Space planning is an essential part of the interior design process. But what exactly is space planning and how can you use the concept to create a space plan for your home or apartment? Read on for the full Fresh Design Blog lowdown on how to effectively embrace the skills of space planning for your renovation and decorating projects to help create end results that you love.
What is space planning?
Every good interior designer starts with space planning. Space planning is an essential component of the interior design process as it helps you analyse the space you have available, think about how you’d like to use it and how best the space can be designed to enable this to happen.
Space planning helps you figure out how best to organize furniture, fixtures and fittings in a room, but there’s much more to it than that. It also explores the flow and usage of an interior design space, the height, proportions and structure of a room and, where building or renovations are involved, any relevant building regulations.
The ultimate aim of space planning is to create an interior room design that’s tailor made to the person or people who’ll be using it, so the space flows naturally, looks appealing and provides a super functional living space.
Why is interior design space planning important?
If you start a project without first doing interior design space planning, the whole concept could fail. You could end up with furniture that’s too big or too small, doors or windows could be placed in the wrong areas, there might be a lack of a natural flow through the space or how it’s designed could make it dysfunctional.
Interior design space planning is crucial for all projects, however small or large. It’s often assumed that large rooms are naturally easier to design in a functional way, but that’s not the case. Yes, there’s more space to play with, but if you get it wrong and fail to effectively zone the interior room design, or properly take into account aspects such as focal points, light and proportions, the end result can be unbalanced, unwelcoming and unpleasant to live with.
Issues to consider when you create a space plan
When you create a space plan, there will inevitably be lots of issues to consider and questions you’ll need to answer. For example, it will help to think about issues such as:
- What will the space be used for and how many people will be using it? Will it have a single use (eg a bedroom) or does it need to be multifunctional?
- How would you like the interior design room space to feel? Do you want to achieve a warm and cosy space, an open-plan space, a minimal, traditional or contemporary space?
- Does the room have natural focal points, or do you need to create some?
- Are there pieces of furniture that need to remain in the new space plan? Could their position be changed?
- Are you investing in new furniture and what sort of pieces are you looking for?
- What is the light in the room like? How could you maximise lighting potential.
- Is it a room that gets lots of footfall? You need to consider how the space is used and if people are frequently moving through the area, making sure there’s an easy space through the room.
Considering these issues and taking time to ponder and answer the questions will help you get a clearer insight into how you want your ideal interior space design to be. It helps you solve problems and find better solutions, which is crucial for effectiveness when recreating and designing a space.
How to create a space plan
If you’re not naturally artistic or creative, the idea of creating a space plan can sound daunting. However, you don’t need to be a designer to create a space plan for an interior design and there are various tools and tricks you can use to make the process easier.
Creating a simple diagram plan
As a starting point, it’s useful to create a simple diagram or rough drawing of the space you have available. You don’t need to do anything too technical at this stage, just roughly sketch out what space you have and how it could be zoned to accommodate different activities. You can use simple squares or circles to represent each zone.
For example, in the case of a bedroom and en-suite bathroom, you could sketch out the area where the bedroom sleeping zone will be, where a dressing area or clothes storage will be and where the bathroom will be.
In the case of an open-plan living, dining and kitchen area, you could sketch out the areas where the living zone will be, where the dining zone will be and where the kitchen will be.
Creating a detailed room space plan
Once you have your simple space plan diagram completed, it’s helpful to create a more detailed plan. Ideally, it’s a good idea to draw this to scale if you can, so take some measurements of your room to help you scale it down.
Find a large piece of paper, or stick several pieces of A4 paper together, and draw a plan of your room. Remember to include the positions of the windows, doors, fireplace, lights and switches, and any built-in storage solutions you have. Write a list of all the key elements that you’d like to include in your designed space and, where possible, provide some rough measurements of the pieces.
On another sheet of paper, draw out the scaled down versions of the furniture you’d like in your room. Cut these shapes out, then play around with placing them onto your scaled room plan. Move them around and experiment with how they could work when positioned in different ways. How do they look in the plan and how do they affect the flow of your interior design space?
If you’re not confident at drawing your own room space plan, there are various online interior design room planner tools and room designer software that you could use instead. We’ve covered some of the top room planning tools in this post, so go and check it out for ideas and inspiration. The online tools help you design a space in different ways, from simplistic outlines to more detailed scaled plans, in 2D and 3D. They can be really useful to help you properly visualize how designing a space could transform the look and feel of a room. After you’ve designed a space you’re happy with, don’t forget to save it or print it out, so you can refer back to it.
Alternatively, if you’re still struggling with creating a room plan, consider enlisting the help of a professional interior designer, who can create a detailed scaled plan for you. It can help take the stress and hassle out of room dimension planning and experts are natural at design space planning.
Top tips for effective room space planning
Use these top tips to ensure any room space planning you do produces effective results.
- If you find it hard to properly visualize exactly how much space and impact new pieces of furniture or large accessories such as mirrors or art will have, use masking tape to map out the positions on the floors or walls. This will help you get a better understanding of the real impact that the pieces will create, especially in terms of their size, and helps bring a sense of reality to interior space design.
- If you are starting from scratch with a blank canvas, think about what could become the key focal points in a room and use that as a starting point to design a space. For example, perhaps there’s a stunning fireplace in a living room, a distinctive chimney breast in an architecturally-rich property or there’s a piece of art or furniture that could be a focal point and inspire the colour scheme.
- When you’re working on room space planning, it helps to create defined sections or zones of rooms, for example a relaxation zone in a living room, somewhere to sit in the kitchen or a study area off an open-plan hallway. Zones can be separated by physical walls or simply areas of rooms that serve different purposes. Defining zones is really important as it ensures the interior design spaces can be used effectively in different ways.
- If you are re-designing an existing room, consider whether there are any natural focal points currently in the room. If so, can you effectively plan the interior room design around them?
- Remember that balance and harmony are important. Don’t try and cram too many elements in as you design a space – less can be more.
- If you’re designing a space that’s small, make sure the proportions of the furniture and fixtures are right. For example, large sofas could swamp a small living room.
- Use interior design tricks to make rooms feel bigger than they are. For example, having the same flooring running throughout the downstairs, choosing furniture with legs or adding mirrors to rooms can all help increase a feeling of space.
- Too much clutter can affect the flow of a space, so incorporate clever storage solutions into rooms so that clutter can be kept at bay.
- Make use of windows to add extra light as well as bring the outside in.
- With all your plans, don’t forget that budget is a key factor too! Keep plans achievable and affordable.
How have you found space planning? Have you successfully created a new interior room design using a space plan? Share your thoughts in the comments below.1