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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Foolproof Method for Furniture Placement~ Map It Out

Have you ever had a situation where you thought a certain chair, couch, table… would absolutely fit in a space yet once it was put in place it was disastrously wrong?

house 203

Most designers always prepare a space layout design ahead of time. They use such programs as CAD (computer aided drafting) photoshop or sketch up. But what if you are not a designer? You still can achieve a similar process with just three tools: graph paper, a pencil and a measuring tape.

While I myself generally use CAD for the furniture layout process, for instructional purposes I drew all of the rooms in our new home to scale so you could see how relatively easy the process is.

In this drawing of our master bedroom each square on the graph paper is equal to one foot. After the general room layout was drawn out (to include the windows and a door) I then cut out the pieces of furniture (also to scale) that I wanted to use in the space. In paper doll fashion I played around with various furniture configurations until I found one that best suited Mr. Décor and myself.


Here is the view from the doorway. You can see in the above drawing I had placed a settee in front of the bed.

house 167-001

I already knew ahead of time that there would be plenty of space for the end tables.

house 171-001

As well as a wide walkway on either side of the bed.

house 168-001

By knowing the measurements of the windows  I also determined that with a bit of reconfiguration the drapes that were used in the old bedroom would also work in the new bedroom. This made Mr. Décor and me very happy as we both love the fabric and French pleated style.

house 180-001

Another bonus is that by having a “map” of the layout on the actual moving day those who were helping us knew EXACTLY where to place the furniture~ a real time and back saver.

house 197

Now occasionally once everything is in place you may decide that another piece can be added into the space.

house 198

Such was the case with our Bavarian wedding basket. We purchased this antique and had it custom painted while we lived in Germany. It holds a very special place in our hearts and I was unsure of where to put it without feeling crowded. The basket had been placed in the “try it and see” category and I am oh so glad it worked out.

house 199

 By the same token sometimes a piece of furniture just does not work once you have it in place. It’s rare, but it can happen.

One of the rooms that I altered a bit from my original drawing was the main living space. I am so excited to share it with you.


Do you plan out your rooms or are you a fly by the seat of your well designed pants type?


Linking to:

Thrifty Décor Chick


Auntie Em said...

Smart idea! I use to do house design and used my computer to figure out window and furniture placement when we planned the addition to our home. Even designing on graph paper and cutting the pieces out to scale helps so much. I use to print out copies of the floorplans and suggest new home owners take a few pencil crayons and colour the floors in before picking out their carpets and flooring choices. That rainbow of carpets they would choose from in the showroom became much less daunting and saved some costly mistakes.
One other thing that I use to advise folks, figure out where the sun rises and sets as well as you can with your home. If you have a dresser with a mirror on it, try to not have it across the room from an east facing window. The glare in the morning will blind you while you are trying to put your makeup on and do your hair.
Little things you think of before make so much difference later.
Love your beautiful floral bedding and curtains. The gingham is a beautiful pairing.
Thanks for sharing a peek into your beautiful new home! :)

Sandy said...

I am a planner! I live in a small home with odd angles, weird door placement, and strange flow so I have to know exactly the actual footage I have for furniture placement. I use the old fashioned tools you suggest only I graph the rooms on white graph paper and the furniture on green, the contrast makes it easier for me to envision, weird I know but it works for me.

I love seeing peeks of your new home, the fabrics in your master suite are beautiful!

Happy nesting!

chris mckinley said...

I am sort of a fly by the seat of your pants girl, but being married to Mr. Math curbs that a litte. He LOVES graph paper and uses it when we are changing it up. He too make cut outs of the furniture. Your rooms look great, and I love your basket!!


Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

I love your bedroom (even more so without "that" ceiling fan! LOL!! I kid!!!) ... I used to think I was a planner -- but I am someone that can stand, stare at my space, picture the pieces in my room and then do it ... so in my head it's planned, but I guess you could say I fly by the seat of my pants too! :)

Liz said...

Mapping is a great idea! I never do it though.... I can never get the proportions right. :(

I LOVE your new bedroom. That fabric is fabulous!!


♥ Sonny ♥ said...

I think your bedroom looks wonderful and what a smart idea to map it out the way you did.
even though I have 2 programs on my pc to play with- I still do a room by the " Sonny's Scoots It" method lol.. I do the heavy pieces in my art proggie to make sure I like the look but the rest- yep , I'm a scooter..

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Laura, your room is so pretty and I am amazed at the space. Looks fabulous and your bedding fabrics and drapes are gorgeous. Hugs, Marty

Amy Jo said...

Hi Laura,

Your room looks great! I love your curtains. I am a fly by the seat of her pants type of girl.... I have tried the scale before and I felt so tied down. I like moving things around and seeing the actual pieces in different places.

Amy jo

Amy Jo said...

Hi Laura,

Your room looks great! I love your curtains. I am a fly by the seat of her pants type of girl.... I have tried the scale before and I felt so tied down. I like moving things around and seeing the actual pieces in different places.

Amy jo

Teresa said...

You have an adorable home with so lovely details.
Thank you for sharing!

Linda said...

That all looks lovely, Laura.

I have to tell you though - it's not too challenging to move furniture around in our house because there's only so many places it will fit. Literally - we live small - very small. I can't emphasize the small part enough. Our living room, which is our great room/family room in one is only 17' 7 1/2" X 11' 3". Our bedroom is under 14' X 11' 3" and that's the largest bedroom in the house.

So with our rather large but few furniture pieces, they only go so many places and there isn't a whole lot of rearranging except of course when the Christmas tree comes out and even then, there's only so much placement that can happen.

