Is every room in your home designed for the unique needs of your family?

Is every room in your home designed for the unique needs of your family?

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 into real annoyances if you bump your shin on the coffee table when you aren’t paying attention.

Long Path

Where is your kitchen or dining room table? Is it in a cozy corner of the kitchen or in the next room over, or is it practically in a different wing of the house? Think about all the times you’ve had to oh-so-carefully walk a bowl of hot soup or full glasses of water across the endless miles from kitchen to table. You may have even had some nasty spills along the way.

A good interior design will limit the distance you need to travel for activities that go together. It will put your kitchen or dining room table close to the kitchen. It will place a coffee table or central foot rest close to the couch. Yes! Some people position their coffee table so far away that they actually have to get up to retrieve their drinks or the remote. This doesn’t have to happen!

Room Designation

Choose your room designations with purpose and don’t be afraid to change them as your needs evolve. For instance, maybe your children have moved out of the house. Why is your office still all the way downstairs next to the drafty garage? Convert the room next to your bedroom into your office. If you work from home, occasionally telecommute, or find yourself working at night, having the office next to the bedroom can offer lots of extra convenience.

Let’s try a different scenario and say your office is next to the master bedroom, but you’ve got a baby on the way. Do you put the nursery down at the end of the hall? Trust me, after the first week of getting up three times a night, you’ll regret every extra step you have to take to your future prodigy and every extra step back to your warm bed! Put the nursery next to the bedroom.

These are just a few basic tips on how to understand your family’s traffic patterns and then utilize that knowledge to make your home more functional and conducive to your life. For even more guidance on functional and stylish interior design in San Diego, Riverside and Los Angeles, call me at (760) 277-7442.