Designing Efficient Space
Space planning is a Fundamental Element of the Interior Design Process. It starts with an in-depth analysis of how space is to be used. A Designer draws up a plan that defines the zones of the space and the activities that will take place in those zones. Then, the space plan will also define the circulation patterns that show how people will move through space. The plan is finished by adding details of all the furniture, equipment and hardware placement.
A Programme data gathered during the Design Process lays the foundation for space planning. The Design Programme identifies the proposed function and the preferred mood and style of space.
Space planning is an essential step in the interior design process. Without proper space planning, you risk creating a design that is not optimal and that doesn’t work well for your client. The key to a successful design job starts with determining the purpose of the space being designed. As a professional designer, it is your job to ask all the right questions and gather all the necessary information to plan out a functional space that suits your client’s needs.
Your in-depth analysis together with basic design principles will help you create a well-balanced, easily navigable and beautiful space.
Selecting new furniture isn’t easy. Sure you have to think about style and colour, but you also have to give some serious thought to dimensions and proper space planning. If a piece of furniture isn’t the right size, you’ll be reminded of that fact every time you bang your shin on your large-scale coffee table or watch your guests squeeze together on a too-tiny couch.
So, what can you do to avoid buying the wrong size? Pretend that you’re buying shoes, and before you make a purchase, decide if the furniture will fit.
“Many clients come to us thinking that they need more space, more storage, more of everything! We try to gently guide them toward simpler solutions.”
Here in this post, we will be sharing a few space planning tips for interior designing of the home.
SO, ARE YOU READY? HERE WE GO!
It’s really important to ask yourself a few very basic questions for space planning and interior designing.
- How do you want to utilize your room?
- How do you want it to look at the end?
- How much money do you want to spend initially?
Once you can answer these three basic questions, space planning could become much easier and you will have a wonderful plan in place that can be handed over to an interior designer for further consultation and execution of the project.
So, all in all, there are three important factors; Utilization, Look and Budget. Let’s dive deeper and understand it well.
DETERMINING PURPOSE AND DEFINING ZONES
First things first – even before you start designing, you’ll have to define zones depending on the purpose of the space.
Ask your client what the area will primarily be used for? For example, if you are designing a kitchen, ask your clients how often they cook, how many people cook, if they normally cook together, if they have kids, if they prefer eating at the kitchen island or if they would rather have a dedicated dining area, what kind of storage they need, what appliances they need, etc…
Asking these types of questions will help you determine the main purpose of the room, making it easier for you to define specific zones.
Arguably, the most important among space allocation considerations is a functional analysis of the space. The functional use of the space can be graphically illustrated. Typically, homes have four zones: Social zones (living, drawing, lobby); Work zones (kitchen, utility, office); Private zones (bedrooms, bathrooms); and Storage zones (cupboards, closets and cabinets). There are normally functional inter-relationships between zones, certain zones have an adjacency relationship to one another. A kitchen is traditionally sited close to the dining area and bedrooms are typically grouped around a shared bathroom. Other zones may overlap – the kitchen-diner or ‘great room’ is an increasingly popular feature of modern homes. The space-planning process recognises which areas and functions are to be interrelated; that is to say, in a well-designed space, activities should flow smoothly and effectively from one zoned area into another.
MAKE A MOOD BOARD
Mood boards are creative tools used by most designers, from Fashion to Interiors. A Mood board is a visual story that is used to inspire a design team or to explain to a client a certain design concept. Mood boards can be created from almost anything. They should be a considered representation of your research and taste. Look at the objects, photographs, cuttings, paint chips, fabrics and wallpaper swatches that you have collected. A favourite colour scheme and style will begin to emerge. Once the mood board is finalised, use it as a constant reference throughout the decorating process. Mood boards can be made digitally or hand-made!
MAKE A MATERIAL BOARD
On a large board, layout the reference materials you have gathered and considered how they look together. Play with scale, proportion and colour on the board and try to find a harmonious combination. To do this, you can enlarge or reduce the size of specific items by using a colour photocopier. Consider the colours that will be used most prominently in the room, for walls and floors for example, and try to display smaller pieces against these backdrop colours. Now try to visualise the proportion of colour and pattern in your chosen room. This may take some imagination, so take the mood board into the room to help. Professional interior designers will often include a sketch of the intended final layout on a mood board to help the client visualise the result. Try it yourself!! (Collecting small piece of material samples like laminates, fabric, wood, wallpapers, paint sheets etc… are a very good idea for a material board, it helps the client to understand very well by touching those sample materials.
HOW TO TAKE MEASUREMENTS?
Grab a tape measure and learn the length and width of your room (as well as any existing furniture) so that you know what space you have to work with. Don’t forget alcoves or bump-outs and measure more than once to make sure that you got it right.
CREATE A FLOOR PLAN
The next step is to create a floor plan so that you can plot your furniture placement. Using your measurements from step one, sketch out the room and furniture on grid paper. Try to draw it to scale. Don’t trust yourself? You can use a program or app to create your floor plan and furniture arrangement. Or, try to get as large a piece of paper as possible to make it easy. We suggest getting a large A1/A2 piece of card and some pencils to do this with. You can then erase any mistakes you might make. Draw your space to scale on the piece of paper. Include window, door, built-in cupboards/shelves, and fireplace and lighting placements. If you want to see all the fixtures and features on the plan.
