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How to Arrange Bedroom Furniture in a Square Room (6 Steps)

Jennifer Nielsen.
  • This article has been researched and reviewed by Jennifer Nielsen (a professional interior designer) for factual accuracy.

If you’re moving into a house with a square bedroom then you might be wondering how to arrange your bedroom furniture for maximum functionality and style.

To successfully arrange your bedroom furniture in a square room, take measurements of the room to create a floor plan that details the exact architecture so that you can strategically place your existing and new furniture for optimum practical use and aesthetics.

The rest if this article walks you through the 6 step process of arranging your bedroom furniture perfectly in your square room.

Related: how to paint a small bedroom a dark color.

6-Step Square Bedroom Furniture Layout Guide

The 6-step process of arranging your furniture in a square room is explained in more detail below:

1: Take Measurements

Prior to arranging, it is key to have a plan.

And to have a successful plan, you must take inventory of the existing space, including architectural elements and details to not only ensure that all of your pieces fit, but that it works for you.

Creating a plan and taking inventory of your existing space forces you to think about and register the restrictions that you may run into.

In addition to ensuring the furniture will fit within your space, a furniture floor plan will help you think through other existing details.

For example, the window size and location may have a big influence on where you place your dresser.

Or your closet doors might swing into where you were thinking of placing your bed.

These components are often left out of the equation until the furniture is being moved in and conflicts between the space and furniture arise.

Here are some steps to documenting your existing space, prior to moving in:

1.1 Create or Locate an Existing Floor Plan

With newer houses, a floor plan is not so hard to come by.

However, with an older house, this may not be the case.

In this situation, you can always create a floor plan from scratch.

If you are creating a floor plan from scratch, the best “map” to use is either graph paper or you can create a simple room shape with lines in either a word processing or presentation program.

This does not have to be super accurate, since you are going to add the important information later.

Make sure to document windows, doors, ceilings irregularities, outlets, and any other information and unique details that will be important in planning out your room.

Note:  

Even if you have found a drafted floor plan of your house, it’s important to double-check these dimensions in the space.

Structures are not always built to plan and a renovation may have occurred.

It’s a great template to have, but take a couple of seconds to double-check that the information matches the current room.

Floor Plan Sketch
Floor Plan Sketch (custom image by Jennifer Nielsen)

1.2: Note the Dimensions in Inches

Take note of the width, length, and even the ceiling height.

Adding the information in inches helps to keep your units consistent with the furniture since those pieces are typically not noted in feet.

1.3: Add in Detailed Information

Make notes for the windows, doors, ‘bump-outs’, tv hookups and outlets, and anything else that is unique to your space.

For example:

Windows:

Take note of the placement along a wall in a floor plan view and also the height and trim thickness.

Information on the height and trim thickness could be helpful when making the final placement decision for a headboard, for instance, that may need to be installed flush against a wall.

Doors:

Take note of the swing and width.

Bi-fold closet doors may not interfere with the space as much as a 36″ width, single panel, so it’s important to document how these function.

Bump outs:

Bump-outs are the sneakiest architectural features since they are not as noticeable.

It’s common to feel that the room is perfectly square, while an HVAC shaft lies right where you were going to place a large dresser.

Be careful of corner bump-outs and also overhead soffits.

Soffits may collide with a taller headboard.

TV hook-ups and outlets:

While you are space planning, it’s convenient to note where the existing outlets are and where an extension cord or multiple plugs may need to go before placing the furniture.

It’s best to note the location and height from the ground to avoid blocking any furniture that is flush against the wall.

Hookups and outlets may not be located exactly where you want them but it often does not make sense to have an electrician come and install additional receptacles.

Understanding their locations before moving in can avoid any surprises and additional stress.

