Designing a room for maximum use and movement requires information about furniture requirements and knowledge about how the space will be used. A room may be wide enough for a 6-foot wide desk, but if it is impossible to walk around the desk to sit behind it, it does not make much sense to have it in that room. Before attempting to create a floor and furniture plan, know what the room will be used for, the size of any furniture to be used in the room and the minimal dimensions needed for movement within the room.
Use Floor Plan Software
The ability to move furniture and walls in a virtual way allows a room to be seen from every corner and viewpoint. Room-design or planning software facilitates this process in a short amount of time and with little physical labor (see Resources below). Free drag-and-drop room-design software products use generic sizes and furniture styles for furniture arrangement and even allow walls, doors and windows to be moved. Some furniture companies provide online tools that use their furniture sizes and styles for floor-plan designing. Look for software that allows you to specify furniture sizes for a more accurate plan. Save the arrangements on your computer and print them out as needed. Make sure that room and furniture dimensions are noted.
Rooms centered around conversation will have furniture arrangements that facilitate people seeing and talking to each other. Conversation requires groups of furniture---a sofa facing two chairs with a coffee table between them, a group of comfortable lounge chairs at right angles to each other or a corner with two chairs turned toward each other. Begin arranging the furniture by choosing a centerpiece and building around it. Try a round coffee table, a round seating arrangement or two sofas back to back and build arrangements from them. Shop furniture for sizes and shapes before committing to a furniture arrangement.
A task-oriented room will often contain an entertainment center and work surfaces like a table or a computer desk. This type of room often becomes a multipurpose room where a group gathers to play games or watch movies and television. Begin furniture arranging by dividing the room into task areas. Break the room into halves, thirds or four quadrants and decide what will happen where---games and toys in one corner, computer desk in another, small library and cozy chair in another. Make the room flow by using mobile furniture---tables, storage and chairs on wheels.
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