How to Design Your Home Online (for free!) with Make Room

Moving is a fresh start. You’re in a new city, maybe you have a new job, you’re surrounded by new people and, of course, you’re in a new home. Unpacking can be quite the chore, but decorating should be fun!

Urban Barn, a contemporary furniture store in Canada, offers the chance for you to “be your own interior decorator” with their Make Room tool. The Make Room allows you to map out your entire living space using just the click of a mouse. Depending on what you need – a single room or an entire floor plan – this instrument serves as a great guide to interior decorating.

You have two options to get started once you enter the site. You can choose an example design from the list below:

  • Two bedroom apartment
  • Condo – living and dining rooms
  • Dining room
  • Living room
  • One bedroom apartment

Or, you can start from scratch from one of nine different room profiles.

The five example design options are fully furnished with floor designs and décor included. I chose to start with the example one bedroom.






This is what the floor plan looked like before I touched it. Urban Barn provided me with a complete example of how they could furnish a one bedroom apartment. It took me a little while to get the hang of everything, but after playing around for a while, I figured out how to tweak the design to match the floor plan of my actual apartment. Then I was able to place furniture in a way that matched the design and layout of my home.







Big difference right? I was able to change the flooring from hardwood to carpeting, move and change furniture sizes and colors, and reposition walls, doors and windows. This isn’t the exact floor plan of my apartment, but I was able to adjust the wall structure enough to get the main idea.

What’s great about this site is that it allows you to input specific window and door types so you can get as accurate as possible with your blue print. Plus, since you are not likely to be buying every piece of furniture from Urban Barn, the Make Room tool has the option to choose standard furniture structures that you may already have. For example, the red sectional couch, stove, counters, refrigerator, bathroom fixtures, and the TVs shown in “my” apartment aren’t actually Urban Barn products. The only actual Urban Barn product is the bed.

The other great feature is that you  also have the ability to input electrical outlets so you can logically map out where you electronics and appliances should go. When I first found my apartment, I’d spend hours online looking at the floor plan, trying to decide where my big furniture would look best. But when I got there, I had to completely rethink my plan to avoid running wires from wall to wall. This feature would have helped me avoid this.

Personally, I felt was easier to start with the pre-done floor plan as opposed to starting fresh. It was helpful to have a starting point even if I did end up changing it completely. For the purposes of this post, however, I did try to start fresh with this floor plan:






But, I ended up getting frustrated pretty quickly. I think something like this could come in handy if you starting from scratch in a specific room. Before selecting the shape of the room, the Make Room tool does give you the opportunity to enter dimensions to match the space you will be working with.

Even though I’m not in the market for new furniture (yet), I am very impressed with the site. For those of you who are moving or redecorating, it’s a great way to visualize your new space before doing any heavy lifting or making large purchases. As an added benefit, if you know where you are going to place your furniture before the movers get there, it will decrease their unloading time and your costs.

Overall, I like this site for planning. But, nothing is perfect. Before you enter site there is a disclaimer stating that prices and size scales may not be completely accurate. Whenever you use a design tool like this, be sure to check and recheck the measurements of not only the space you are working with, but the furniture you are moving or purchasing as well. The last thing you want is a couch that can’t fit through your doorway, let alone sit right in your living room!

By the way, now that I am a pro at the Make Room, take a look at my dream living room. Ahhh, someday.