Business Tips

How to Design a Functional Space with Spatial Planning

When I first started working in the interior design world, I was a professional designer in NYC. Working with clients in smaller-than-average apartments with limited space was the perfect way to put my creative problem-solving to good use. Functionality was always a top priority, and it's a mindset I've carried with me as I branched out into interior design. Figuring out how a client lives in a space is key to making a project successful, and spatial planning is the foundation of functionality.

How to Design a Functional Space with Spatial Planningdesigned with spoak - watermark

Top things to know about designing a functional space:

  • Figuring out how you or a client will live in a space is key to making a project successful, and spatial planning is the foundation of functionality.
  • Take the time to ask yourself questions about the space. For example, how will it be used?
  • It’s important to consider feelings and impressions in the space. How do you want your guests to feel when they walk in?

When I first started working in the interior design world, I was a professional designer in NYC. Working with clients in smaller-than-average apartments with limited space was the perfect way to put my creative problem-solving to good use. Functionality was always a top priority, and it's a mindset I've carried with me as I branched out into interior design. Figuring out how a client lives in a space is key to making a project successful, and spatial planning is the foundation of functionality.

I always think about the experience of staying in a beautiful hotel room. The interior details are stunning, and you can't help but take a million photos, but after one night in the space, something feels off. The nightstands are too low, there are way too many light switches, and you can never seem to find the one you need. You have a perfect view of the toilet as you lie in bed, and that cute chair in the corner is just something you have to squeeze past as you move around the space. The room may be beautiful, but these overlooked details indicate that spatial planning was not a top priority! Instead, the focus of the space was aesthetics, and it could seem like the designer didn't spend much time thinking about how guests would use the space.

But how do you address spatial planning in your own home when you've already lived there for a while? What if something feels off, or you're not using the space how you want to? Where do you begin? Spatial planning can be a daunting task to tackle when you're not starting with a blank slate, but as someone who rearranged their whole living room once work-from-home became a reality, I assure you, it's never too late!

Ask yourself, “how will the space be used?”

Spend some time thinking about how you use the space and how you want to use the space.

Ask yourself:

  • What activities take place in this room? Think through different scenarios. For example: Does your living room turn into a dining room for 20 people once a year? Or is it exclusively used by you and your partner and pet?
  • Are there things you wish you could do here, but the space makes it challenging? Do you wish you had more space to chase your dog around the living room? Do you wish you could host your book club?
  • Are there any things that make the space slightly annoying, like existing bottle-necks, or things that make the space feel awkward? Maybe whenever you host a movie night, the only way out of the room is in front of the TV, or perhaps when you host book club, no one seems to have space to place their book or drink.
  • Do other people use the space regularly? Do they use the space differently? Don't forget to consider the needs of kids and pets if relevant! Maybe your partner decompresses at the end of the day with a book, and a good reading light is critical, or your dog needs a place to lounge that isn't the sofa.
You can tell how this space is used by looking at this one photo. Of course, music is a priority, but so is sleeping and a space to work. Source: Domino.

Consider feelings and impressions.

How do you want to feel?

The functionality of a space is essential, but the way furniture is arranged in a space can also alter the feeling of a room. If you want a room to feel open and airy, you will likely arrange your furniture differently than if you want your space divided into distinct zones for working and relaxing.

What kind of impression do you want the space to make?

The impression your space makes can be something just for you, or a statement you want to make to other people. A room with the seats facing a TV will give a different impression than a room where the seats face each other. I prefer to design a space around a focal point that you see right when you walk in. Before I rearranged my living room, I had a series of colorful object-and-book-filled shelves that you didn't see until you had fully entered the space and had taken a seat on the couch. The first impression the room made was actually kind of bland, something I was able to address when I changed the layout.

Source: Sarah Sherman Samuel

If you’re interested in learning more about spatial
planning, check out part two of this article—or take the Spatial Planning course in BeSpoak School!

