Interior Decorating Tips: Floor Design Basics

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When it comes to decorating your apartment, don’t ignore floor design basics. Creating a floor plan before you move in can help you determine furniture and rug placement and color schemes ahead of time. If you’re living in or moving to an apartment building, the task of designing your floors is easy, since they probably published floor plans on their website or other marketing materials. However, with a pencil and a blank paper, you can plan your floor space if you follow these basic guidelines:

Measure Each Room

Measure the floors in each room and write down the measurements as you go along, and include windows and doorways (width and height). This is important for arranging furniture and to help you determine which furniture and appliances can fit into your apartment and which cannot. Get help from family and friends if you need to in order to take accurate measurements. A variant in inches can make a difference as to whether the couch you want to buy can fit in the living room.

Draw a Floor Plan

The only skills required here is the ability to draw miscellaneous shapes such as lines, rectangles and squares. You don’t need to be an architect to make these floor plans. The purpose is to put a visual to the measurements you’ve written down, and to draw a rough sketch of furniture, rugs and appliances that you want to put in each room. Use a separate piece of paper for each room, including the items you want in each one. Write down the length and width of each room directly on the floor design. Scan your drawings so that you save them to your computer. Email them to yourself and save them on your hard drive so that you won’t have to duplicate your hard work.

Area Rugs

To protect floors and minimize cleaning, you’ll need to include area rugs in high traffic areas. As you plan your floor design, locate all the areas you’ll walk on and step on the most while living in your apartment. For example, in front of the couch, in the hallway or the partition between rooms are common high traffic areas. Circle this on your floor plan as an option to place area rugs. This eliminates the need to steam or spot clean your carpets more often than you need to. It also saves the finish if your apartment has hardwood floors.

Take into account the patterns on the floors as you come up with a floor design. As a renter, you don’t get much choice in what goes on your floors, whether you have carpet or hardwood floors. The walls may have patterns on them—the borders or the entire wall. The colors and types of area rugs you purchase have to match what you’ve got to work with, or you’ll have a chaotic looking apartment.

If you plan to paint the walls at some point, get the proper permission first from your landlord before you solidify your plans. Make painting or putting up new wallpaper your first priority before implementing aspects of your floor design.

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