How to Design a New Floor Plan to Refresh Your Room

Written by Rebecca Desfosse
Updated October 25, 2014
floor plan design
Room to move around and furniture that's proportional create an open, welcoming room. (Photo courtesy of member Ali P. of Dayton, Ohio)

Your room needs an overhaul, but not sure where to begin? Follow this guide to create a functional floor plan and cohesive design.

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

So you want to redecorate and aren't sure where to start? How about with a piece of paper and a measuring tape.

Envisioning a floor plan that works smoothly and satisfies you is an exciting possibility. Here are some tips to plan a room's design on paper without doing the heavy lifting too early.

What’s the Room For?

First, think about the way you’ll spend time in the room. Will you be entertaining? Watching TV? Or will it be used as a general great room for family activities?

Once you know what you plan to do there, try to think about traffic flow. How will you enter the room? Get around a corner or move around the sofa? You want to create a smooth flow of traffic moving about the room.

Sketch It Out

Once you've given this some thought, come up with a preliminary plan.

Measure the dimensions of your room and draw it to scale on a piece of paper (graph paper can be very helpful for keeping things in scale).

Next, measure your furniture, and sketch it in, keeping the proportions of everything right.

Does the room now have the same flow you imagined? Can a simple rearrangement help? Move things around until you find a setup that meets your requirements, or figure out which furniture to purchase to fill it out.

Rearrange Things

As much as you plan, you can't make a final decision using pen and paper. Eventually you'll have to see how things work in real life to decide on a permanent placement.

First, move everything to the rough position on your plan.

Then, sit with it for a few minutes. Does anything feel off? Move it around. Get rid of that throw rug or move it across the room. Play around with a few different furniture placements. You may stumble upon something truly appealing.

Leave Enough Space

You should keep a few things in mind no matter what your arrangement.

You should always keep 15 to 18 inches between a sofa and coffee table.

There should be at least 2 to 4 feet of space for a main walkway.

Aim for symmetry first, but feel free to mix it up until you settle on what works for you.

Keep Furniture to Scale

Scale is important. Your furniture’s size can throw off the look of your room.

In general, larger rooms require bigger furniture, while smaller rooms require more petite pieces.

Because things look so different in a store, you sometimes can’t determine if an item is to scale until you bring it home and put it in a room. Make sure when buying furniture that the items have good return policies.

RELATED: How to Avoid a Bad Furniture Buying Experience

Enlist Professional Help

If you're still having trouble coming up with an effective floor plan or room design, it might be wise to get professional assistance.

An interior designer can help you overcome obstacles, such as an awkward corner, a fireplace that’s not centered or an unsightly TV. She or he also can help you determine your furniture’s scale in the space.

Home decorators can be worth the cost if you want a room with plenty of function and style.

To create a livable floor plan, all you need is a little time to plan and some creativity. If you need some help, don't be shy about bringing in a pro.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.