JUST A LITTLE MORE ON PLANNING YOUR SPACE PLUS OUR ESSENTIAL DIMENSIONS LIST FOR SPACE PLANNING.
Perhaps you have a very tiny space or it needs to operate on two fronts, there will still be options, but you have find them and it’s almost like a game of hide and seek.
The more you practise the better you get. Use CAD if you prefer, but you still need to appreciate ‘space’ the beauty of it and how to make it work for you. CAD or drawing by hand – is a way of giving information like the Schedule and Brief and it has a vital part to play in the success of your project.
The use of space is often dictated by what is there already because you can see what it looks like. You have to step out of the box and look at it from all angles. What has gone before may look OK but until you start to explore new ideas you have nothing to compare it to.
Our lifestyle has changed dramatically in the last 50 years so our interiors need to keep up with it. Turn ideas upside down, and be brave.
Sir Terrance Conran said “in design it is human error that often opens up a new avenue”’ Oct ’96.
This was said in reference to drawing by hand rather than using CAD.
Obviously there will be limitations, budget, structural elements and usage. Natural light is also important as life is happier and more eco-friendly, so enticing light to enter a naturally dark area can be testing. However, there are solutions. You just have to know about them, which means research.
Look at the Sun Pipe idea from Monodraught for closed in space that needs natural light.
To make the very best use of space and give ease of movement you need to:
- Look at the doors in a room and how people enter and leave – are there defined routes and is there ease of movement? (Walking around the kitchen islands is my favourite at the moment, as they can obstruct good movement, but kitchen companies and most people ‘want’ them and they sell more units for the kitchen company.) An extended peninsular work top serves equally as well. In a family house you want to avoid traffic jams. We call it circulation or traffic flow! As professionals we spend a lot of time on this subject to make it work.
- Analyse your activity and needs for the space 90% of the time.
- Flexible solutions should cope with the other 10%, eg Christmas and holidays
- Keep items that have to stay, measure them and colour match to their finish
- Find new free standing items and find as many alternatives as possible to account for the extra cms, more or less, so you have a choice of solutions when you are planning to scale.
CONSIDER THE TYPE OF PERSON USING THE SPACE
Children, elderly people, those in a Wheelchair need access, teenagers, Mums and prams, bikes, Dads and sport equipment, in no particular order, must be accommodated, but be realistic and balance your needs with ideals.
Doubling- up with items of furniture like sofa beds , lift up lid Ottermans and bench seating allow the items to help with storage as well as function. Hard bench seating is fine for children for the everyday, but not great for Granny on Christmas Day.
TODAYS LIFESTYLE MUST HAVES
The ‘Living Room’ with a TV is the norm but the greatest design sin is to create more than one focal point in the same place eg. putting a tv above a fireplace. For a ‘professional looking design’ you have to decide what is more important the TV or the fireplace. TV’s today are huge and very bad for the eyes if too close or if positioned too high will give you neck ache. Look at the dimensions chart.
If you can achieve a flexible layout that allows for these two items to exist in harmony and the axis of the room is able to be mobile, then I have seen it work.
Today’s lifestyle should encourage conversation and reading but the big screen is dominant. If you have the luxury of two rooms then create two different areas – one that’s purely for watching TV and the other for entertaining, conversation, relaxation with a book or a past time and perhaps with a fireplace! Sometimes open plan is not the answer.
A TV room does not need any other features but should have great acoustics, a screen size that fits the room and not so large it affects your eyes and lighting that will dim. If you can afford good surround sound, then blackout, carpet and acoustic walls are a must and many of the features can be controlled remotely. The layout of AV needs professional input to get the best of the sound.
THE ‘WITH’-DRAWING ROOM; NOW KNOWN AS THE SITTING ROOM, LIVING ROOM, FRONT ROOM, LOUNGE, BEST ROOM…
The layout of an additional room should have an abundance of interesting ideas, but distributed so that although the fireplace may be the dominant statement, there are other areas to create interest. Books, a table with photos, a piano, a display of a collection, suitably dressed window treatment, very inviting chairs and sofas of differing height, styles and support, to accommodate every type of person. Not everyone has the ability to heave themselves out of deep feathered pads, so individual chairs with a good supporting back and arms yet soft with a loose pad and a cushion, will be well used by your older folk.
The three piece suit died 20 years ago. Three seater sofas are for large rooms only as only two people will use it and furniture should not be dotted around the walls unless there is absolutely no choice. Keeping in touch with the architectural style of the room should mean preserving the features, but adding todays ideas with chic styling from the massive arrange of options available.
Image: A three piece suite is not the look for today’ interiors.
To make sure your style fits in, create more than a mood board – you need a concept that will work with what is existing, the architectural style and your new dynamic design. There is so much choice, but without some anchorage you will go off course. Find your style first.
We cover extensively how to create a concept in our members plan – Sign up to learn how.
