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Spacial Planning: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Efficient Spaces

Updated: Apr 16, 2023


While each interior design project is unique to its own requirements, there are some basic principles that apply to every project you take up, including important aspects like spacial planning.  Being a fundamental element of interior design, properly planning a space helps cater to all the critical project details from the highest level (like the major functions of a space) down to the smallest points (like how the electrical outlets should be installed). In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about spacial planning to create an efficient space that optimises its functionality and fits your needs.

While each interior design project is unique to its own requirements, there are some basic principles that apply to every project you take up, including important aspects like spacial planning.


Being a fundamental element of interior design, properly planning a space helps cater to all the critical project details from the highest level (like the major functions of a space) down to the smallest points (like how the electrical outlets should be installed). In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about spacial planning to create an efficient space that optimises its functionality and fits your needs.


Use Space Planning Software


The best way to carry out accurate spacial planning is to use space planning software.  Advanced space planning software facilitates drawing detailed floor plans and electrical plans. It also allows you to view your designs in 3D, so you can visualise your space better and decide if you want to make any changes before proceeding with the practical steps.  However, while you might have a good hold on dealing with such software, it’s always a great idea to double check with a professional — like one of our Interior Design Gurus — so you can confirm that you’ve undertaken the process correctly without missing out on any potential opportunities!

The best way to carry out accurate spacial planning is to use space planning software. Advanced space planning software facilitates drawing detailed floor plans and electrical plans. It also allows you to view your designs in 3D, so you can visualise your space better and decide if you want to make any changes before proceeding with the practical steps.


However, while you might have a good hold on dealing with such software, it’s always a great idea to double check with a professional — like one of our Interior Design Gurus — so you can confirm that you’ve undertaken the process correctly without missing out on any potential opportunities!


Consider the Category of Space


Almost all rooms fall into 5 (or more) of the following categories; Private - rooms reserved for privacy, such as a bedroom.  Social - rooms reserved for socialising, such as the dining room and lounge.  Work - rooms reserved for working, such as a home office or a small library.  Service - areas reserved for chores, storage, and maintenance, such as the kitchen, garage, utility rooms, etc.  Storage - areas reserved for storing things, such as a pantry.   Once you’ve determined the category of each room, planning out a space will become much easier and more efficient. You’ll be able to figure out essential details like where the laundry room should be located (preferably away from bedrooms and areas where noise may cause disruption), how the dining room layout should be designed (preferably one that gives at least 18”-24” of a walkway around large furniture pieces), and where the storage of a home office should be installed (preferably in an arrangement that keeps frequently needed items within arm’s reach and the rest of the items organised in a way that avoids clutter).

Almost all rooms fall into 5 (or more) of the following categories;

  • Private - rooms reserved for privacy, such as a bedroom.

  • Social - rooms reserved for socialising, such as the dining room and lounge.

  • Work - rooms reserved for working, such as a home office or a small library.

  • Service - areas reserved for chores, storage, and maintenance, such as the kitchen, garage, utility rooms, etc.

  • Storage - areas reserved for storing things, such as a pantry.

Once you’ve determined the category of each room, planning out a space will become much easier and more efficient. You’ll be able to figure out essential details like where the laundry room should be located (preferably away from bedrooms and areas where noise may cause disruption), how the dining room layout should be designed (preferably one that gives at least 18”-24” of a walkway around large furniture pieces), and where the storage of a home office should be installed (preferably in an arrangement that keeps frequently needed items within arm’s reach and the rest of the items organised in a way that avoids clutter).


Evaluate the Primary & Secondary Purpose


Each of the above-mentioned categories may have different purposes. A bedroom, for example, may be a master bedroom for parents, a room for your teenage or preschool kids, or a space to host overnight guests. Similarly, a storage area may be a walk-in closet, a small pantry, or a laundry room with sizeable cupboards.  In each scenario, spacial planning varies with the purpose. Even rooms that offer secondary functions, such as a kitchen island doubling up as a place where kids can do their homework, will influence the interior design process — including elements like flooring, lighting, and access to other rooms. For example, a bedroom needs to have adequate walking space, a pantry should be located near the area where you cook food, a kitchen island should have sufficient task lighting if it doubles up as a work area, and so on.

