Drawing Up Plans for Home Alterations
Drawing Up Plans
Assuming you own your house or apartment, you can take down internal partition walls, add new ones, block up old doors and make new openings in more convenient places. The visual and practical differences such changes will make are out of all proportion to the comparatively modest expense involved. If none exist already, it is certainly worth making a new set of plans of each room. Quite apart from their usefulness when you are working out any changes, they will also be invaluable for deciding on furniture arrangement later.
To make your preliminary plans you simply measure the room or rooms and draw the area out roughly to scale — not forgetting to add details of windows, doors, fireplaces, odd corners and indentations, fireplaces, supporting pillars and any other permanent fixtures. Then measure accurately the lengths of the walls, the proportions of the doors, windows and any other features, the thickness of partitions, and the distance between fittings. Measure also the positions of electrical sockets (outlets), telephone sockets (jacks), radiators and other permanent heating appliances, and air conditioners. All these should be clearly marked on the sketch. This constitutes your preliminary survey. To draw up an accurate plan you must decide on the scale: a scale of 2cm to 1m (about 1/4in to 1ft) is reasonable for general areas, such as living rooms and bedrooms, but a larger scale — perhaps twice this — is better for rooms such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms which have to take a number of fixtures.
Draw the sketch of the room to your chosen scale using a sharp pencil. It is essential to do this absolutely accurately. It may seem tiresome to keep stressing accuracy but I have learned from bitter experience how the slightest, inaccuracy can spoil an inspired idea. Once had to send back a complete set of kitchen units because the architect’s measurements were out by a tiny amount — but just enough to ensure that there was no way in the world the cabinets could be fitted into their assigned niches. Because they had been custom-made I could not reclaim any money, so there was nothing for it but to pay all over again The only consolation is that the architect is now known to be the most accurate measurer in the world!
Another point to bear in mind is that the correct measurement of windows, doors and staircases (especially at any turns) is particularly important when it comes to moving in furniture. Many a double bed, piano, large armchair or cabinet has had to be returned to the supplier when narrow doors and windows made access to a room impossible. By the same token, do not forget to measure the depth, width and height of elevators.
Once you have a reasonable plan or plans with which to work, you can juggle around the various possibilities for making the most of your space.
Plans also provide an excellent means of working out furniture layout: they can help you to arrange what you already have or to decide what you need to buy.
The simplest way to assess the merits of different layouts is to draw the outlines of the furniture on a separate piece of paper, then cut out the shapes and move the pieces about on the plan until you discover the optimum arrangement. Remember that the furniture cut-outs should be constructed to the same scale as the basic room plan.