Sketch It Out

When I moved into my first apartment in college, I found lots of issues with space. I had plenty of furniture I could bring from home, but knowing what would fit in my new studio apartment was a challenge. Luckily, I had experience from helping other family members move to help make move in day a snap.First, I took measurements of the entire room, everything from wall length, window size, where the air conditioner stuck out and anything that took up space but I couldn’t change.

Simple plan for a storage room/work out room

Simple plan for a storage room/work out room

Next I marked where plug-ins were located on each wall. I then carefully created a scaled model on graph paper when I got home, cautiously noting where my windows and plug-ins were on my drawing. Next I measured all of my furniture using the same scale and cut out each piece on graph paper. It was easy to see where the larger items had to be placed or items such as TVs and lamps due to plug-in requirements once I had all my pieces laid out.

After finally deciding on a layout, I lightly traced out the furniture on the plan. When move in day finally arrived, I didn’t need to spend half the day deciding which pieces are coming and going or where it should be at.
If you are tech savvy, there is an even better way to help design and setup a room arrangement. Using free software called SketchUp, users are allowed to create not only 2-D plans, but also 3-D plans.

Example of a computer desk made with Sketch Up

Example of a computer desk made with SketchUp

SketchUp is a simple piece of software that allows you to create a whole building in a matter of clicks. The best part about SketchUp is how quick and easy it is to learn. Basic tutorials created by Google on Youtube start off with making a simple house. As you watch more videos, your house becomes much more detailed, down to molding and trim. Google sold SketchUp last year, but still support the software with a wide variety of models that you can download and add to your sketch. This means that not only can you create your dream house on the exterior, you can add name brand furniture that is scaled appropriately to your house. Appliance manufacturers like Whirlpool, Kohler, KraftMaid, Ikea, Bosch, GE, and many others have their own appliances already created that can be added into your own design with a few clicks.

If you want to try out SketchUp but would like more assistance, check out Google SketchUp for Dummies and Google Sketchup for Site Design available here at the library. Need ideas for designing that new home? Check out our large selection on home designs and plans in the home neighborhood!


I am a Public Service Specialist with interlibrary loan here at TSCPL and can be found at the media desk. I graduated from KU with a degree in meteorology and love forecasting Kansas weather. I enjoy cooking, technology, and watching lots of TV shows. My favorite books come from a wide range of fantasy and mystery novels.

4 thoughts on “Sketch It Out

  1. WOW! Software has come a long way, but the ideas remain the same — My freshman year of college I did my GE103 Autocad project on redesigning dorm rooms so that they made better use of the available space–It looked way less cool than the screenshots you shared from SketchUp, that’s for sure! Thanks for sharing this information.

  2. This is great! We’re doing a big bedroom swap at home and this will help all of us (adults and kids) figure out the new spaces.

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