THE OPEN PLAN ROOM
Planning the space using the ‘open plan style’ is very popular because it does away with wasted corridor space and tiny rooms that don’t allow any flexibility.
For a family, it means the kitchen can become part of the living room, children can be watched and cooking is no longer a’ banishment’ to the scullery.
It has great benefits, however the ‘enlightened’ have gone a stage further as they want the best of both world. They miss the cosiness and privacy, they can do without the constant smell of cooking and the inability to live independent lives in the same house without having to go to your room.
The ‘Broken Plan’ living is open plan when you need it and provides individual units when you don’t. It incorporates sliding walls and doors, glass partitions, pivoting doors and flexi screens.
It has flexible space in every sense yet it also has designated areas. This is not a cheap option unless you are building from scratch although it can be retrospectively fitted if you have a healthy budget but it makes sense for the ultimate in space planning for today.
A LAST WORD OF ADVICE
If you are working with an Architect, Cad Technician and/or an Interior Designer, make sure they are aware of the items you want to include with the measurements, as soon as possible. Otherwise they will use ‘generic’ space planning. They will expect you to work with whatever their new extension design is. They will just ‘allocate’ space – and say this is your kitchen area. You need to ensure they have ALL the information and then they will design accordingly.
Planning your space needs detail, accuracy, patience to try lots of alternative options and common sense. When you have finished and implemented you will definitely feel you have achieved something special and the next time round will be so much easier.
HAPPY PLANNING AND WATCH OUT FOR MY NEXT BLOG.
SEE BELOW FOR SPACE ALLOWANCE DIMENSIONS
Note – Dimensions are shown in mms. The best allowances are your own personal measurements. This is only a guide.
|Sofa space per person in plan||Width 660 – 700||Depth 600- 700 plus a pad|
|Sofa heights vary dependant on makeup||Seat Height||Height 440 – 480|
|In a typical layout of chairs and sofas and L shape or square||To pass into the space between chairs||600 -750|
|With a typical layout in L shape means the corners at the right angle||Allow 100mms at the L so they don’t touch|
|A reasonable distance for conversation (without shouting) with two sofas facing each other||2000 – 2600 you can allow more but it has to look good|
|Seating – Bench style – consider pads on wooden benches as they are not comfortable for long dinners/lunches||per person||Width 350- 450||Depth 450- 530||Height of seat 430 – 480|
|Normal Desk with 20 -40 mm worktop depth –||Width 760 – 1000||Depth 600 – 850||Height 720 – 760|
|Desk optional heights using adjustable chairs||allow||660 – 780|
|Space to walk behind a desk , to a wall or other furniture –||allow||860 – 940||na||na|
|Reachable shelf height sitting, depends on person and seat||allow||Height 1300- 1450|
|Inbetween shelves (all depends on what is on them. Ie. books or objects or display items||Measure items||allow||Height 380 – 460|
|Maximum Reach for top Shelf – depends on persons height and what you are reaching for||allow||Height 1720 – 1820|
|Shelves for Books. Depths depend on weight and what material is used for shelfeg. Wood, melamine board, metal.||Measure largest book||Depth 280 – 400||800-1000 shelf thickness 25 – 30|
|Dining table place per person||Width 600 – 750|
|Place at end of table allow further width||Width 280|
|If someone is to sit at the end|
|Cafe table width for 2 persons||Round||Diameter 600- 750|
|Family Table for 6||Rectangular||Width 1200||Depth 800||Height 720|
|Large Dining tables 2 places at end for 8||Rectangular||Width 2000 – 2200||Depth 900 – 1000||Height 720 – 740|
|Circular Tables take up more space and depends on the size of the chair.||Diameter||8-10 person 1820 +||6-8 person 1500 +||4-6 person 1200 +|
|Note; when planning space always show chair fully out from table in plan|
|Coffee Tables should be no closer to knees than 350mms to get to seating|
|Allow as a passage way behind a seating arrangement||750 more if possible|
KITCHEN – Use sizes from flat pack kitchen companies for more guidance.
|Kitchen Work top – normal using off the shelf laminates – check edge detail||Up to 3mts long = width||Depth 600 – 900||Height generally 920|
|Kitchen Bar to sit at with a stool||Up to 3mts long||Depth 450-550||Height 920- 1100|
|Space for knees under depends on stool||600- 780|
|Wheelchair Access – depends on chair||Width 780 -920|
|Turning Circle for Wheelchairs||Radius||1520||880 – 940|
|Wardrobes – double hanging for adult – depends on door type, normal, sliding,||Width usually divided up 800 – 1000||Depth 650 – 800||Height 1950-2100 +|
|Single Rail position on side of unit – add drop of coat hanger hook of 50-70mms||Allow a drop||Depth 650 – 800||Height 900- 1200|
|Men’s shirts with a double cuff needs more drop plus the coat hanger hook as before.||Allow a drop||Depth 650 – 700||Height of rail 1000|
|TV Position on wall – the centre to the screen should be eye level with you seated – 540 – 580 from floor.|