I absolutely hate arranging and rearranging furniture.  I don't hate the end result of an attractive and functional living space, but I hate trying to figure it out the traditional way - you know, moving everything around over and over again, just to see how a different arrangement will look or work?  Yeah, I hate that.  And I hate the fact that sometimes I will just accept a half-baked or not very attractive or useful arrangement, simply because I'm tired of dragging stuff around.  But I don't want to be a hater - so let me tell you something I love!

I have discovered a relatively easy way to decide where to put my furniture - to experiment with different arrangements, to see how a particular arrangement will flow, work, and look - without having to call up a bunch of friends to help me (or drag the sofa back and forth by myself)!

Creating a scale drawing of the room you plan to rearrange (as well as scale cutouts of the furniture you will be arranging) takes a little time up front, but is worth it in the long run.

I have also used this technique upon first moving into an apartment, to decide where the furniture goes in the first place.  It is easier to measure the rooms before I have all my crap in them, in any case.  :-)

Okay - are you totally pumped for this?  Let's begin with Step 1 - Gathering Necessary Tools And Materials.  All right, let's move!

Step 1: Gather necessary tools and materials

In this step, you will gather the necessary tools and materials to complete this Instructable.

(NOTE:  All dimensions given in Imperial units, as this instructable was created in the U.S. - one of only three countries in the world that does not currently use the metric system.  So if you live anywhere but the U.S., Liberia, or Burma, congratulations!  You will have a MUCH easier time doing the scaling required for this little project.  If you live in the U.S., Liberia, or Burma, don't fret - it's still possible.  just a little more inconvenient.)  :-) 


:  For this Instructable, you will need the following tools/materials:

Graph paper.  I used a standard pad of 8 1/2" x 11", blue-lined paper.  The pad I used was made by Gold Fibre, and had graph paper on one side of each sheet, and lined paper on the back of each sheet.  Also, it is helpful to use a pad that has perforated edges, in case you want to remove sheets for storage later.  (More on this in later steps.)

2.  #2 pencil..
 Use a sharp pencil, okay?  And a clean eraser is important here!  Drafting is often trial and error, especially when you're dealing with scaling.  I have used this technique probably 20 times before doing this instructable, and still had to erase due to math mistakes, crooked lines, etc.  Precision is relatively important in this instructable, so feel free to let the little perfectionist inside you run wild.  :-)

3.  Tape measure.
 I used a 25'  Craftsman tape with a 1" heavy-duty blade.  The length of the tape is driven by the size of the room you plan to rearrange furniture in.  The room I measured (my living room) is 18 1/2' x 14', so obviously a 10' tape would not have been sufficient.  If you don't even have a rough idea of how big the room is, I would recommend at least a 25' tape.  The heavy duty blade isn't necessary, but it saves time when measuring long distances (a heavy duty tape doesn't bend and curl up as easily as the thinner, cheaper tape measures that sometimes come with small home repair kits.)

4.  Scratch paper.
 You will use this to record measurements, work out long division, doodle when you get bored of doing math, and other fun manual stuff.  You can use a sheet of your graph paper, if you don't mind wasting it.  I recommend against napkins - they are hard to read, and you don't want to lose any important data to a mustard stain.

5.  Scissors.
 You will be using these to cut out the scale drawings you make of your furniture.  Sharp craft or kitchen scissors will be perfect!  Safety scissors might work, but... seriously?  You need those?

6.  Ruler with a clean, straight edge.  
You will be using this to draw the outlines of the room and the furniture on the graph paper, and possibly to help you measure small distances on the graph paper.  I would suggest a solid aluminum or steel ruler without divots along the edges, to ensure that your lines stay straight.  (Did I mention that I'm a perfectionist?  Is it obvious yet?)  :-)

7.  Calculator (not pictured).
 The software calculator on your computer will work just fine.  A calculator isn't a requirement, but if you want to avoid doing long division by hand, it will be helpful.

8.  Envelope.
 This is where you will store the small, delicate paper cutouts of your furniture, if you choose to keep them.  Otherwise, they will get probably get lost, ripped, crushed, or thrown away.  (Hey, life's not fair sometimes.)  I suggest a different envelope for each room's worth of furniture you draft.

9.  File folder or Manila Envelope (not pictured).
 Some sort of file folder is useful to store your drafted room along with the envelope containing all your little furniture pieces.  If you draft three rooms in your house, you could have three file folders - one for each room!  This way the pieces don't get mixed up, and you always know where your scale drawings are if you ever decide to rearrange!  (If you have a file cabinet, that is.)  Again, I suggest a different file folder/manila envelope for each room you plan to draw to scale.


