Friday, April 15, 2011

how to make a furniture plan

Disclaimer:  there are lots of other, more sophisticated ways to create a furniture floor plan, namely AutoCAD.  However, this is a quick and simple method anybody with a ruler and graph paper can handle and I find it to be incredibly simple and useful.

Okay, that aside, you might remember that we are moving to a new house and the big day is quickly approaching.  I am busy getting all my ducks in a row, which includes figuring out where we are going to put the furniture.  I am a suspicious that we might need to get rid of some furniture that may not fit in the new house and since I'd rather do that now before we move, I have been working hard on my furniture floor plans.

Making a floor plan of your space is a great way to get a better perspective and looking at your room from a birds eye view allows you to see things like walkways, scale, and balance that can be hard to see when you are actually in the room trying to make a plan.  If you have a room feels "off" or just uncomfortable, this can be a great way to figure out why it's not working.  I also like to make furniture floor plans when I am considering buying new furniture.  That way, I can "see" the new piece in the room before I invest in it.

Okay, ready to make a furniture floor plan?  Here we go.  You will need:

:: graph paper {I like the larger squares instead of the tiny ones}
:: ruler
:: tape measure
:: pen
:: highlighter

{Note: to make an easy scale, use 1 square of graph paper = 1 foot}


Step 1:  Measure your space in increments, stopping at each door, window or transition, making measurement notes and lines on your paper as you go.  Starting at one corner of the room and working clockwise seems to work best.  For example, in the photo above, I measured the first wall space at 12", so I drew a line over one square, then the wall goes in 12", so I drew the line going in for one square, then the wall went straight for 48" get the idea.  When you come to a door, make a note so you remember its swing direction.  Continue to measure and make lines and notes around the entire room.  When you come to a window, make a little symbol to show where the window starts and stops and assign each window in the room a number and make a note of it on your floor plan.  You can see my window notes above.  I put (w1), (w2), (w3), etc...

{Note: make a little note on your floor plan of anything you want to have for reference.  I noted the width of the mantle as well as the height to the ceiling in case we decide to put a TV there}

Step 2: On a separate page, create a "windows list".  List each window in the room and note the number you assigned to it in step one.  Measure the width and length for each window as well as the space between the bottom of the window and the finished floor {above finished floor = AFF}.  It's important to take into account how high the window is off the floor because you want to be sure you aren't placing a piece of furniture right in front of a window that goes to the floor.  That just looks awkward and it will block the light coming into the room.

Step 3: Measure all of your existing furniture that you would like to place in the room.  Number each piece, color them with a bright highlighter and cut them out.  Then, create a furniture reference list where you list the name of the piece {i.e. dining room buffet} and it's dimensions, along with the number you assigned to it when you made the templates

 Step 4:  Arrange!  This is the fun part.  Start with your biggest or most non-negotiable pieces {i.e. the bed, or the sofa} and work out from there.  Remember that a comfortable walkway should be at least 36" wide and that if you place a chair/sofa/bed, there should be adequate light {from hardwired overhead lighting or lamps} as well as adequate table space {for a drink, glasses, a book} for each seat.

Step 5: Create templates and add in any furniture you'd like to have {whether you can buy it now or not}.  Having the end in mind before you begin the room will ensure that the finished product is what you want.  In the end it will look thought out and cohesive, not choppy and haphazard.

Something that I like to think about while I'm placing the furniture is how each person will use the room.  If it's a Living Room or other Family area, be sure that each person in the family will be comfortable, not just the guests.  Whether you use the room to watch TV, read, play board games, complete homework, nap on the sofa, play blocks or whatever, be sure that the room serves all those needs.  If you have a child who likes to play on the floor, don't crowd the room with so much furniture that they get excluded. 

Here are some of the options I played around with for our new Living Room:


Or, you can always spend a Saturday moving furniture around and breaking a sweat.  But, I'm a geek at heart.  And, since I love office supplies and graph paper, I'll take this option!

Happy space planning!!


  1. This cracks me up!! I'm sure it saves as much time as you spend on it, but seriously, HILARIOUS! Good for you. I'm more the shove it all in and try and make it fit, girl. haha! your way is MUCH better!

  2. I just found this on Pinterest, such a great idea! I think I will definately be doing this.. I have so much big furniture and so little space. I think this could save me so much wasted time! Thanks for sharing :)


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