Designer Andrew Pike shares expert tips and tools to size furniture and space plan in any room.
With so many of us doing the majority of our home shopping online, it can be easy to overlook product dimensions and end up buying pieces that just aren’t sized properly for the space. Just ask Andrew Pike — nationally recognized designer, host and media personality — who sees it all the time. “I believe people either go too big or too small. They buy furniture that doesn’t work and then the rest of the space suffers,” he says. To make the best possible use of your space, come up with a purposeful plan that’s properly measured and well thought out.
Purchasing proportionate furniture is key. It may cost you more preparation and research time, but selecting pieces that fit your space perfectly can take your rooms from good to great. Oversized or bulky furniture can ruin the functionality and flow of a space, just as much as pieces that are too narrow or short. If you’re contemplating what to include in your room, start by selecting the piece of furniture that’s most important to you. This may be a sofa for watching television, or a desk for working from home. Once you’ve got that key piece, you can build around the remaining space.
“Drop everything into your plan before you buy. Furniture always looks much smaller in a store than it does in your home.” — Andrew Pike
Taking detailed measurements and playing with placement before making purchases is crucial to optimizing your space. There’s a big misconception that measuring is a hard, tedious chore; when in reality, there’s a plethora of tips, tricks and tools to get it right. Taping your layout on the floor with painter’s tape, drawing a picture to scale or using spatial planning apps like Room Planner or Planner 5D are some of the best techniques to help better visualize how the space is going to come together.
Rule-of-thumb measurements to help plan out your space.
If lighting is centred over a table where people won’t hit their heads, lower is fine. For clear passage, always work with at least a 6½’ clearance from the floor.
Place the front legs of your primary furniture on your rug. If all the legs sit on it, even better. Leave at least 15” between the rug and your wall.
For the perfect curtain rod placement, split the distance above the window (between the casing and ceiling) in half.
Always allow for a 32” width for a comfortable lounge chair.
A standard-size sofa is approximately 84” long. If your space allows for it, opt for something larger to accommodate family and friends.
Ensure your coffee table is roughly 16” away from your seating so that it’s convenient to reach.
Go big and incorporate oversized artwork in your space. Even if it extends past the sofa, it’ll still look great.