Every room in the house was now a complete and total, full of potential and possibilities, blank slate. And all I could think was, "Where in the world do I start?"
It reminded me of what I've heard about writer's block: staring at a blank page or white computer screen, ideas stagnant, hands paralyzed. Aside from wood floor stains, carpet selections, and paint colors, we also had enough existing furniture to fill only about 6% of this house.
With zero existing knowledge of design rules, I took to google. I asked things like:
- how much of the furniture should fit on an area rug
- how much space should there be between the coffee table and the sofa
- how far should the dining room table be from the edge of the rug and the wall to leave room for chairs
- do the wood legs on all furniture in a room need to match
And I found things like this:
I quickly learned that there are rules, but also that it's almost always okay to break them, if you do so knowingly and intentionally. But as a novice (and a planner and a control freak), I found rules insanely helpful.
And so I did what any numbers obsessed planner would do. I went room by room with a pad of paper and a tape measurer, took notes on every dimension, doorway, and window, and skipped to my computer to build floor plans in powerpoint.
Here's the basic idea... you take your measurements, divide them by a common number big enough to shrink your dimensions down to the size of a powerpoint page (8.5 x 11), and use the shapes in powerpoint to build out your room. Once you have the basic walls and doors and windows set, you can then start playing around with rug sizes, specific pieces of furniture you're interested in, and layouts. Here are some images of the floor plans I played around with.
Since we did the vast majority of our furniture shopping online, this step was essential in making sure we ended up with pieces that scaled to the room and to all of the other pieces in the room. I was able to mix up different pieces and configurations to determine what was going to maximize the look and usability of our space. My floor plans were in NO WAY perfect, but I can only imagine how many more mistakes I would have made without them :)
In the templates section of my website you can find tools and instructions for building floor plans in powerpoint. There is also a sample powerpoint floor plan tool you can download and customize for your own spaces!