The Creative House: Planning the Layout of a Room with a Paper and Pencil

When you renovate homes, there are some lessons you learn pretty quick! One is to fully work out the layout of a room on paper before installing appliances or furniture, or, more drastically, taking down a wall!

There are many CD-roms and software on the market to help home owners to plan the layout of a room. These may include features such as three-dimensional images with detailed shading, colors and textures. Yet, for the less technical types like me, these programs can be intimidating. As well, they cost money.

Therefore, a graph paper and pencil will always be my favorite tools for planning the layout of rooms in a house. It is especially helpful in rooms where there are a lot of appliances such as kitchens and bathrooms. Here is a guide to how to do it.

To start, measure each wall in the room. This is easiest when the room is relatively square, but don’t be deterred if there are some odd angles. Write down the measurements.

Next, obtain all the measurements for your proposed appliances. Most of the time, appliances, such as kitchen cabinets, stoves and showers will be roughly square. If not, obtain the longest measurement of the appliance. For instance, measure a sink at its greatest width – the basin.

Decide on a scale for your miniature floor plan. For instance, use two squares of graph paper to every foot. If your oven is two feet by three feet, draw a rectangle that is four squares by six squares on the graph paper.

Repeat this process for each of your appliances. Cut out the shapes representing each of your appliances.

On another piece of graph paper, create a scale drawing of the room using the same proportions. Using the two squares to every foot scale, a room that is six by eight feet will be twelve by sixteen squares.

Finally, arrange each of the shapes in the outline of the room. Moving the shapes around will show you the variety of configurations for arranging your furniture or appliances.

This exercise is especially helpful in working out how much ‘leg room’ there is. For instance, there will need to be enough room for a shower door to open without colliding with the sink! Also, keep in mind any adjustments – for example, a sink must be located on a wall that has the necessary pipes.

Using the low-tech method of graph paper and pencil will help you to avoid a lot of headaches when it comes to planning the layout of your house.

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