It would be impossible to cover all aspects of room layout in Interior Design right here, it would take a full course in the subject and a library of good books to fully explain all the theories, techniques and approaches involved. What we can do is look at the basics of room layout focussing on the function of the room and the activities that take place there in order to meet the needs of the potential user, a beginner's guide to interior design room layout if you will. As each room/space functions differently and involves different activities we have created a separate section for each space, although there will be some overlap with generally accepted rules appearing on a number of occasions.
Select the room you wish to learn interior design layout tips about from the menu below.Kitchen | Living Room | Dining Room | Bedroom | Bathroom | Home Office
The kitchen is normally one of the most used rooms in a house and an efficient kitchen can be key to having a happy life. But what makes an efficient kitchen? You start with the work triangle. The kitchen work triangle is one of the most researched and applied ergonomic principles around and is the centerpiece of most kitchen layouts. The three points in the trinagle are the Refrigerator, the sink and the oven.The idea of the kitchen work triangle are to position these three work points the most efficient distance apart with minimal traffic through the work zone between them.
If you place these too far away from each other you waste a lot of steps while preparing food while if they are too close to each other you create cramped kitchen workspace which is uncomfortable to use.The rules to the work triangle are...
- Each leg of the triangle should be between 4ft and 9ft
- The total of all three legs should be at least 12ft and no more than 26ft
- Nothing, such as cabinets, presses, storage units or islands, should intersect a leg of the work triangle
- Household traffic, such as pathways between rooms, should not flow through the work triangle
Aside from the kitchen work triangle the other key consideration when designing a kitchen is storage. More than any other household space the kitchen requires a large amount of storage space and depending on the style of the design how you use/create space for storage will have a large bearing on how the space is laid out. Workspace, such as countertops is also an important factor to consider in kitchen design and it is directly related to storage space as it is usually floor cabinets which provide the countertop workspace that we use. So while placing all the cabinets and units together on one wall would provide excellent storage there would be little or no worktop space.
The living room is another much used room and how it is laid out will depend on what type of person you are or people you are designing for. For example will the television be the focal point of the room? or will it be the fireplace? If it is a family then perhaps they all like to sit together in the evenings and watch T.V. or perhaps if it is a couple then maybe they would like to cosy up in front of the fire? These are the types of questions that need to be asked and answered when laying out a living room space. The space needs to be personal to the people using it so it requires a people specific approach.
I will break this approach down into two simple stages. First choose a suitable focal point and second break the space into sub sections based around a specific activity. So first things first, the focal point, what is a focal point? A focal point is a space or an object around which other spaces or objects are orientated. So if it was a television, for example, the seating will face towards it so people can watch it while seated, simple! Other suggested focal points are...
- a fireplace, preferably ornate or bespoke
- a window with interesting/scenic views
- a sound system for music lovers
- large doorways into other interesting spaces/outdoor spaces
- a piece of art like a paiting or sculpture
- a coffee table to sit around and chat
Secondly consider creating activity specific sub sections or 'mini spaces' within the living room/space. Whether designing fpr yourself or others always try to imagine the activities that are most likely to take place in that room and create a space to accomodate it. These may be things like...
- a group of chairs around a coffee table to create a discussion space
- two armchairs either side of a fireplace for a couple to relax and chat
- a single armchair beside a lamp where one could relax and read a book
- a sofa in front of the TV where a a group can sit and watch a movie
- a collection of bean bags on a large floor rug where kids could play
The traditional idea of the formal dining room is changing with modern lifestyles. The dining room is no longer the rarely used special occassion space it once was and it is becoming more and more popular for people to throw diner parties at home for friends and family. As lifestyle trends go, open plan living has been one of the biggest departures from the norm in recent times. In smaller homes and apartments it is common for the dining space to become part of the open living area and kitchen-dining or living-dining spaces are even more common than the traditional stand alone dining room.
In any open plan area you have to decide how to use and divide the space for different functions. Done in the right way, it can be a very sociable way to live because when you haven't got walls, you're free to style your open space in any way you like. It then becomes 'your' space as opposed to just 'a' space. In an opne plan kitchen-dining or living-dining space keep the following factors in mind.
- Ventilation -fit a decent extractor to fan avoid smells drfiting from the kitchen space
- Noise - maximize soft furnishings and minimize hard surfaces to reduce noise levels. Also it's often wise to partition areas to create quiet zones.
- Storage - with fewer walls there's less storage space. Think laterally and use every available opportunity for storage to maximize storage while still retaining the minimalist look. Co-ordinating the colour of the furniture and the walls will unite the room making it look more spacious.
