The Best Space-Planning Tips for Your Home
Editor's Note: In an excerpt from his new book, Apartment Therapy: Complete + Happy Home, Apartment Therapy CEO and founder Maxwell Ryan shows us how to get the "flow" right in any room.
Flow is the biggest secret to creating a healthy, beautiful home. Drawn from feng shui (China) and vastu-sastra (India), flow refers to the way rooms allow people and energy to move in and around them. When a room is laid out well, it not only works better, looks good, and is easy to maintain; it is also more energetic. To put it more succinctly: It will make you happy. Unhealthy flow happens when energy is directed in a straight line; let’s call this bowling-alley syndrome. Furniture lines the walls, and the center of the room is hollowed out, so you rush straight through a space, noticing nothing. Bad flow also occurs when energy gets trapped. Think of this as pack-rat syndrome. Too much furniture is crowded into a room, blocking access to certain areas.
A healthy energy flow meanders, gently curving and moving forward to reach all the corners of a room. This is what you want to design for. The goal is to have multiple routes through a space without blocking windows or doorways. Every home is different. Each has its own set of issues, whether they're awkwardly shaped floor plans or teeny-tiny rooms. But a few overarching rules will help you set up your space with the best flow your square footage allows. Scroll down to read my top space-planning tips.
The table should not touch a wall: You want all sides available for seating. It’s also a good idea to leave enough room for people to walk between the wall and the back of your dining chairs when— and this is the important part—the chair is pulled away from the table (as if you were standing up).
Try pulling the sofa away from the wall; creating a path behind it allows access to the fourth wall and helps you avoid bowling-alley syndrome.
Much of the makeup of this room is immobile, but if you have the flexibility to choose where your appliances go, pay particular attention to how they open. Be sure the oven door doesn’t open into the dishwasher, and always adjust your refrigerator’s hinges so that its doors open toward the closest wall.
The bed should be perpendicular to the wall and centered, so you can reach it from either side.
Did you consider the "flow" when designing your home's interior? What are your top space-planning tips? Let us know in the comments.