Detailed Bedroom Floor Plan.
Detailed Bedroom Floor Plan (custom image by Jennifer Nielsen)

1.4: Alternate Planning Methods

If the hand sketching and written field documentation are not working for you, there are a couple of alternate routes you can take to still carefully plan your space:

  • Tape – if you have access to the space before the move, lay masking tape or place pieces of cardboard on the floor for a simple and efficient visual to help start seeing your space take shape.
  • Software – if you do not have access to the space for a taping exercise, try using a digital platform because they can be the most visually helpful and can be accessed remotely if you have the room dimensions with information on doors, windows, etc.
  • Google SketchUp – is a free tool that is easy to learn. You can create floor plans and 3D views for a great visualization.
  • AutoCAD or AutoDesk Revit – the leading architectural tools that require payment but provide unmatched space planning products. The visuals that can be produced through these programs show you the best quality 3D views with precise accuracy.
  • Hire a professional – reach out to an interior designer to ensure that all of your furniture will not only fit but will be placed in the most functional and beautiful way.

2: List Your Existing Furniture

It’s also crucial to take inventory of the pieces of furniture that you have and add this information to your floor plan.

Recording the depth, height, and width is all of the material that you need to know.

This information will be critical for the next “Space Planning” step.

3: Space Planning

Now that you have the necessary information on our room size and existing conditions, you can start to layout the furniture.

Let’s go over a few elements, starting with the furniture in play:

3.1: Must-Have Furniture

To create an ideal bedroom situation, there are certain pieces that are considered ‘must-haves’:

  • Nightstand – a bedside table for storage and allowing for convenient placement of your lamp, reading material, and other essential items.
  • Dresser – for storage, and dressers with a mirror can be used for your beauty routine.
  • Seating – benches, accent chairs, and stools can be used for functionality and decorative purposes as required.

3.2: Space Planning Guidelines

Below are some guidelines that can help you to plan your room space more effectively:

Conceptualize Furniture Placements:

One route is to manually sketch furniture layouts on a plan with a trace paper overlay.

For all physical “base” plans (plans that were created either by hand or printed out) I would highly recommend trace paper since your first attempt is likely not going to be your only attempt.

If your preferred plan option was created digitally in Google SketchUp or AutoCAD, then you can either print these off and trace options on top or create options within that file.

Create at Least Five Room Layout Options:

You will surprise yourself with what you can come up with when you are forced to be creative and think past your first idea.

If your first idea works the best, seeing those other options will make you feel confident and more intentional about your placing.  

Be Precise:

Being able to successfully map out the furniture will mean taking the overall dimensions and adding in the dimensions for the pieces of furniture and even adding in open spaces, or “clearances,” to your plan.

This is easiest, however, if your room dimensions are in inches to match your furniture units.

For example, planning your headboard wall will include adding in a 56” W bed (with headboard) on your 153” W wall.

Knowing that 56” is about one-third of the wall, we can add this into the sketch accordingly.

Then, knowing that 153” – 56” is 97”, we have about 48” on either side of the bed left.

It may take a few run-throughs to really nail it down, so this is where the tracing paper comes in handy.

It also may look messy, but it’s all apart of the process.

Minimum 30″ Path of Travel:

Throughout the space planning process, note that a good clear path of travel in the bedroom is about 30” minimum.

Don’t be afraid to dash in 30 inches in critical areas, such as on each side of the bed, and entering and exiting the room.

Floor Plan With Tracing Paper Guide
Floor Plan With Tracing Paper Guide (custom image by Jennifer Nielsen)

4: Select the Right Furniture

It’s important to find furniture pieces that align with your style, that you can afford, and that fit within your space.

Beyond looking at the dimensions, there is important information that furniture manufacturers are communicating.

Here are some tips and often overlooked details that may help with choosing the right pieces for you:

4.1: Use Reputable Manufacturers

Always look at the section labelled “Details”.

This is often overlooked and may seem like standard information, until you really investigate.

Avoid furniture that has vague descriptions like “Solid + Manufactured Wood”.

