Insider Solutions

Put the Plan on Paper Before Moving in the Furniture

Q: I'm going to decorate a room in my home. Is it important to do a furniture layout (plan) of my room on paper before buying the first piece of furniture?

A: Yes, it is necessary. From the moment you begin a project to placing the last piece, you must consider the total picture. Having the plan on paper gives you another perspective—a bird's-eye view of the room. It's as if you are above your room looking down, seeing how everything works together.

Obviously everything has size. First, measure your room. Use a piece of graph paper and draw your walls, windows and door openings. Make each box equal one foot.

Now draw and place each piece of furniture where you think you want it. The function of the room has to be considered, because each room has a different purpose.

This is the time to try something unexpected. Place a piece of furniture in a corner or at an angle. Depending on the room, you can place something behind a sofa, the bed or a chair. It's much easier to erase a pencil line than to move furniture. Try several different arrangements.

How does it look? Is it balanced? Does it flow? Do the traffic patterns work? Keep in mind the scale of each piece and how it relates to the other pieces. Dimension and placement are central to seeing if the pieces fit properly in the room and are in balance with each other.

Make sure:

  • There is enough legroom in front of a chair for people to sit and cross their legs comfortably.
  • When placing the dining room table, the chairs should be placed three feet from the wall so people can get in and out easily.
  • The placement of tables and lamps is convenient for people to reach when sitting in a chair or lying in bed.
  • If you plan to use a rug, determine how much of the floor you want to cover. Watch where the furniture falls on the edges—either to the edge of the piece of furniture or under it. Make sure all the legs of the same piece of furniture are either on or off the carpet.

You now have a plan and the dimensions of the furniture you need to buy. You know how long your sofas should be, how wide and deep the chairs should be and the size of the tables you'll need. Shopping will be so much easier because you have the right information.

Another thought, many times we buy too much. Unless you like a cluttered look, good design requires fewer pieces. Each piece, well chosen, will work effectively where it is placed.

You will also notice that each new piece you bring into the room changes the balance and feeling of the space. How are you reacting to the room now? Remember, if it feels right, it is right. If it doesn't feel right, change it. Let your feelings guide you.

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