Lesson 2: Exercises in Home Decor Styles

Exercises on Decorating Styles & Furniture Arrangement

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Exercise 3-a

In order to find out if your Living Room or Great/Family Room functions well - determine what it is used for, or what you would like for it to be used for. Do you gather as a family to converse, watch television, listen to music, read in front of the fire or study in here? Once you determine how you would like for a room to function, you can begin to plan your furniture layout.

For this exercise, make a list of all the functions that occur in your Living/Great/Family Room (depending on what you call this space) - not necessarily only the functions that now occur, but include any functions that you would like to occur. Place them in the order of importance, with the most important one first. For instance, if your room is used for viewing television, sitting in front of the fire and also includes a small desk area for work/study/computer usage - decide which of the three is the most important, then the next and the least important would be listed last.

You should have a list of anywhere from 2 - 5 functions listed in the order of importance. Keep this list handy when laying out your furniture for this room. The first function on the list (the most important) should be the first priority when you lay out the furniture, then the second, etc.

Exercise 3-b

For this exercise, you will draw a floor plan of your Living/Great/Family Room (depending on what you call this space) on graph paper or the grids in your furniture package, based on the lesson from lesson Two on measuring.

graph paper
Remember the grid paper in your notebook is 1 square per each foot. This 3' door spans 3 squares.
The grid cardboard in the Furniture Layout Kit is the same scale, except the squares
are larger - 1 square equals 2'.

Remember, your grid paper in the notebook is scaled so that one square equals 1 foot. The heavier cardboard grid that is in the furniture layout package is scaled so the 1 square equals 2 feet. They are both the same size though.

Be sure to measure exactly where the doors are located, as well as any permanent structure such as fireplace, windows, built-in shelves, etc. Refer to measuring a room in lesson 2 if you need to. Do not include any furniture in this floor plan only walls, doors and built in architectural features, such as a fireplace, bookcases, etc.

Once completed, you should make copies of this plan for Exercises 3-c and 3-d. You may want to go so far as to include some of the standard architectural symbols on your plan as shown below.

floor plan symbols


Exercise 3-c

Take the copy of the floor plan from Exercise 3-b and draw with a red pencil the path of traffic from each doorway through the room. There shouldn't be any furniture in the plan yet. You are trying to come up with a fairly comfortable flow through the room for foot traffic, although that doesn't necessarily mean that you should draw a straight line through the room. Check below for examples for guidance.

Traffic Flow

If you have more than one door opening, you will now have a room that is divided into sections. Now draw a circle in each of the sections that are left open (as the examples above). The circles will indicate exactly where you will have your furniture arrangements.


Exercise 3-d

In this exercise, you will measure the existing furniture that will stay in this room. Measure according to the instructions from lesson Two on how to measure furniture. Also, make a list of furniture that you would like to have in this room but you do not currently own.

Using the Furniture Layout Kit, find the sizes of the existing furniture and cut out the appropriate ones. Now find the furniture that you would like to purchase and cut out the appropriate ones. Begin to lay the furniture cutouts on your floor plan you drew, moving them around - but only within your furniture groupings (circles) that you determined in Exercise 3-c.


Your main path of circulation (your red lines from Exercise 3-c), should be around 36" wide for ease of movement through the room. You can move and bow these red lines some to allow for furniture. The red lines are not set in stone, they are just a guideline for the most practical routes.

Path of Traffic

Sofa Clearance

Exercise 3-e

For the final exercise this lesson, take the color scheme of this room (from the first lessons Exercises) and determine what changes you wanted to make in here, based on the things you noted the first lesson.

If you want to adjust your existing color scheme;

  • Determine what colors need to change. You will probably be able to keep one or two of them.
  • If it is the sofa or a chair, plan on a slipcover or possibly even reupholstering it. If you can purchase a new sofa, can you move this one into another room?
  • If the carpet is a problem, can you replace it? If not, consider purchasing an area rug or rugs to place over it within the furniture groupings. This will disguise some of the color of the carpet and although you cannot completely eliminate it - you can take it from a dominant color to a secondary color.
  • If the walls are the wrong color - try to repaint or apply new wallcovering in your preferred color scheme.
  • Go back to the color tips you learned in lesson One and apply them to this room as necessary.
  • Go to fabric stores, paint stores and furniture stores and put samples you like of paint, fabric, etc. in an envelop marked "Living Room". Add this envelope to your clear folder in the back of your notebook for future planning.

If you want to keep your existing color scheme;

  • Do you need to add an accent color or possibly remove one of the accent colors if you feel you have too many?.
  • Do you want to move the colors around and make a color that is now a secondary color into a dominant or primary color?
  • Put samples you like of paint, fabric, etc. that you may add to this room in an envelop marked "Living Room". Add this envelope to your clear folder in the back of your notebook for future planning.
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