By leaving out the details of what materials are actually used in the piece, manufacturers can get away with selling poor quality goods.

Instead, look for details such as, “Solid Mahogany + Walnut Veneer”.

Notice the imagery quality and make sure there are photos of furniture details included.

This ensures the manufacturers have nothing to hide.

4.2 Look at the Bed Frame Installation PDF

Review the bed frame installation PDF and make sure that slats are lining the entire length of the bed, instead of 3 or 4 slats along the bottom.

This will ensure stability and also a comfortable night sleep.

Make sure the box size is not larger than the doorways in your home.

Double-check that the headboard installation and height will work with your wall space.

4.3: Specify Your Nightstand Requirements

Think about how you actually use a nightstand.

Do you like to have plenty of drawers for journals and self care supplies?

Or do you prefer to have something a little more minimal for a calming feel?

Take a look at not just the width and depth, but also the height.

How does this relate to your mattress height and will it work with the trajectory of your adjustable bed if you’re using one?

A subtle difference here could make a significant impact on the feel of your sleeping area.

5: Place Your Bedroom Furniture Strategically

Below are some guidelines that explain how to place your furniture in your bedroom:

5.1: Beds

Beds should be placed first, and ideally across from the entry door on the opposite wall – or the adjacent wall that is furthest away from that entry if the opposite wall will not work.

This will allow for a nice flow around the room and an ease of access to both sides of the bed.

On the wall, the bed would ideally be placed in the center, but make sure that you have enough room at the entrance of the room and the important 30” min clearance around the sides of the bed.

Luckily, mattress sizes are pretty standard.

Whether you have an existing bed or you’re looking to buy a new bed, these are the typical mattress sizes to help give you a general idea of bed size:

  • Full: 54” W x 75” L
  • Queen: 60” W x 80” L
  • King: 76” W x 80” L

However, adding the headboard into the equation is not as standard.

Do not rely solely on the dimensions above for planning your bed, but rather on the entire bed component.

5.2: Nightstands

Nightstands placed next to the bed should be spaced at least three inches away.

This makes dressing the bed much easier, yet this aspect is something people often neglect when laying out the room.

So make sure to take this into account and avoid spatial conflict.

Nightstands come in all different shapes and sizes, so you may find a small option that works perfectly for you.

It’s good to know, going into that situation, to actually plan a 30” “clearance” on the side of the bed for a clear path of travel.

With a smaller nightstand, you may be tempted to place the nightstand near the adjacent wall, with the bed only inches away.

Factoring in the clearance before hand with help avoid this issue.

5.3: Dressers

A dresser, either low or high, can be placed opposite the bed.

Usually filled with items that we use on a daily basis, most people are accessing this piece often.

The best placement is on the wall, opposite the bed.

This creates an ideal situation for easy access, without any of the occupants having to regularly encircle the bed to get to it.

Placing a dresser directly across from the bed would be the most ideal position if you choose to put a television on top.

A dresser could also be a nice alternate to a nightstand.

Typically smaller in size, a dresser as a nightstand can add character while being highly functional.

If you are the type of person that does not need nightstand storage space, then utilizing your dresser could definitely be an option for you!

Make sure that you have enough space on the wall to hold the dresser, bed, and additional nightstand on the other side while not conflicting with closet door swings and clearances.

5.4: Seating

A form of soft seating, either a lounge chair, loveseat, or bench is a wonderful addition to a bedroom.

Since the bedroom is typically a serene space, the option to sit and read or take a quiet pause in the morning is perfect.

A lounge chair or loveseat, depending on the size space that you have, will work great in the corner that is opposite the bed and opposite the door.

If your bedroom door is in the center of a wall, the best option would be to place the soft seating on the opposite corner from any windows so that you have the option to look out and not experience any drafts.

A bench would be ideal at the foot of the bed and can be used for a quick seat to put on socks and shoes.

