Paper Layout

29 Sep

My aunt has a bad back. She is getting old. She dislikes physical labor.

But, she is obsessed. Nothing can stop her from moving couches, tables, a bed, dressers, and other furniture from one end of the room to the other. Pain is nothing compared to her obsession of re-arranging her apartment. Every time I visit, she has moved at least one piece of furniture, if not several.

I think this obsession runs in the family. When I was younger, I loved to re-arrange the furniture in my bedroom. Albeit, my dad did most of the moving.

I don’t quite remember it, but here’s what I imagine:

“Dad, let’s re-arrange my room!”

I explain where I want to put each piece of furniture, he moves everything, and then I decide I want to try something else. This happens several times.

Finally, he says, “I’m getting too old for this,” walks away and comes back with a tape measure, measures everything, leaves for 30 minutes and returns to hand me a scaled layout of my room and some paper furniture scaled to size.

“Figure out what you want and call me then.”

Thus was born the best solution to my family obsession: a paper layout.

To this day, I still love playing around with a layout. When I moved into our current apartment, I made a paper layout for myself.

First, I drew a rough drawing of the apartment and gathered my information. I measured the walls of the rooms and jotted down the measurements on my rough drawing. I also measured my furniture, noting the figures down on a separate piece of paper. I kept all my measurements in inches.

With all the measurements written down, I scaled them so they would fit nicely on a piece of paper. I divided each of my measurements (in inches) by 4. The resulting numbers signified the number of boxes on my graph paper it would equal. (For instance, a 10′ wall would be the equivalent of a line on the graph paper 30 boxes long.)

Once I had all the scaled numbers, I grabbed my graph paper (I downloaded and printed free graph paper online at — I selected Cartesian Graph Paper, Letter 8.5″ x 11″, Millimeters, 2mm Cartesian Graph Paper) and a ruler and started marking the beginning and end of each wall. I connected the dots and soon had the outline of the rooms I wanted. I did the living room and bedroom:

Layout Rooms

Then, I drew out my furniture on a separate piece of graph paper using my scaled measurements. Instead of just labeling each piece of furniture, I drew on them to signify what they were:

Layout Furniture

Cut them out: (I photocopied the original before I cut them out, just in case I ever lose the pieces, I can just re-cut them.)

Cut out furniture

And, finally, time to play!

Here are some layouts I contemplated:

Layout Sample 1

Layout Sample 2

Layout Sample 3


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