DIY, home

when in doubt, draw it out

As you know we are SLOWLY, slowly – ever so slowly redoing the living room. You can read all about it here. We bought the rug, ordered the slip cover for the very pink couch, redesigned the fireplace and now we are playing with the room layout. We are looking to design a new coffee table and possibly find some new chairs or even a couch – but that all depends on the layout of the room. This room is long and skinny and makes for awkward arrangements so I really want to make sure that I am set with it before ordering anything else.

When I don’t know what to do and I have too many things going on in my brain I like to do a room layout. There are a couple of ways that you can do it – with a free program online or the old fashioned way with 1/4 inch graph paper and furniture templates.

There are tons of programs out there to help, some that have more bells and whistles than others, some require you to create accounts to start, some require credit cards. I like the most basic so that I can just get the idea out of my head!

Here are three websites that I have used to help me lay out a room:

Floor Plan Creator – one of the most basic tools you can use to create a general floor plan for your space. It does not require you set up an account to start, but will need one if you want to save anything.

Plan Your Room – like the site above it is very basic, very easy to use. The furniture is a little more 3-D and there are more options to choose from, too. It also has the little squares in the background like graph paper has so it constantly keeps you in check.

Room Styler – just like the sites above, but has a few more bells and whistles like a ‘camera’ in the middle of the room so you can see all angles. Also has actual furniture to throw into your layouts.

If you like to put pencil to paper, here is what you will need.

Quarter Inch Graph Paper

A good mechanical pencil

Furniture Templates

Quarter inch graph paper has become my friend over the years. I am a visual learner, a sketcher and someone that genuinely likes to put pen to paper, so this method is where I typically go to first (and then I make more work for myself and migrate to an online platform after I get sick of erasing).

If you have never done a room layout before here is how you start.

Measure your room – wall to wall to wall to wall. Our living room in question, minus the windows, door openings and fireplace is 12′ x 19′. If you are using graph paper – know that one line on a box equals one foot for your floor plan. If I was drawing this out I would count out 12 boxes over and 19 boxes down (and then another 12 over and 19 up to complete the room). This creates the outline of the room as if you were looking at your space from above.

From there you can measure any openings and add them to your room – I usually erase the door openings on my paper. Next measure the width of your windows and measure where they are in the room. My north windows start about four feet in from the front door and are about three feet wide. So from the edge of the door I will count out four boxes and then start a line for three boxes to represent the window. After you’ve added your windows, add any permanent items that might be in your space that could get in the way of your furniture placements (think radiators). We have a fire place in our room, so I added that, but other than that we are good to start playing around.

Now that you have your room you can start adding things like rugs and furniture. I usually start with the rug placement. We have a 9 x 12 in this room so I draw that out first. I know that it starts on the opening of the room on the north wall. Furniture templates usually don’t have rugs on them so really all you need to do is draw it out by counting boxes. From here, measure your furniture and start adding it to your room. You might want to take an extra page and make sure you are measuring your couches and chairs out correctly with the templates – it will save you from erasing on your pretty new layout. Some people even draw their furniture on tiny post it notes and cut them out to move them around easily.

Wondering if there are design rules for placement? You bet there are.

Apartment Therapy has pretty good guide here.

The Spruce has another good one here.

Really there are million of them out there, just google measurements for furniture placements and all the guides like coffee table placements and furniture on rugs will be at your finger tips! Happy planning!

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