Adobe Illustrator can create precise shapes so it’s perfect for planning a room layout, especially for a kitchen or bathroom remodel.
Planning the layout of a room is an important step in furnishing and decorating a room. It is absolutely essential in planning a room where the furnishings and fixtures are permanent, like a kitchen or a bathroom. There are many tools available to help in planning a room layout, from simple graph paper and cutting out shapes to professional architecture programs. Since I’m not a professional, and I’m very budget-conscious, I need to use something on the less expensive side to plan my rooms. But I’m more comfortable creating with a computer mouse than a pencil and paper. That leaves me just a few options.
Ikea.com has a free kitchen-planning program to help its customers plan their layouts. The National Kitchen and Bath Association offers a very similar program. I found them both very frustrating. It was hard for me to move things around and try out different possibilities. So I turned to a program that I’m already familiar with, Adobe Illustrator, and it is much simpler to use. Illustrator is great for making shapes and measuring exact sizes. It is the perfect tool to plan a room layout.
Measure the Room
In planning our kitchen, I need accurate measurements of everything from ceiling height to where the outlets are located, so I measured everything to a quarter of an inch.
First, I drew a sketch of our kitchen with a pencil and paper. It’s not to scale, but it has every part of the kitchen on it, including pipes and gas lines. Then my husband and I measured everything in our kitchen. Most things we measured multiple times, such as the height from the floor to the ceiling, in several places around the room. Every measurement is on there, even the height of the old cabinets. They won’t matter in the new kitchen, but we wanted to a reference to visualize how the new kitchen will look.
With all the measurements recorded in inches, I was ready to start planning.
How to Create Accurate Rectangles in Illustrator
First, I need to point out that I have an older version of Illustrator, so my screenshots might look a little different from your program. But the tools I use in Illustrator are very basic and easy to find, so it shouldn’t be hard to figure out how to do the same things in your version.
I use the rectangle tool for almost everything in my room layout. You can click on the rectangle tool and free-hand draw a shape, but that doesn’t give the exact measurements I need for planning kitchen cabinets. Instead, after selecting the rectangle from the polygon tool, I click once on the page, and a window pops up asking for the measurements of my rectangle. This way I can make each shape as precise as I need it to be.
But it gets better. Remember, a computer is really a glorified calculator, so let it do some of the math for you. I make my rooms to the scale of 1 foot = 1 inch. So every time I type in a measurement I took in inches, I add a /12 (divide by 12) after it. For example, my kitchen is 155 inches by 116 inches, so to create the rectangle for the room I enter width: 155/12 and height: 116/12. And Illustrator does the math and makes a rectangle that is about 13 inches by 9 and a half inches.
If you want to draw lines instead of rectangles, you can do the same thing with the line segment tool. Select the line segment tool, click on the document, and enter your measurement.
How to Build the Room in Adobe Illustrator
Now, you might have realized that my 13X9 inch rectangle of a room is not going to fit onto a standard-sized paper. I usually just ignore the paper and build somewhere else on the document. As long as I’m not going to print anything, it doesn’t matter whether or not it’s on the designated paper. I do, however, like to see the ruler (View>Rulers>Show Ruler) and add a grid to the whole document (View>Show Grid).
Once I had the basic outline of my room, I added all the permanent details, like outlets, doors, and windows. Then I also added some measurements for easier reference.
Once the top-down view of my room was drawn, I selected everything and copied it. I used this copy to create a lighting plan. You can see where we plan to install our recessed lighting, and how far each light should shine.
Building the Side Views of the Room Layout
Once the top-down plan was done, it was time to work on the side views, so I could plan the shapes and sizes of my kitchen cabinets. I make a rectangle for each wall of the room. My kitchen is U-shape, so there are only 3 walls. I added the permanent features, like outlets and windows, then started building rectangular cabinets.
For the east wall, I began by centering the sink cabinet under the window. Then added the dishwasher and the rest of the cabinets. I used Ikea’s website to get some standard cabinet sizes because I don’t want to create a 28-inch cabinet and then learn that I can’t buy that size. I spent a lot of time creating and deleting rectangles, playing around with the room layout until I came up with something I liked. Then I drew free-hand doors and drawers and everything else because it’s the cabinet box measurements that matter, but I still wanted to see what the whole thing will look like.
I built the other two walls, and then made variations of each by copying and pasting the entire wall drawing. Below are three variations I made for the south wall. I’m still not quite sure which variations I like better, but I did learn that I need to figure out what size range I want. I made variations with two different sizes.
Hopefully, my drawings aren’t too hard to understand. The white rectangles are cabinets. The grey parts are where cabinets from the other wall will connect. The black rectangles are appliances. The copper-colored rectangle represents our current range hood that is solid copper (I really hope we can reuse it in our new kitchen).
Using My Room Layout to Plan the Kitchen
I don’t plan on showing this layout to anyone (except my readers!). It’s mostly for me to plan how I want our new kitchen to look. Drawing rectangles is fast and easy with Adobe Illustrator, so I can change things quickly to try out new ideas. Here’s everything together. I like to see the big picture sometimes.
Once I decide on my final layout, I will create that in Ikea’s kitchen planner. Then I can print and show it to Ikea’s kitchen planning service, and even show it to Lowes’ and Home Depot’s kitchen planning associates.
One step closer to our newly remodeled kitchen! We’ve already planned the materials and features we want in our kitchen. You can read about kitchen choices in A Kitchen Planning Guide. And we’ve looked at several DIY kitchens remodels including this Charming Ikea Kitchen. Next up is building a small wall near the refrigerator. I’ll post that when it’s done.