I am excited to have Kelly back with us for another installment of Breathing Room. We have missed her wit and often times pointed (and always funny) quips about life and design around here but we know she left us for good reason — Miss Kelly had a beautiful baby girl …..
Honestly, if you had that bundle of adorableness greeting you every day versus me, wouldn’t you bail on writing for a few months as well? Somehow Kelly tore herself away and wrote this great post on the tools out there to help you plan your space ….
As promised, this will be the first post on the tools and methods commonly used to properly plan a space using my nursery as an example.
There are a large variety of options available to create a space plan. My personal choice is to use a powerful professional application called Revit (or its “parent” program, AutoCAD). Courtney recently included a great roundup of other programs/applications that make it easy to put together a space plan.
But you don’t need fancy applications to draw a simple floor plan. The easiest way to plan a space is to put pen to paper. “Officially,” there are proper techniques, symbols, and methods to draw a space, but most people don’t need to worry about those issues to create a helpful floor plan. Your goal should be to create a fairly accurate floor plan that will allow you to envision the space and place furniture in it.
To get started, you first need to roughly draw the shape of a room. I like to include doors and windows in this initial phase and try to guesstimate the approximate distance between them. Don’t worry if your drawing is off, you’ll be much more focused on the actual lengths that you measured and will redraw it to be more accurate.
Here is an example of a quick sketch of my nursery. It doesn’t have to be perfect. (I am a nursing Mom, I don’t have the time for perfection!) You’ll tweak it once you have the measurements.
The next step is to measure the walls in the room. Depending on the purpose of the floor plan, you should also take measurements of the distance between windows, doors, and walls.
I’ve added the measurements to the quick sketch. Often, I’ll have to go back and get additional measurements that I didn’t think that I needed and will add them to the final product.
After measuring the walls, you need to convert these measurements to paper by using some scale. The most common scales are ¼” or ½” but depending on the tools you have available, you can use whatever scale you want as long as you are consistent in applying it to all measurements. I won’t go into all the details here but the easiest way to accomplish this is to use graph paper and start with the longest wall to determine the scale on the paper.
Here is the final floor plan for the nursery. I used a computer program for this but have previously used paper and a ruler with a scale to create the same image. This floor plan is drawn to ¼” scale.
At this point, you have a working floor plan! You can now take any furniture or other moveable goods, put them to the scale, and place in the floor plan. Depending on your comfort with the process, you can draw the furniture directly on the floor plan or you can cut them out (on another piece of paper) and move them around the floor plan until you figure out where everything will go.
By doing this, you guarantee that these pieces will fit into the room. It’s important to remember that even when things look great on a space plan, the space can sometimes feel a little more crowded once the items are in the room and you may still need to tweak the placement of some items. But this process will provide you with more information for the type of items that will fit and you should have fewer concerns.
Good luck with your next space! I would love to see how this process worked for you.
Thank you Kelly for a pretty straight forward approach to creating a floor plan. I will continue to preach to the high heavens — creating a floor plan will save you time, money and your sanity at the end of the day when doing a room design. It is worth the extra effort…unless you enjoy pulling your hair out. But then you may be that small portion of people who look good bald and have a nicely shaped head. Then by all means continues.
[photo credit: kelly finley]