Great interior design isn’t just about style, pizazz, elegance and “Wow! Your home looks amazing!” It’s also about functionality.

It’s easy to focus on colors, furniture, and fabrics when designing or redesigning a room, but don’t forget about design’s dual purpose. A well designed room also supports the room’s function and your family’s specific traffic patterns. This design aspect, when done well, is usually invisible to the naked eye, but you’ll have a feeling that everything is set just right.

What Are Your Family’s Traffic Patterns?

You could probably get to work a dozen different ways, but I bet you have one or two ways that you almost always rely on (your normal route and your secret back road route when there’s a jam on the highway). You also have traffic patterns in your home. There is a way you prefer to move around your bedroom, how you get down the stairs and through the door, how you and your family operate in the family room, etc… Each family member has their own unique traffic pattern, and a room’s design can either support those patterns or frustrate them. Let’s look at some examples of poor room designs.

Blocking the Front Door

You might be surprised, but I have been to many homes where a piece of furniture blocks the most intuitive path to the front door. Family members may have gotten so used to it that they don’t even notice that they have to go around the coffee table every time they leave the house from the living room.

Your path to the front door or from one room to another should always be clear. When furniture is in the way of that path, it causes micro-annoyances that can turn [...]