Whenever I meet a new client, one of the first things I explain is how I work. Most people really have no idea what an interior designer actually does. Want to know, too?

You must start with a floor plan. How else will you know what fits in your space? I know, you think it’s a waste of time, right? Let me explain why it is so vital…

When I draw out each piece of furniture to scale, I can instantly see what fits and envision how it will look in a space. You need to leave proper spacing between furniture (15″ between a sofa and a coffee table). You need to have the proper flow into a furniture grouping (24″ will not allow people to pass comfortably between chairs).

What might look like too much white space on a floor plan can actually contribute to the room having a sense of calmness about it.

The floor plan is a simple and effective tool that can make a huge difference in the way you put a room together. For our purposes, it doesn’t have to be accurate to the smallest measurement; you can sketch one up by hand on a tablet or even on Microsoft excel. The goal is simply knowing what you have and how to make it work together harmoniously.

Consider spacing

Planning where to place tables, seating, and particularly cabinets and storage items with hinged doors, will help you avoid any headaches down the line. The last thing you want is a perfect credenza that opens directly into your sofa.

Measure Footprints

Measuring the footprint of each piece of furniture you would like to have in the room is an important first step. Note the height as well so that you will know which piece will fit under a window. Now you will be able to decide which of your furniture to keep and what needs to go.

Get oriented

Use your phone’s compass to determine which parts of your room faces north, south, east and west. Keep in mind where the sun comes in, and at what time, so you can plan where you would like to orient your furniture and TV.

Be Intentional with Groupings

While some traditional arrangements might work in your space – a sofa often faces a coffee table, usually across from two armchairs with a side table in between for drinks. It is important to deconstruct what typically is done and find the way it applies to your lifestyle and space constraints.

Be Aware of Inconsistencies

If your space has odd measurements or strange protrusions, see if you can find a way to accommodate them in your floor plan. Use a ruler or protractor to create straight lines and right angles. If not, simply make a note. For instance, the back wall is slightly shorter on the right hand side than the left. These small variances generally won’t matter too much.

Distinguish your Space with Textiles and Art

Area rugs can help to break up a room visually by distinguishing certain spaces for lounging, dining or simply passing through. Place dark or pattern rugs in areas where there’s heavy foot traffic to cut down on cleaning costs. Additionally, placement is another way to break up a room visually, bringing the eye to different elevations within a space or to a specific focal point at one end of the room or the other.

NextGen Design Academy’s online interior design program aims to give our students the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in a competitive industry. That includes a thorough understanding of what it takes to produce a successful interior design project: a space that satisfies the client’s desired function, aesthetics and budget.

Develop and Enrich your Interior Design Skills with NextGen Design Design Academy!

Project Management

Spatial Planning

Business of Interior Design

Visual Language

Perspective Drawing