Date Posted
May 2, 2022
Tagged
Business Tips

How to Design a Functional Space with Spatial Planning

When I first started working in the interior design world, I was a professional designer in NYC. Working with clients in smaller-than-average apartments with limited space was the perfect way to put my creative problem-solving to good use. Functionality was always a top priority, and it's a mindset I've carried with me as I branched out into interior design. Figuring out how a client lives in a space is key to making a project successful, and spatial planning is the foundation of functionality.

Top things to know about designing a functional space:

  • Figuring out how you or a client will live in a space is key to making a project successful, and spatial planning is the foundation of functionality.
  • Take the time to ask yourself questions about the space. For example, how will it be used?
  • It’s important to consider feelings and impressions in the space. How do you want your guests to feel when they walk in?

When I first started working in the interior design world, I was a professional designer in NYC. Working with clients in smaller-than-average apartments with limited space was the perfect way to put my creative problem-solving to good use. Functionality was always a top priority, and it's a mindset I've carried with me as I branched out into interior design. Figuring out how a client lives in a space is key to making a project successful, and spatial planning is the foundation of functionality.

I always think about the experience of staying in a beautiful hotel room. The interior details are stunning, and you can't help but take a million photos, but after one night in the space, something feels off. The nightstands are too low, there are way too many light switches, and you can never seem to find the one you need. You have a perfect view of the toilet as you lie in bed, and that cute chair in the corner is just something you have to squeeze past as you move around the space. The room may be beautiful, but these overlooked details indicate that spatial planning was not a top priority! Instead, the focus of the space was aesthetics, and it could seem like the designer didn't spend much time thinking about how guests would use the space.

But how do you address spatial planning in your own home when you've already lived there for a while? What if something feels off, or you're not using the space how you want to? Where do you begin? Spatial planning can be a daunting task to tackle when you're not starting with a blank slate, but as someone who rearranged their whole living room once work-from-home became a reality, I assure you, it's never too late!

Ask yourself, “how will the space be used?”

Spend some time thinking about how you use the space and how you want to use the space.

Ask yourself:

  • What activities take place in this room? Think through different scenarios. For example: Does your living room turn into a dining room for 20 people once a year? Or is it exclusively used by you and your partner and pet?
  • Are there things you wish you could do here, but the space makes it challenging? Do you wish you had more space to chase your dog around the living room? Do you wish you could host your book club?
  • Are there any things that make the space slightly annoying, like existing bottle-necks, or things that make the space feel awkward? Maybe whenever you host a movie night, the only way out of the room is in front of the TV, or perhaps when you host book club, no one seems to have space to place their book or drink.
  • Do other people use the space regularly? Do they use the space differently? Don't forget to consider the needs of kids and pets if relevant! Maybe your partner decompresses at the end of the day with a book, and a good reading light is critical, or your dog needs a place to lounge that isn't the sofa.
You can tell how this space is used by looking at this one photo. Of course, music is a priority, but so is sleeping and a space to work. Source: Domino.

Consider feelings and impressions.

How do you want to feel?

The functionality of a space is essential, but the way furniture is arranged in a space can also alter the feeling of a room. If you want a room to feel open and airy, you will likely arrange your furniture differently than if you want your space divided into distinct zones for working and relaxing.

What kind of impression do you want the space to make?

The impression your space makes can be something just for you, or a statement you want to make to other people. A room with the seats facing a TV will give a different impression than a room where the seats face each other. I prefer to design a space around a focal point that you see right when you walk in. Before I rearranged my living room, I had a series of colorful object-and-book-filled shelves that you didn't see until you had fully entered the space and had taken a seat on the couch. The first impression the room made was actually kind of bland, something I was able to address when I changed the layout.

Source: Sarah Sherman Samuel

If you’re interested in learning more about spatial
planning, check out part two of this article—or take the Spatial Planning course in BeSpoak School!

Date Posted
May 2, 2022
Tagged

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