I would love to have more designing tips for living in a small space. I love to move furniture around but there's only so many options. ♥

Love, Linda

Susan (My Place to Yours) said...

I'm definitely a planner, although I don't always put the plan on paper. It looks like things are coming together nicely at your house! I'm so glad.

Kelley Highway said...

Wow! Great room results with planning and "mulling" with that little graph paper planner. Thanks for the tips!

I loved everyone else's too, and like others am a planner-ahead. Firstborn for ya.

Auntie Em was right about the sun. We live in the tropics and our real estate gal wanted us to see our rental at 2:00 sharp, to see exactly which room(s) the sun was cooking up. Very smart gal and I'm so grateful.

Designs By Pinky said...

I am KINDA doing this for the new house. I do have a spread sheet of where I think I will put most pieces. No drawings. BUT, I do have the drawing of the house and have written furniture pieces on it. I HAVE to plan ahead. I am NOT a fly by the seat of my pants girl:):) XO, Pinky

michele said...

def fly by the seat. an intuitive approach that doesn't require training in feng shui. and i love to keep tweaking, moving, experimenting, until it feels right.

i so honor this more methodical approach though!

come visit soon.


Jill Flory of Sew a Fine Seam said...

I know I should do it the way you show it - and sometimes we do when my hubby has time to draw it in Autocad. But mostly? I just drag stuff around! Since I have all wood floors on the main floor it's not hard to move stuff but your way is still the best!

openid said...

I wish you were closer because I would invite you to lunch with 'interior' motives. :) Your room looks splendid!
Your Friend,


Great and smart idea Laura! Fabulous room, I totally love it! Thanks for your lovely comment.

Athena at Minervas Garden said...

This mapping out of the furniture placement is a great idea, Laura--much easier to move large items around on paper rather than wreck your back moving large pieces around repeatedly. I do have to rearrange the smaller stuff on the fly, however--it just works better for me to try out different arrangements and see how they look. Thank you for stopping by my blog and for the invite!

Ann from On Sutton Place said...

I usually just eyeball things and they tend to come out OK. My dad has built 2 houses and did exactly this for both. When we moved them we knew precisely where everything went. He planned electrical outlets this way as well. Great post!

Eclectically Vintage said...

When I am buying new furniture, I always measure and draw it out. But when I'm moving things around the house - it's all just trial and error.

That Bavarian wedding basket is amazing!!


The French Hutch said...

Hi Laura, I think this is a great idea. We've moved a lot and this would help going into a new floor plan for me. Everything is just beautiful, love the pillows on the bed and the drapes (love french pleats). Love, love, love the basket scene. I love the maypole!
Have a great evening.

The French Hutch

French said...

I've mapped rooms out a few times but mostly just haul furniture around. Guess that's a way is much easier!

Shelia said...

Hi Laura! Oh, this looks like a great idea. I love your bedroom and the drapes are so pretty and I love the pretty fabric too.
I guess I'm a dummy as I just push furniture all over the room instead of graphing it! ;)
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Karena said...

So smart Laura and then you know that every special piece you have collected over the years will fit in your new home!

Art by Karena
2012 Artists Series

Mimi said...

ALL of our homes have been New so the builder gives you a floorplan...I always ask for extras to do just this.....only not cut and paste and play like that...but to draw it I did have an idea of where everything was going......But until you actually move in and see final decision made.......
Your bedroom looks perfect... Perfect size for everything!!!!
You asked about another swap...or I suggested my house...I WOULD LOVE TO host one....perhaps in Oct. after our cruise...I hope it cools down but A HALLOWEEN potluck lunch and swap would be so fun!!!
let's keep in touch about that idea!!!

Jennifer Watkins-Jones said...

Preplanning furniture placement is so smart ! We have moved twelve times and this last time was this first time we ever planned in advance. What a difference it all made!!

Charlotte Des Fleurs said...

I have used the "mapping" technique since my mother showed it to me when I was a little girl (about 8). Naturally, we did not have CAD at that time so I just used graph paper and colored index cards cut to the size of the furniture. These days I use the stickey end of colored Post-it notes to ensure that my "furniture" does not move around on the graph paper.

CAD is nice but too expensive for most decorating projects unless you need to make a professional presentation.

This mapping technique also worked very well when I decided to reconfigure my kitchen using the existing cabinets. Each cabinet was represented by a specific block. I just moved them around to get what I wanted.

Erika said...

Laura these ideas are fantastic, I love your blog. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving me such a nice comment, I am glad to participate in your party. I could not reply you directly as you appear to me as a non-reply blogger. I am your newest follower. Thank you so much,


My Crafty Home Life said...

Love that wedding basket!! I keep forgetting to tell you that the navy sofa you have in your header is really making me want one.

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

"Decor To Adore" has been included in the Sites To See for this week. I hope this helps to point many new visitors in your direction.

Babs said...

Laura, Great tips. I would plan out my rooms, but they are so small that there is usually only one way the furniture will go...well, in the living room, maybe two. Your bedroom is beautiful and I love your bed linens and curtains. Have a great weekend,

Ally said...

I'm a bit of both, planning and buying random things... I'm loving your gingham bed skirt - it really gives your bed linens a vintagey feel. I might have to "borrow" that idea lol.
I'm your newest follower - thanks for the tips and the lovely pics of your room!

Rooms by Ann said...

Great idea of planning it all out, I love the florals and the colors.

Late Bloomers said...

Love the fabirc on your duvet, window treatments and the pillows, care to share?

When I was planning this house, I used a furniture stores room design software. IT allowed you to log on and enter the room dimensions and then add furniture from their store. It worked a charm. Otherwise I would be lost, I have no sense of 'distance', unless I am cantering down to a jump. go figure.