Space Planning 101

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Space Planning 101If you’ve ever gone apartment hunting or wanted to pull off a home redesign, you’ve probably run into the problem most people have when doing any kind of space planning: visualizing your furniture in the new or redesigned space. And that’s important because furniture placement can make or break a room. For a first-time home buyer, the skill of effective space planning can mean the difference between making an offer on the new property and not. After all, if you can’t visualize yourself in the space, there’s not much chance you’re going to feel comfortable buying it, right? So, if you don’t have the designer’s eye for visualization, here’s a step-by-step plan for planning that space of yours:

Get Graphic: When visualizing the new space with your furniture nicely ensconced, the first thing you want to do is get graphic (graph paper, that is). It may sound like we’re taking things back to grade school a bit. But we learned some of the best things in grade school. Obviously, graph paper has a mathematical grid of equidistant squares. This makes the perfect plane to plot out a room’s space plan. With graph paper, a ruler an a couple of number two pencils, you’re not only ready to help your high-school sophomore with their geometry homework, your ready to plot your room’s footprint and get space planning.

Measure Twice, Cut Once: The next task on your plate is to measure all of the items in question. Of course, you won’t need to take a measuring tape to your nicknacks, but the large, consequential pieces you don’t want to move around the room endlessly from one position to the next, yes!

Measure your sofa and loveseat and the large china cabinet your uncle gave you for a wedding present. Measure anything that takes up considerable space. Heck, measure the ottoman in the corner if you like, so long as you get width and length dimensions for every item you wish to “plan” in your space. Record the measurements for each item and get a pair of scissors, it’s time to get all preschool on us!

On a piece of graph paper, you will need to trace the outline of each furniture piece in your plan. Now you’re not tracing an actual outline, so there’s no need to be a Piccaso. You only need to trace the width and length of each piece for this aerial view of your new space.

Scale Down: Depending upon the size of your room, select a measuring unit for your space and furniture. If the room is 25 ft. x 17 ft. you might use a square for every foot. But if your room is quite large you might want to equate a sing square on the page to two or even three feet, whatever works to fit the entire room on the page.

Now use that unit of measure to trace an outline of the furniture pieces you want to position in the space. Again, it doesn’t have to be a work of art. The proportions simply need to reflect an accurate picture of the dimensions of the piece. Once you’ve done this for every piece in your plan, it’s time to trace out your room.

On a separate piece of graph paper, trace the width and length of your room,  corners and nooks and doorways and all. Remember that when you plot out a door, you want to consider the swing path so as not to position any furniture to closely to it. Trace that path out with a dotted arc to show how the door will move in the space.

Plot and Place: Now you’ve got your tools. It’s time for the space planning. Place the outline of your largest piece within the graph of your room. Typically, there will be only a few options here because of the piece’s size. Once you find a position you think you like, plot the remaining pieces from largest to the smallest. Try a couple of different arrangements the way you would with the actual furniture in the space. Do it as many times as you need to find the plan you like. There’s no heavy lifting here, so go to town.

Observe how the space is distributed in the room with each new layout. Look at the pathways for waking you’ve created with your placements and think about how you will use each piece in the space. That goes a long way toward determining if the placement is right for you and your space. This kind of space planning offers an opportunity to visualize your pieces in your new space in many more configurations than physically repositioning your furniture in the space will allow. And you won’t give yourself a hernia doing it either.

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