- Pathways - position furniture in a way that creates obvious paths from one space to another.
In terms of the physical dining table itself, a round table works best for informal dinners, as there's no head of the table. But if you'll usually seat more than 6, avoid large circular tables as they will take up too much space and it becomes difficult to converse across the table. Similarly, square tables really only work for four people. In the end the traditional rectangular dining table is best. Whatever shape you do choose, be sure to check that there's enough space to pull out the chairs and to move around it comfortably. If space is very limited consider a corner table or a small table that fits into a bay window or other recess.
Of all the rooms in the house your bedroom is yours and your comfort should be the primary concern, after all we spend on approximately one third of our lives in bed! With this in mind we begin with the bed. The bed head should be placed against a wall, allowing for access from both sides. Don't forget to plan for bedside tables too, these should have room for reading lamps, books and magazines, and other comforts. The position of the bed also depends on the shape of the room and where the windows are, if possible position the bed where it will get direct sunshine in the mornings (to help you wake) but where it gets no direct sunshine in the evenings (to allow you to sleep). Of course if this is not possible an alarm clock and some black out blinds will solve both those issues! It is nice, though, to work with the natural cycle of things if possible.
It is also worth mentioning that just because you're in your bedroom doesn't mean you're going to sleep. What many people want from their bedrooms is somewhere that they can go, shut the door, sit down or lie in bed and just generally enjoy a space that's calm, comfortable and private. You may want to be able to see the sky, trees or any view out of the window.
Next you need to plan where to put your storage units for clothes as after all the bedroom is where we get dressed and undressed every day.Firstly ensure that wardrobe doors and drawers can be easily opened without hitting the bed or other furniture. Where storage space is limited consider open shelving and beds with integrated storage. Mirrors and plain, light colours will also help to make smaller spaces feel more spacious.
The current trend with bathrooms has been toward larger, more luxurious bathrooms where we can relax, pamper and feel revatalised. The first part of creating a distinctive bathroom is to find a focal point for your bathroom as you would with a living room. Freestanding tubs from antique claw foot tubs to new bathtubs in sculptural shapes provide great focal points as do large ornate mirrors over the sink.
If you have the space, define different zones in your layout. You can create defined areas for bathing, dressing, grooming or lounging. The following are a few of the minimum measurements to keep in mind as you brainstorm your layout...
- Leave a minimum of 12 inches (30 cm) between a bathtub or shower and the other fixtures like toilets or sinks
- In bathroom terms larger, free standing, plumbed-in pieces are referred to as fixtures while taps, shower heads, handles, etc. are referred to as fittings
- A toilet needs a minimum of 4 feet, 6 inches from the wall it's mounted against to the opposite wall and a minimum side to side measurement of 30 inches (76 cm)
- A minimum of 6 feet (1.8 m) of counter space is necessary to accommodate 2 sinks. Also make sure to allow at least 28 inches (71 cm) centered at each sink for a person to stand comfortably and have plenty of elbow room.
- To take off the cold edge, that the ceramic tiles, fixtures and fittings can create furnish your bathroom for relaxation by dressing the windows and filling the bathroom with candles and unique trinkets (without cluttering)
Whether you need a full time office to run your business or an efficient corner to pay bills, answer emails and lay out the family schedules, the Home Office design will help you boost your creativity and productivity. Finding a working area within your home can be difficult, but whether you need a full-time office, hobby workshop or a bill-paying spot, a dedicated space makes life so much easier. If you're working from home consider converting a loft, garage or basement room but, on a smaller scale, you might give up a spare bedroom, or create some space within the bedroom, hall or landing.
Locating the office in a dedicated room, such as a spare bedroom or attic, gives you the luxury of privacy and being able to shut the door on your work at the end of the day. You won't have to worry about furniture blending in to an existing scheme, so can take your pick from the wide variety of styles and designs available. A good tip is to position the desk so that direct sunlight doesn't fall on to the computer screen as that will be an immediate annoyance.
Whatever the nature of your work you're bound to need a desk, chair, and storage, plus a computer and printer. Ideally, you'll require an area of around 180 x 70cm to work in, plus room for a chair, but space-saving solutions such as corner and hideaway desks make it perfectly possible to do your job in a far smaller space. Whatever your budget the one thing you shouldn't skimp on is a good office chair, as you'll likely be spending a great deal of time at your desk. Finally, remember to keep the home in your Home Office Design. Extend your personality into your unique home office, after all it is 'your' office and it is all about creating a space that you are comfortable working in.
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