Home Design Made Easy: Visualizing Furniture Placement

Home Design Made Easy: Visualizing Furniture Placement

Designing your new home or space is an exciting experience, full of new possibilities, boundless creativity, and “dream come true” moments.  However, the design process, particularly furniture placement, can also be very stressful and frustrating, especially if you’re going about it on your own as a Do-It-Yourself-er.

One of the most overwhelming steps in design is figuring out furniture and accessory placement.  Without having a game plan of ‘what goes where’, you could be stuck in a vicious, time-consuming cycle of placing and re-placing all of your furnishings.  To help avoid that problem, B.L. Rieke Custom Home Builders’ interior designer, Toni Rieke, has some tips for simplifying the art of furniture placement.

According to Toni, the easiest way to layout a space with furniture is by making two-dimensional scale model of the room using graph paper with a ¼ inch scale grid.  Each ¼ inch box equals one square foot, meaning that, if a wall is 5 feet long, it would be 5 boxes long on the grid.

Example of a scale 2D model using a grid.

Example of a scale 2D model using a grid.

Step One: Measure & Draw the Room to Scale

In order to correctly layout your room on the grid, carefully measure the room’s dimensions and convert them to the ¼ inch scale.  Toni recommends measuring the room twice for accuracy.

“Once you have the measurements,” Toni says, “you can draw the room’s exterior lines, including any doorways, windows, fireplaces, etc.  Be as accurate as possible, so you have a good idea of how much open space you have to work with.”

Make sure to label the room and any space-consuming features (i.e. a fireplace hearth) with a name and dimensions.

Step Two: Choose and Measure the Furniture

Before you can measure and place furniture, you have to know which furniture you’re going to use, whether that furniture is already owned or something you want to purchase.  If you haven’t found the ‘perfect piece’ yet but know what you’re looking for, make an educated guess about its size based on another piece of the same structure and size.

“Determine what pieces you’re using in the new space and then take and print off pictures of those pieces to put in a notebook,” Toni advises.  “That makes it easier to keep track of the furniture you’re using and their measurements, and also allows you to take your information with you when you go shopping.”

Once you have a good idea of what pieces you want to use, measure the ones you own.  You can find the dimensions for pieces you may purchase online.  The furniture measurements should be recorded in “length x width x height” or “L x W x H”, so that you know exactly how big it is when you’re actually moving it around the house and into place.

Step Three: Make Furniture Cutouts to Scale

Using the furniture measurements, you can make ¼ inch scale cutouts of the pieces you want to try to fit or place in the room.

First, draw the outline of the furniture on paper or cardstock.  Colored paper works best because it stands out on top of the white graph paper.  Then, cut the outlined pieces out and label them.  Toni suggests “labeling each one with the name and its dimensions, and any additional detail to help you distinguish the piece.”  (Note: it is helpful to also label the cutout with the desired room that you want the piece to be placed in.)

If you don’t want to make custom cutouts, you can look online for images of pre-made furniture templates, like the one below.  Also, double check that the printed template is in ¼ inch scale!

*Note: above template is not to scale!

*Note: above template is not to scale!

Step Four: Place the Cutouts & Take Pictures of the Configurations

“Once you have your grid and cutouts made, you can play with furniture placement to figure out what works best for your space,” Toni says.  “Take a picture of each configuration you like, so you can compare them visually side-by-side.” When placing furniture, keep these tips in mind:

  • Frequently-used passageways (between furniture and other objects) ideally should be no less than 3 feet (squares) wide.
  • Remember where your windows and doorways are, so you don’t block them.
  • Use your grid to determine what size of furniture will fit best, especially if you need to purchase new furniture.
  • LESS IS BEST! Cramming in furniture will only make the room feel smaller and cluttered, so start with less and add more as you go.

 

One of Toni’s finished scale models of a client’s guest bedroom.

One of Toni’s finished scale models of a client’s guest bedroom.

Making a gridded 2D scale model is an easy, DIY way to artistically visualize your furniture placement in every room of your new or remodeled home.  It also helps you avoid the hassle of re-moving big furniture pieces and re-organizing your space.  So, make home design a little easier with this Toni-tested method, and finally enjoy the experience of making your dream space a reality!


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