Measurements & Calculations for Interior Designing

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Measurements are an important component of interior design. They help you map and understand the square footage of a space and manage space through planning. Measurements and calculations are crucial for renovations, building projects and significant design plans. They assist with furniture arrangements and small details like where to put plants. Be consistent in your measurements, using the same units. Feet and inches are often easiest.

Floor Plan

  • Create one floor plan per room. You may also use a total house or apartment floor plan. Measure everything in the room: the length and width of the floors, the height and width of the walls, the locations of windows, doors, lights, vents and plugs and their dimensions. Use a measuring tape or a point-beam laser available at hardware stores.
    Draw all measurements on a piece of paper. Start with a square or rectangle for the room and draw arrowed lines showing the dimensions of each item--and the distance between spaces--in numbers. Include placements of windows and doors. Make copies of the finished picture, so you can draw on as many as you wish. Experiment by drawing different furniture and accessory arrangements.
    A floor plan allows you see how much space you are working with, what will fit in the room, where things can go and what your limits are. It can help you navigate trick corners. Take the drawing with you to purchase window treatments, baseboards, furniture or rugs, so you will know what sizes you need. A floor plan also helps you to build and install shelves, storage units, new counters, cupboards, screen doors or any other decorative building projects.

Ergonomics and Anthropometry

  • Anthropometry and ergonomics are scientific studies of the measurements of human bodies, the way they interact with space and how they use working equipment in physical dimensions. To see a chart of human movements and space, see "Interiordezine Charts" below.
    While you do not have to study these systems, consider human movement when measuring interior design space. People want to move around comfortably. Leave room for normal activities in your plan. Diners want to move back their chairs to get in and out without banging the hutch behind them. From a couch, you should be able to reach the coffee table without standing.

Furniture and Light

  • Measure your light sources in the room. Where does it come from and at what angle? Where do you need light? Remember that a lamp cord will have to reach an outlet. Use your floor plan to determine where lamps and lights can go. Sophisticated designs measure where light falls at times of day and the relationship between light sources and art displays.
    Measure furniture and other objects. Leave an extra inch or two. Experiment with placing. Make an arrangement that harmonizes attractiveness, ease and space. The room should not feel empty or cluttered. Art, pictures and mirrors should fall directly at eye level. To hang evenly, mark the place with a pencil or finger. Use tape, pencil or a handy chalk string to mark where the nails or screws should go.
    Use calculations for unstructured decoration. You do not want to hang 3-foot curtains on a 6-foot window or put a bookshelf over a heating vent. Calculations can show you where you need more storage and the best angle for your bed. They help to determine where to add new features and discover solutions like pot hanging racks.

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