In my previous post about my living room, I discussed the importance of developing an overall vision or plan for the space. However, another major aspect of this process is coming up with a physical plan for the space—i.e. the floor-plan! I actually love making floor-plans, and I find them to be incredibly helpful. Obviously, if you are designing for a space that you don’t have ease of access to all the time, they are indispensable. But even if you are designing a space that you live in and can measure any time, it’s still incredibly useful to have all the measurements recorded carefully in one place. This will help you avoid mistakes such as buying a couch and finding out that it’s six inches too big in one direction. Instead, you can have a clear sense of the proportions needed for all of your furniture just by consulting your plan.
Making a floor-plan the old-fashioned way is very easy—all you need is a measuring tape, a pencil, a ruler, and some gridded paper. I usually use ¼ inch gridded paper, with each ¼ of an inch equaling one foot or ½ foot. Then you just need to measure the basic dimensions of the room, making sure to account for any architectural elements, like built-ins, windows, doors, a fireplace, etc. It may also be helpful to note the location of vents in the floor, if there are any, or outlets, for considering lamp placement. Once you have the basic parameters of the room figured out, you can then use the gridded paper to make pretend pieces of furniture, in order to brainstorm different layout ideas.
Although I created my original floor-plan for the living room by hand, my dad recently introduced me to an incredible program called Floorplanner and so I re-created the layout using this software. The program allows you to “build” and “decorate” your room with an extraordinary level of detail, and even better, the program also lets you visualize the room in 3-dimensions, which is amazing! Here’s the basic 2-D layout of my living room, created using this software:
And here’s a rendered 3-D version of the same view:
When designing your floor-plan, it is extremely important to think about the overall flow of the space (i.e. how you enter the space, move through it, and exit it) as well as the main focal points of the room. For instance, since we have a large fireplace in our living room, I wanted to highlight it as a major focal point, so it made sense to center the couch on the wall opposite, especially since we were planning to mount a large TV above the mantel.
However, it is also important to consider the purposes of the room in positioning the furniture—in this case, my layout for our living room needed to accommodate the activities of TV-watching, conversation, and reading. In addition to placing the large couch opposite the TV for optimal viewing, I also designed chairs around it which could be easily oriented towards the TV as well. I centered the two matching chairs in front of the large picture window at the end of the room to create balance and symmetry, but also to form an ideal spot for intimate conversation. And finally I designed a corner nook with bookshelves and a large armchair and ottoman, which would be a perfect spot for curling up with a good book.
Here are some 3-D rendered “views” of the layout for my living room, which allow you to feel like you’re actually standing in the space. Isn’t this program incredible???
A word of warning—this program can be really addictive, so if you do start playing around with it, it’s hard to stop! You can sign up for a free trial, and if you like it, the most basic plan is only about $2.50 per month. If anyone wants to give this program a try and has any questions about using it, please let me know!