One of the most important aspects to consider before buying furniture for a room is its size. Working as a Store Manager at a furniture store, I’m constantly surprised by the number of people who spend hours purchasing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise only to find that it doesn’t fit in the intended room! Buying furniture without taking the time to measure both the room and the furniture you want in it is a great way to waist time, money, and, worst of all, have crappy looking kids furniture.
The easiest way to solve this problem is through the use of a floor plan. This will help you to get an idea of how the furniture in question will look in the context of everything around it. One of my favorite tools to accomplish this task is a free piece of software called Google Sketchup. The advantage to using software instead of a paper and pencil is that the computer model will be much faster to build and edit provided you take the time to learn how to use the program properly.
After you install this program, plan on spending about one hour going through the basic tutorial that’s include. Remember, it’s much smarter to spend one hour learning to use a program followed by half an hour building your model than it is to spend three hours fighting with a poorly constructed model. If you’re planning on doing three-dimensional work, I highly recommend that you go through the entire tutorial, which should take around two and a half hours. Thankfully, it’s quite easy to grasp due to the high quality of the included documentation.
It’s now time to begin making your model. I highly recommend sticking to two dimensions unless the height of the kids furniture you’re modeling is in question. Make sure to include door and windows in the model, which can be modeled using lines or thin rectangles. The furniture will be represented by rectangles having the same length and width of the items in question.
Once all of your items are on your floor plan and you’re sure everything will fit, do a quick check for correct proportions. Imagine yourself in the space you’re designing. Is your coffee table unbelievable huge? Is your entertainment center unbelievably small? After you’re satisfied that the proportions are correct, use the tape measure tool in Sketchup to check the width of the narrow spots in the room. You probably want at least 36″ of available space in high-traffic areas.