MAKE A BUBBLE DIAGRAM
The way that we like to start a space plan is by roughly drawing out a map of the space and creating a bubble plan. A bubble plan is a simple diagram that will show you what activities take place in the space and the relationship between these activities. For example, in an open plan living area, you might have 3 or more bubbles, 1 showing the kitchen, the other showing the dining area and another one showing the living area. Using bubbles will help you to define these spaces. When you are clear about where the activities are going to happen in the space then you can move on to creating a scale plan.
Diagramming is the process of placing a two or three-dimensional graphical representation of the proposed space on paper. The schematics are refined in stages, from rudimentary bubble diagrams to a finished floor plan, which will form the basis of the blueprints or working drawings.
ALLOWING EASY CIRCULATION
Easy circulation is (or should be) a priority in a home, and it is a major component of space planning. A room cannot be considered functional if navigating it is a hassle. As a designer, you need to make sure there aren’t any obstacles obstructing passageways and that the distance between structures is comfortable enough to walk through or workaround. For example, when designing a kitchen, there are certain measurement guidelines you need to follow in order to provide a seamless experience. The distance between counters, appliances and the sink all have to be measured out before executing your design for optimal results.
MAXIMIZING LIGHTING AND BALANCING COLOUR
Another aspect of proper space planning is maximizing the amount of light in the room. You can do this by adding or replacing windows, or simply by making sure there is sufficient artificial lighting in the space.
If you will be adding windows, make sure they’re facing the right direction to let in as much sunlight as possible (unless the client prefers indirect sunlight). If you are adding artificial lighting, also make sure you layer it to achieve the desired level of brightness.
Depending on the room, you’re designing and the client’s needs, you can opt for ambient lighting, overhead lighting, task lighting, or all of the above. Dimmers come in handy so your client can adjust the brightness as needed.
When considering the colour of a room, first think about, what the room will be used and the activities play in that space. Secondly, consider how both natural and artificial lighting will affect your selected colour across the day and night, given light can alter our colour perception. Finally, consider the size of the space. Interior Designers will often incorporate lighter or brighter colours in smaller spaces to give the illusion of more space. Darker colours can give a powerful dimension to a larger space. Whereas, lighter colours will make the room bigger and spacious. Smart use of colour can make small areas appear larger or open areas appear more defined. Colour can visually support purpose and function, add depth to a small space, add volume to a low space, and provide visual cues for purpose or wayfinding.
PLAN YOUR FURNITURE LAYOUT
When you arrange your virtual furniture using the floor plan, think about both the pieces and the empty space around them. You want to be able to move around the room without tripping over the ottoman and sit down without banging your knees on the coffee table. Check out these clearance guidelines to decide if that couch you love will actually work with your oversized armchair. Also, think about how you will use the piece. Do you need to be able to fit four people on one couch, or would two loveseats work better? Lastly, give some thought to how balanced the room will look. You don’t want it to feel cluttered by squeezing in too much furniture or to make your furniture seem inconsequential by drowning it in too much empty space.
Whether you are designing your bedroom or you are designing the living area or your kitchen, how much space you have and how you would like to utilize them is very important. This is probably the very first question that a consultant would like to know.
If it’s a bedroom, then what size of bed do you need? Do you need a king size Deewan bed or just a double bed to accommodate two people? How many wardrobes do you want in your bedroom? Do you want a book shelve or you have a separate library or reading room?
Similarly, if you are designing your office or a shop, you ought to ask yourself, how many seats you want to create? How many people will be working there? Do you need a showcase or multiple billing counters?
These are some of the relevant questions that one should answer.
AESTHETIC LOOK AND FEEL
Even if utilization is of the highest importance, aesthetics of the space is really important. What’s in it if you don’t feel comfortable at your home when you return from your work? Proper utilization along with aesthetic look and feel is crucial.
To make the space look good and comfortable, you ought to consider proper decorative elements like lights, colour, fabric, furniture etc. And to find some inspiration and design ideas, you may like to check a few interior designing magazines, catalogues of interior professionals, and a furniture manufacturer and so on. It always helps when you know what kind of look and feels you want at the end of the day.
It’s important to realize that designing a commercial space is very different than designing a residential one even though it may not seem like at first. While a home’s interior design focuses on being welcoming and liveable, commercial interior design is focused on functionality and the practical side of things without ignoring style. The aesthetics are very important because they bring financial gain in all sorts of creative ways. In other words, a commercial interior designer has to be able to balance these elements perfectly and all while also prioritizing safety.
BUDGET FOR INTERIOR DESIGNING
Interior designing does not need to be a costly affair. You can be as creative by spending less on costly decorative elements like lights and premium paintings. When you have lots of money and sufficient budget you can go for premium products. But at the same time, you can spend less and still make your space look good.
Have a budget in mind and discuss it all with the Interior Designer who can help you plan and execute your project according to your budget.
After populating your floor plan with existing furniture and potential purchases, it’s time to see how the layout works in your actual space. Considering a larger dining table? Put a piece of cardboard in that bigger dimension on top of your existing table. And don’t forget the importance of furniture height! Another consideration is how furniture pieces relate to each other vertically.
GET IT HOME
Now that you have decided which pieces to buy, double-check to make sure you’ll be able to get them into the room (and the house). How wide are your doorways and stairwells? Imagine the disappointment of finding that perfect piece, buying it, waiting weeks for delivery, and then not being able to fit it through the door.
Interior designing of home is not done now and then. Interior designing is something that you do once and then continue adding or replacing decorative elements when needed. So spend some time and find out the core objective, collect some ideas for inspiration to look and feel and allocate a budget to achieve it all.
How do you plan your space for interior designing?