Each of the above-mentioned categories may have different purposes. A bedroom, for example, may be a master bedroom for parents, a room for your teenage or preschool kids, or a space to host overnight guests. Similarly, a storage area may be a walk-in closet, a small pantry, or a laundry room with sizeable cupboards.


In each scenario, spacial planning varies with the purpose. Even rooms that offer secondary functions, such as a kitchen island doubling up as a place where kids can do their homework, will influence the interior design process — including elements like flooring, lighting, and access to other rooms. For example, a bedroom needs to have adequate walking space, a pantry should be located near the area where you cook food, a kitchen island should have sufficient task lighting if it doubles up as a work area, and so on.


Consider the Movement Patterns


The location of the door, the way the furniture will be positioned, and the placement of other functional and decorative pieces affect the movement patterns and, hence, the way you plan a space. For example, a home bar will require more vacant space for milling around, while a dining table would do well with minimal space as most people will be static and seated. Similarly, ignoring kitchen ergonomics when planning out your space may pose risks and problems that create an impractical space.  Therefore, your spacial planning needs to ensure that there aren’t any obstacles hindering passageways and there is a comfortable distance to walk through or work around, based on the likely behaviour in the space.

The location of the door, the way the furniture will be positioned, and the placement of other functional and decorative pieces affect the movement patterns and, hence, the way you plan a space. For example, a home bar will require more vacant space for milling around, while a dining table would do well with minimal space as most people will be static and seated. Similarly, ignoring kitchen ergonomics when planning out your space may pose risks and problems that create an impractical space.


Therefore, your spacial planning needs to ensure that there aren’t any obstacles hindering passageways and there is a comfortable distance to walk through or work around, based on the likely behaviour in the space.


Plan Strategic Placement for Switches & Outlets


Determining what the space will be used for can help decide how and where the switches and outlets should be installed. For example, if you’re planning for a living room where your TV will be mounted on the wall, you can draw out a plan with the power and cable outlets installed approximately halfway up the wall. Such solutions will save you from drilling holes to fish out electrical connections later down the line.

Determining what the space will be used for can help decide how and where the switches and outlets should be installed. For example, if you’re planning for a living room where your TV will be mounted on the wall, you can draw out a plan with the power and cable outlets installed approximately halfway up the wall. Such solutions will save you from drilling holes to fish out electrical connections later down the line.


Maximise Lighting


For creating an efficient space, you must also consider the flow of light during spacial planning. This ensures light can travel throughout the home without obstruction and effectively brighten it up. For example, avoid placing a tall piece of furniture, such as a bookshelf or headboard, in front of a window. This allows the unobstructed entrance of natural light. Likewise, don’t let furniture pieces block the light coming from floor lamps and other artificial light sources.   Pro Tip: For artificial illumination, try layering the lighting to include all three types; ambient, task, and accent.

For creating an efficient space, you must also consider the flow of light during spacial planning. This ensures light can travel throughout the home without obstruction and effectively brighten it up. For example, avoid placing a tall piece of furniture, such as a bookshelf or headboard, in front of a window. This allows the unobstructed entrance of natural light. Likewise, don’t let furniture pieces block the light coming from floor lamps and other artificial light sources.


Pro Tip: For artificial illumination, try layering the lighting to include all three types; ambient, task, and accent.


Conclusion


Spacial planning is a vital component of good interior design. So by considering factors like the space category, its primary and secondary functions, the movement patterns, and the ways that allow smooth traffic circulation across a room, you’ll be able to build a home that is not only visually appealing but also highly efficient and functional.


But, of course, not everyone possesses the knowledge and experience required for successful spacial planning, which is why reaching out for professional help may be the best choice.


Whether you’re tackling a small project or a large property, our Interior Design Gurus can help you create a space plan tailored to your lifestyle, needs, and preferences!

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