Making Sure the Furniture Fits (Space Planning 101)

Space Planning 101

Making the decision to design and decorate a room is a BIG deal (at least to most people I know!). You're investing time, money and energy into a space that, in the end, you want to love

So how do you make that happen?

Well, there are lots of things to think about, but the one I want to focus on today is space planning. Regardless of your style, budget or timeline, you have to figure out where your furniture will go and what layout makes the most sense. I know that can seem daunting and overwhelming and may make you want to run and hide, but you know what happens when you skip this step?

Best case scenario: it might turn out fine and you go along your merry way...

Worst case scenario: your furniture doesn't fit - either literally (oh no, the sofa's too big!) or figuratively (that book case looks way out of proportion on that wall).

So my advice? Avoid that worst case scenario and take some time to plan!

Here are a five questions to ask yourself as you get you going on a project:

  1. How are you going to use the space? Do you entertain a lot and need a large table or a bunch of living room seating? Does it need to be multifunctional like a guest room that also acts as an office?
  2. Can you choose a spot or two in the room to make a focal point? Examples might be a fireplace or TV in a living room or a beautiful headboard in a bedroom. If you can pick a focal point, it's easier to plan the rest of the furniture around that.
  3. How do you want the room to feel? Cozy? Airy? Minimalist?
  4. Is there furniture you're definitely keeping? If so, make sure to take measurements so you can incorporate them with the new pieces.
  5. How much natural light does the room get? Think about your needs for overhead, ambient and task lighting both during the day and at night. 

Once you've answered those questions, you're ready to start planning your layout!

I make a floor plan for every client I work with, and though there are lots of different ways to do it, my favorite is to go digital with it and use an online floor planning site. There are a ton of options out there, but I'm currently using one that's FREE and easy to use called Icovia. I access it through Pottery Barn's website and made an account so that I can save my plans, but that's optional. It's pretty intuitive, so I'm not going to go into detail on how to use it - I promise you can figure it out! If you'd like to try it, here's the link.

If you need convincing, here are some examples of floor plans I've made on there to show you how awesome it is!

First you create a new room with your dimensions, then add doors/windows/other structural items, and finally grab different furniture pieces and add them to the space. You can resize the pieces to the correct dimensions by clicking and dragging on the corner or by clicking the item once and adjusting the measurements in the info box that pops up. It's great!

But what if you're not into this whole digital floor planning thing?

Not to worry! An alternative way to space plan is to use painter's tape to lay out your pieces in your real live space. Painter's tape won't damage surfaces, so it's perfect for this kind of planning. All you need to do is use your measurements to create boxes with the tape and place them in the spots you think you want them to go. Then you can actually walk around and "feel" how the layout works for you. Sometimes you'll discover things this way you wouldn't even if you make a digital floor plan. I did this recently with our kitchen renovation (that I hope to share on here soon!) even after I made the digital version. It really helped me understand my cabinet placement and how the space would feel when it everything was installed.

So friends, tell me - did you learn something today? How do you space plan for a project? Are there tools or methods I'm missing?

Are you feeling overwhelmed by this whole thing? If you think you may need a little help with space planning, I'm here! Sometimes you may not need a whole new design, but you could use another set of eyes to figure out your room's layout and that's what consultation hours are for! You can read more about those here or contact me about it!



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