If you've gathered the nine items listed above, we're ready to rock and roll!  Let's get started with Step 2 - Measure Your Room.
<p>I love the idea of using to scale drawings on graph paper! But I'll end up playing with all of the possibilities so much, I might never settle on a design haha! Anyway, I've also realised that sometimes you really need to see things in person when the removalists move the furniture into the actual room before deciding on whether a piece of furniture really goes where you would like it to go!</p>
<p>hello, great instructable. you should check out my similar <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/arrange-your-furniture-the-21st-century-way/" rel="nofollow">idea</a> that may save some trees doing the same things</p>
Thanks for sharing. I would love to learn more about making <a href="http://www.lastickfurniture.com/LivingRoom.inc" rel="nofollow">living room furniture in Downingtown, PA</a>. I would love to try this out for myself.
This is how I arranged my whole apartment including the small stuff like the toaster.<br> I'm glad I'm not the only one who does this. Now I feel a <em>little</em> more sane. LOL!
I've done the graph paper thing with the cut outs. This is better:<br> <br> <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Design-a-workshop/" rel="nofollow">http://www.instructables.com/id/Design-a-workshop/</a><br> <br> 2D lets you fib too much.
&nbsp;I used to do models like this. I still have paper layouts that I did 15 years ago. It's definitely helpful, but if you have access to a computer, you really ought to try Google Sketchup. It allows you to do the same thing, but in more detail and in 3D. Good luck finding the perfect design!
not to mention for free :D <br>I use Sketchup for this a lot too
Great to see others do the same thing i&quot;ve been doing years ago. I measured the top view of all my furniture and made blocks of it in AutoCAD. Of course i also measured the house up front and drafted that and then printed it all in scale. The nicest part of moving is handing the wife the drawings and telling her to knock herself out :-)
<span class="long_text" id="result_box"><span title="Perd&oacute;n, pero acabo de recordar un detalle importante: cuando se hace el mapa de la habitaci&oacute;n, no olvidar incluir, adem&aacute;s de las aberturas, los tomacorrientes, los aparatos de aire acondicionado, las estufas fijas, los ventiladores de techo y cualquier otro elemento que">Sorry, but I just remembered an important detail: when doing the map of the room, don't forget to include, in addition to the openings, all electrical outlets, air conditioning equipment, fixed stoves, ceiling fans and anything else that might affect someone close to it or even the transit.</span><span title="pueda afectar a alguien cercano"><br /> </span></span><img alt="" class="qtl" src="http://www.qtl.co.il/img/copy.png" title="Copy selction" /><a rel="nofollow" title="Search With Bing"><img alt="" class="qtl" src="http://www.bing.com/favicon.ico" /></a><a rel="nofollow" title="Search With Google"><img alt="" class="qtl" src="http://www.google.com/favicon.ico" /></a><img alt="" class="qtl" src="http://www.urbandictionary.com/favicon.ico" title="Define With Urban Dictionary" /><img alt="" class="qtl" src="http://www.wordnik.com/favicon.ico" title="Define with WordNik" /><img alt="" class="qtl" src="http://www.google.com/favicon.ico" title="Translate With Google" />
<span class="long_text" id="result_box"><span style="background-color: rgb(255,255,255);" title="Yo he aplicado este m&eacute;todo hace unos 37a&ntilde;os, y pude comprobar que las distancias sobre el papel resultan aparentemente m&aacute;s chicas que en la realidad.">I have applied this method 37a&ntilde;os ago, and I saw that on paper the distances are apparently smaller than in reality. </span><span style="background-color: rgb(255,255,255);" title="En otras palabras, algo que sobre el plano parece impracticable, en la realidad es perfectamente posible">In other words, something that seems impractical in the plane, in reality it is perfectly possible<br /> <br /> Good instructable!<br /> </span></span>
&nbsp;Thank you! &nbsp;It was definitely a blast to make, and it's always been beneficial to me to use these. &nbsp;Hope it is helpful to someone!<br /> <br /> I think I will add language to this effect in Step 10, because you are right - it took me some getting used to the way the spacing appears on the page and the way it actually turns out in the room! &nbsp;Thanks for the tip and reminder.<br />
Don't forget to make a cutout of your, well, size and use it to check for spacing.&nbsp; 'Walk' your shape threw and see where problems might be-like the corner of a chair that you might keep hitting on the way in or out...<br />
&nbsp;Hmmm... since it's a bird's eye view, where should one measure one's own circumference? &nbsp;I'm guessing hips, but I don't have anything in my living room much taller than that. &nbsp;What do you think? &nbsp;I haven't thought this through yet...
Hips.&nbsp; Where your feet go, your legs go and your hips follow.&nbsp; Best would be an oval with your hips as the minor axis and your step length (or about half your height) as the major axis.<br />
&nbsp;Ooh! &nbsp;I like that idea! &nbsp;I had never thought of that. &nbsp;I will add that to step 9! &nbsp;Thanks! &nbsp;:-)

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