5.5: Lamps

To accompany the lounge chair or loveseat, a floor lamp or small side table with a lamp would provide a perfect reading or writing situation and an overall cozy feel.

Make sure that you have enough room for the additional side table, if that interests you.

Another option for a writing surface, here, would be a “C”-table.

This is a simple, “C” shaped table that is created for flexibility so that you can move it around and pull up right to your seat.

5.6: Desks

In a time of increased remote working, if you find that you either would like or need desk space in the bedroom, placing a desk across from the bed or on an adjacent wall is a great option.

You have flexibility here because the only place that you really don’t want a desk is on the headboard wall.

Sleep disorders may occur with a working space in close proximity, and in sight, of a bed due to the fact that your brain has a hard time switching out of work mode.

Try to avoid this by facing your desk on a wall that is completely out of sight of your sleeping area or by following the rules of Feng Shui.

Alternatively, if space is a real issue then you can opt for a fold-up Murphy bed with a desk or workstation.

5.7: Mirrors

Large and full length mirrors are a common item in bedrooms.

Ideally, you want to place this on a wall spot with a long, clear path of travel leading up to it for optimal use.

Ensuring there is clearance will allow the user to gain that full-length reflection.

6: Hang Wall Art and Add Other Final Touches

With your furniture arranged and in place, it now becomes easier to align the art work.

This can also be a part of the space planning phase, as you would create ‘elevations’, or ‘vertical wall plans’ and apply the same steps and tools for planning out anything on the wall.

This could be helpful in planning out headboards with wall art above and dresser heights with TVs mounted on top.

There are a few avenues for wall art in a bedroom, but here are some guidelines to keep in mind.

Guidelines for art and accessories in the bedroom:

6.1: Keep the Art Serene

As most of this process goes, selecting pieces that maintain a calm mood is important in transitioning to a quality night’s sleep.

6.2: Keep the Art and Accessories Minimal

A key to maintaining serenity is removing a lot of art, accessories, and additional clutter that may cause the mind to be overly engaged before bed.

In artwork, refrain from doing a larger collage wall and stick to groupings of three artworks of related content, or less.

Ideally, above the headboard, a larger piece of artwork that contains peaceful imagery and colors will help to bring a calm anchor point to the room.

Additionally, placing a small piece above the lounge chair in the corner helps to create an auxiliary anchor and tie that seating area together.

6.3: Phone chargers

Phone chargers can bring a powerful energy into the bedroom so finding a thoughtful home for these items – possibly within a drawer or behind a dresser – helps to balance out the technological force.

6.4: Area Rugs

Area rugs are common in bedrooms and are helpful to layer in a more comfortable feel.

If you decide an area rug fits if your space, the best tip is to make sure that the rug is large enough to fit two-thirds of the way under your bed and at least 24”- 30” around the sides of your bed.

Your rug does not need to go under the nightstand and should lay comfortably in your path of travel.

Conclusion: Planning is Critical

Arranging a square bedroom starts with the crucial first step: planning.

Making sure that you document the existing space helps to build a comprehensive floor plan.

Adding in your new and/or existing furniture, with scaled dimensions, will avoid many installation stresses, furniture returns, and budget issues when planned out prior to the final placement.

While arranging these pieces on paper beforehand, keep in mind the importance of serenity.

While laying out your bed, dresser, and adding in some soft seating, remember to provide clear paths around your room.

Start with placing your bed on the opposite wall of the door, nightstands at the sides, and a dresser across, while also being thoughtful about where to place furniture that may interfere with your sleep such as desks being out of sight of the bed.

Incorporate calming art and décor while also removing additional clutter to maintain the utmost peaceful place for a night of healthy sleep.

Related: Should Bedroom and Bathroom Décor Match?


Image Licencing and Attribution

Main image: ‘Chocolate Bedroom’ by George J Portfolio – used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.

Floor plans: custom images designed by Jennifer Nielsen (a professional interior designer).

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