is to have a room that functions really well, along with being pretty, Pretty, PRETTY!  So creating a floor plan can take place in several different ways.  I am going to show you the method that I find easiest, and I like to think of it a bit like playing paper dolls, with all the different outfits to put on them.  No fancy computer software needed, just the items listed below.  You may prefer to use a furniture template to draw items into a room from the very beginning - but I like to be able to easily move the furniture around before actually committing to drawing it on paper.  So lets get started.....


Basics that you will need:

Graph Paper 

Colored piece of paper ( for cutting out your furniture pieces)

Furniture Template (optional) for creating furniture pieces.

Number 2 pencil or mechanical pencil (0.7mm or 0.9mm leads work best)

Good eraser


Straight edge ruler

Good measuring tape (minimum 25 footer)

***All the above items can be purchased at office supply stores or on Amazon.

Measure your room and draw on graph paper each wall length.  Keep in mind each square on your graph paper (1/4 inch) will equal 1 foot.  HOWEVER, if you are cutting out your own furniture pieces- you can make this equivalent anything you want as long as all the walls are fitting on your page.  I have made one square equal 6 inches- and sometimes 3 inches. It depends on the size of your room that you are working on.  I find the one square equaling one foot makes your furniture pieces teeny tiny.  But do what works for you.  Just be sure you stay consistent between your wall measurements and your furniture measurements.  If you are using a purchased furniture template, than you need to stay with the 1 square on graph paper equals one square ft.  

**One more NOT rely on anyone else's measurements.  Even if you have a set of blueprints for your home- do not rely on them to be super accurate- they usually are not.  Take your own measurements.

After you have all walls drawn, then place where the hallway openings, windows, and doorways are located. Note fireplaces or any other structural elements that are in the room, that will affect placement of furniture.  Also note tv outlets and electrical outlets, and any overhead existing lighting or fans.  Just a note about existing lighting.  I have yet to see a home where the builder put hanging light fixtures in the proper area.  They are typically off by about a foot. So don't necessarily try to make your dining table work exactly where the lighting is. The chandelier can always be moved or swagged over.

"Measure twice- Cut once.  Have you ever heard that saying? It's a framers rule of thumb - always double check your measurements before cutting that 2X4. Re-check all your numbers to be certain you have them correct on your layout. Then, if you like, take a pen or thin felt tip to draw over your pencil drawn wall lines and structural details.  I always make multiple photocopies of this "master drawing", as I tend to doodle notes here and there, and sometimes I need a clean slate and don't want to have to re-draw the whole room .

Next, cut out your furniture pieces that you wish to have in your room.  Measure your actual furniture that you are keeping, and any new pieces that you plan on purchasing.  Label your furniture pieces (example- 90 inch new couch).

Start laying out your furniture in your room - keep the following things in mind:

1. Build your seating area around your focal point. Focal points are generally a fireplace, or a tv area.

2. DONT: Line the furniture up along the wall.  If you have space, float the upholstered pieces out into the room.

3. DO:  Arrange furniture to make it easy to talk.

4. Do not put furniture at tight right angles to each other- be sure to create a space for an end table to fit in-between.

5. Make sure you know what the traffic pattern is for your room. Then leave at least 3 feet or a minimum of 30 inches of space for these walkways through the room. Try to direct the traffic around your conversation area- not going thru the middle of it.

6. Don't rely solely on overhead lighting.  Think about where you may need lamps, and where you have available outlets to plug into. Don't create a flow of traffic that walks across cords.

7. Space between sofa and coffee table - leave 15-18 inches.

Once you have your furniture placed where you feel it functions well and will look nice, use a pencil to outline each furniture piece on your graph paper.

In the process of doing all the above, you are going to get a concrete idea of what is going to work - size wise- in your room.  And guess what- you've just eliminated a whole bunch of things that you may have otherwise purchased, and then wanted to kick yourself for getting because they are either too large or too small! We have so many options available to us when furnishing our homes- and having parameters set for us helps eliminate lots of those choices.  

So now that we have the furniture pieces listed that we need to purchase- what's next?  Lets head back to our original reading:

Click link to return to:  (Overcoming Decorating Paralysis in 8 Steps). 

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