The #1 Thing You Can Do to Improve Your Empty Nest

Did you know that the #1 thing you can do to feel great in your home is improve your furniture layout? That’s right — proper furniture placement makes the biggest impact on design. This is bigger than color, style and fabrics. Proper furniture placement is BIG!

Why is placement so important? Remember our old friend, function? In a nutshell, that’s why! The way the rooms in your home function has a greater impact on your enjoyment of your home than any pretty fabric.

{ Saddle Ridge Terrace  design by April Force Pardoe Interiors.}

{Saddle Ridge Terrace design by April Force Pardoe Interiors.}

Think about it. If you have a gorgeous chair (I mean the prettiest chair ever) in an odd corner of your family room and nobody ever sits in it because it’s not near ANYTHING else in the room and when you sit there you feel like you’re in the time out seat, the chair becomes a pretty face in the crowd.

On the other hand, if you have a pair of okay-looking chairs with the perfect foot stools, flanking your fireplace, where you can end every day with your honey, they will make you so happy that it won’t matter as much that they are just okay-looking! 

This doesn’t mean that how your rooms look isn’t important, but how it works is just so much more important! Where you place your furniture determines how you use your rooms, how you entertain and your enjoyment of all the rooms in your home!

{ Bluebell Way  design by April Force Pardoe Interiors.}

{Bluebell Way design by April Force Pardoe Interiors.}

Empty nest floorpans are a bit different than plans for the other stages in your life because you are using your home in new ways now and you want to ensure all of your needs are met in this new stage of life!

{At the end of this post I’ve included a bonus download that shows you 3 furniture plans for one room - ideas you can steal for you own lifestyle and home!}

The solution to getting your furniture placement right is to know how you need your room to function and then creating a space plan to bring the function to life. For a refresher on how to determine your room’s function, read my blog post, First Steps to Take Back Your Empty Nest’s Decor.

When you’re ready to create a plan to support your functions, you’ll need a few tools. Here’s the tools & steps you’ll need to create space plans for your home.

Tools you’ll need to create your space plan:

  1. Tape measure and/or laser measuring tool. Make sure you tape measure is long enough for your rooms and is very sturdy. A laser measuring tool is great for measuring long walls and capturing ceiling heights. It’s also great for spaces that are tough to access with a tape measure. You’ll want the tape measure for detail measurements and items that don’t have walls to bounce the laser.

  2. Large graph paper to note your measures. Use inches for all of your measurements to be consistent.

  3. Pencil & eraser 

Improve Your Empty Nest Baltimore Columbia Howard County Maryland Interior Designer Family Room Living Room Space Plan Example

Steps to create your space plan:

  1. Draw the general outline and shape of your room on the paper. Make it pretty large, but with enough room around the outside of the “walls" to note measurements of the walls. Note the general location of windows and door on this drawing. This doesn’t have to be exact. It’s the outline to place the exact measures on.

  2. Begin in one corner and measure the full length of each wall, going around the room clockwise. After you measure the full walls measure individual items on that wall. For example, if you have a 240” wall make that note on the drawing first. Then measure the fireplace location and size on the drawing and do the same with windows, etc. on the wall.

    You’ll want to show the size of the item (60” long fireplace hearth) and the measurement on either side of the item (120” on one side and 60” on other side of 60” fireplace = 240” wall) so you know where it sits on the wall. Repeat this around the room. Also note measurements of openings into the room.

  3. Measure the length and width of the room and note that. Do this for all lengths and widths if your room is odd shaped. Measure the ceiling height (you may not need this for furnishings, but it comes in handy for selecting ceiling light fixtures and window treatments). 

  4. Check your numbers. As noted in step 2, total up the measurements of all items on one wall. If the fireplace is 60” long, the walls on either side should add up to 180”. Add the smaller numbers together to make sure they equal the larger wall length number. Do this for every wall to ensure your numbers are correct.

Now that you have all of your measurements noted you need to transfer those to something easier to read and to-scale. You can do this on a new piece of graph paper, assigning a measurement to a square on the paper and drawing the room using a ruler. Or, you can find an electronic space planning app to load your measurements into and add furnishings. I use Icovia for my design projects. 

Improve Your Empty Nest Baltimore Columbia Howard County Maryland Interior Designer Design Inspiration Space Plan Software

From there you can start laying out the furniture in your room. If you’re using existing furnishings measure those and add them to your plan. If you are purchasing new furnishings use general furniture measurements (you can find these online on a favorite furniture website) to add pieces to your plan until it works for you.

If you’re ready to improve the most important thing in your home — its furniture plans — take some time to check out the apps and draw out a small, easy room to begin getting familiar with the process. 

Not sure how to layout the furnishings in the plan you create? Your Designer Bestie is here to help! I created a bonus to help inspire your floor plans! Download the attached bonus that shows one family room with three different furniture plans based on lifestyle and functions. I hope it will inspire your room layouts!

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