Homeowner How-To's: Space Planning Guide

By Home Bay

Posted on March 8th, 2017

Looking at an empty room and imagining how it will look when it’s fully furnished takes skill. But you don’t have to be an interior designer to achieve a look you love. Just follow the simple steps in this space planning guide to transform your empty space into your ideal room.


  1. Start by Defining Your Space:
    Grab a pen and paper. Then, measure your walls and mark locations of windows, doors, the fireplace and any built-in features like bookcases, cabinets, counters, or steps. Also, note the location of light switches and wall plugs. If you’re comfortable with using an online tool, do a google search for online space planners and use one of the many free options. When you have your room measured out, your graph will serve as your canvas.

    Next, measure your existing furniture and make cutouts of major pieces — sofas, chairs, coffee table, dining table, desk, beds, and dressers – depending on which room arrangement you are tackling. If you’re planning to shop for furniture, you can use your room diagram as a basis to help you determine what size furniture to look for.

  2. Consider Focal Points and Traffic Lanes:
    Bedrooms usually only have a single doorway, but other rooms may have multiple openings, doors, and windows. Before you begin placing the furniture, you’ll want to take note of the “natural” walkways in each space.

    Try to anticipate how people will walk through the room and take a look at sight lines. For example, you could make a mental note of what will be visible as you sit on the sofa. A fireplace is a natural focal point, but if your room will be used primarily for TV viewing, the fire should be secondary. Use common sense with planning your arrangement and let it reflect the way you live.

  3. Consider Basic Design Principles:
    As you plan out your room, take inventory of your room’s architectural features, analyzing its strong points and be aware of any flaws. Also, strongly consider the functionality of your space. Is it meant to be a room that can serve as a duel family space and in-home office? Are you looking to create a master suite oasis? Define what you want your space to be, and use that definition to guide your furniture and decor decisions.

    For example, in a family room used by both adults and children, try to leave some open floor space, but don’t push all the furniture up against the walls. Instead, consider placing a game table in the corner to create a separate hangout or homework space.

  4. Buying new furniture?
    Many furniture stores offer online space planning tools that let you define the dimensions of your room, then pull furniture from their virtual showroom and place it so you can see how it will fit in your space. Some of the tools even have a 3D camera that will take a first-person photo of the space and will show you what it looks like from any angle. Take advantage of these free tools! Being able to “see” what your room will look like is exceptionally valuable when you’re looking to invest in your space.

Follow these steps and you’ll be loving your thoughtfully designed, stylish and functional space in no time!

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Posted in Interior Decorating