Designing your home? Something that's easy to overlook is traffic flow — that is, the ease with which you can move around the space. Traffic flow is essential to consider when designing a functional layout for your home. In fact, with space planning, it is recommended to always prioritise the flow of movement. In this blog post, we discuss the top tips on how to optimise your home’s space planning for smooth flow. So, let’s get started!
Assess Your Current Layout and Needs
Look around your home for areas that get congested frequently — and figure out the reason(s) behind the congestion. For example, a piece of furniture may be placed in the way, or there may be clutter blocking out the pathways.
Also, think about your goals for the space. Do you need a workstation for productivity or a seating area for relaxation? How many people will use the space — and how will they interact? Jotting down the goals you have for the space can help guide your space planning for optimal traffic flow.
Consider Open-Plan Layouts
If you have non-load bearing walls unnecessarily separating the space, consider knocking them down! This is because doing so creates an open-floor plan — and these create a sense of spaciousness as well as seamless flow between different areas of the home. This helps traffic to move freely around the home (without obstacles/walls obstructing movement).
Strategically Place Your Furniture
Placing your furniture is an integral part of space planning — and doing it correctly greatly affects the traffic flow of your space. Here’s how you can optimise your furniture layout for traffic flow:
Measure your space (including dimensions of the walls, windows, outlets, and other features). You may also want to draw a rough sketch for a better idea of what goes where when deciding where to place your furniture.
When positioning your furniture, consider the basic principles of layout. This includes balance, scale, and having a focal point. For example, choose a focal point in your living room (here's how) and place furniture around it. You also want to consider proportions; for example, if your hallway is narrow, make sure the size of the console you place there is small.
Make sure to leave enough space between the furniture pieces and walls so there is enough room for easy movement. You also want to arrange the furniture according to its purpose, so it has enough lighting and storage suited to your needs.
Consider multifunctional furniture pieces; this makes sure you can provide room for storage while saving space.
Experiment with different furniture layouts to find the one that best works for your space; here are ideas for living room furniture layouts for inspiration. You can do this by physically moving around pieces (or use a layout app to visualise scenarios) — and pick the one that allows optimal traffic flow.
Leverage Area Rugs and Lighting
Area rugs and lighting can be used to ‘guide’ traffic flow in your home. But how?
Rugs define specific areas within a space. For example, place a rug under your dining table in an open-floor plan. Make sure the large is rug enough so that when the chairs are pulled out, they remain on the rug. Such placement not only defines the area and gives it a sense of purpose but also guides people around the table. This makes sure people don’t bump into the chairs or invade the area designated for the dining table when walking by. So, rugs can help you visually (and functionally) define spaces in your home.
Similarly, strategic lighting helps draw attention to walkways — and hence, highlights the natural flow of the room. Among other lighting ideas for walkways, you can install pendant lights and floor lamps for illumination; doing so can encourage movement along these paths.
Think About Existing Traffic Patterns
Observe the natural traffic patterns in your home (where your family members walk along the most). You can then work on pathways that align with these patterns, making sure they’re unobstructed. This may mean repositioning certain items to clear away these natural walkways.
Space planning for traffic flow isn’t a one-time thing — you have to regularly declutter your home to keep it effective. This is because, no matter how well they’ve been planned, cluttered spaces can hinder traffic flow. So, to enhance the ease of movement in your home, invest in storage solutions and keep unnecessary items tucked away.
Struggling to optimise the flow and layout of your space? Book one of our Space Planning Experts to design a floor plan that defines the exact placement, orientation and size of each item, and ensures that your space is fully optimised for you, your lifestyle, and everyone who will use the space.