Fundamentals to Keep In Mind When Creating Room Layout and Functionality

Fundamentals to Keep In Mind When Creating Room Layout and Functionality

Architecture
Interior Design
By Alex Mikayelyan November 30, 2021

The idea of interior design can get anyone excited. We spend a lot of time in places we have little to no control over, such as outdoors, at work, or in school. So, having your own little sandbox to customize as you please is a great opportunity to get creative and channel your interior designer and room planner. But as with any type of design, if you get into it without understanding the core principles of the craft, you may not end up with something you consider cozy or attractive.

Luckily, there are some general rules, principles, and tips you can follow provided by professional designers to help you find your voice in interior design. These fundamental tips do not require years of studying design or working as a professional. All it takes is the desire to express yourself through the design, layout, and aesthetic of your interior, as well as a little free time.

Consider Your Lifestyle

Form Follows Function When It Comes to Room Layout

Form Follows Function When It Comes to Room Layout

Before you start moving furniture around and picking the colors of the walls, there are a few things you need to take into consideration. A good place to start is to think about the kind of lifestyle you will be partaking in within the premises of that particular room. For example: is your living room layout for the whole family, where the adults and children get together to play, watch movies, do homework, or enjoy each other’s company? Or perhaps it’s a more adult-oriented room mostly used for guests and adult gatherings.

Each of these lifestyles and uses requires its own room layout and interior design to make it work. For example, you don’t want to have elegant couches with contemporary and minimalist decor completely covered in plastic toys that the children left behind. Or perhaps you don’t want your guests to sit among piles of your work materials such as documents, laptops, and printers. Keep in mind that any of these lifestyles can and will work in the living room, however, each one will require a unique furniture layout, various room decor ideas, and a generally different vibe. So first decide on how you’re going to use this room, who’s going to use it when it’s going to be used, and only then consider the room design layout.

Physical Flow

Why Physical Flow Is So Important When Creating Room Layout

Why Physical Flow Is So Important When Creating Room Layout

Another major element to consider when you plan a room layout is flow. You regularly walk through rooms to get to other areas of your house. And these rooms don’t have to be liminal spaces such as hallways or entryways. You walk through your kitchen to leave through the backdoor. You walk through the living room to get to the mudroom. And if you have a Jack and Jill bathroom, you might even walk through a bathroom to go from one bedroom to another. Aside from being spaces for partaking in various activities, rooms are also transitional spaces, so you need to take flow into account.

A good way to understand the physical flow of the room (“physical” is specified as there is such a thing as visual flow as well), is by creating a topdown sketch of your room, with all the entryways and furniture marked on the map. To have a smooth flow throughout the room, try to arrange the room in such a way that the shortest path from one entryway to the other is not restricted or blocked. Having to squeeze between couches and coffee tables will obstruct movement and will restrict the flow of the room. To have a completely smooth flow throughout the room, the route from one entryway of the room to the other must be clear and ideally as short as possible.

Remember: getting the flow right can be a major determinant in how serene your room is and how easily you can relax in the space. When everything around you is cluttered and messy, it’s not only a visual eyesore but also a physical one. For a general guide on how to keep flow throughout the room, you may even learn about the feng shui living room layout and how some homeowners are designing their interiors based on ancient wisdom. It’s also a great opportunity to work on the visual flow of the room, be it by opening up the floor plan to allow for more breathing room, to sectioning off different areas of the room for more privacy and extra functionality. 

Furniture and Functionality

How Your Furniture and the Layout Impacts Your Room

How Your Furniture and the Layout Impacts Your Room

What makes furniture such a unique interior design element is how it combines form with function. The form is obviously important with any piece of furniture. You most likely wouldn’t put a rich brown leather Chesterfield couch in a Scandinavian interior (though nothing stops you from trying this out). But aside from style and design, furniture plays a huge role in the functionality of your room. Consider the aforementioned point about lifestyle. If you’re designing a living room for the whole family, putting in a lavish Chesterfield couch won’t do much. It’s not very comfortable for children, it’s not easy to move around in case you want to get the toys that rolled under it, and it’s not designed to be sat on for long periods of time.

By putting in a leather couch in your living room furniture layout, you’re making a statement. This statement is what dictates how the room is used. It won’t be used as a room for napping or lounging, but rather as a place where you and your adult company can sit down, relax, and have a conversation. On the other hand, if you have a very soft, plush sofa set, you’re statement is that this is a room for the whole family to feel free and relax however they see fit.

Another great example of how furniture creates functionality is the dining room table. These tables come in a myriad of shapes and sizes. But were you to choose one for your dining room set you’d need to ask an important question: what kind of events is this table and subsequently this room going to host?

If you’re looking for a more lavish dining room that denotes regency and luxury, you may go for a long, rectangular table, to give everyone plenty of room to sit across from one another and converse over dinner. But if you’re looking for something more family-oriented and intimate, a round table brings everyone together and invites everyone to participate in the same conversation equally. This changes the dynamic of the room, taking it from regent to something more rustic and cozy.  

Focal Point

How to Work With Focal Points

How to Work With Focal Points

In any kind of design, be it painting, sculpting, or in this case, interior designing, there needs to be a focal point. This is the point where the eyes are immediately drawn to and one could say, is the ethos of the room’s design as a whole. The focal point should say a lot about the room and needs to be emphasized to establish it as the center of attention. Different rooms have their own focal points. A living room may have the fireplace as the focal point. If you have a brick oven in the kitchen, then that also works perfectly as a center of attention. Even bathrooms can make use of a lavish vanity or a bathing unit as a focal point.

But this doesn’t mean that yours needs to be the same. If you have a living room layout with a fireplace but you’d rather put more focus on a big painting hung from one of the walls, you can arrange the furniture in such a way that the painting is always in the line of sight. It is also important to keep in mind, that the focal point should not be the only focus of your room. Some interiors can be designed to have two focal points. Many homeowners make use of these living room ideas to divide a room into two areas. For example, one focal point may be the fireplace where individuals can sit back and lounge, whereas the other focal point in the same room could be the TV which can be used as an entertainment center.

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Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan

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