Space Planning. ‘I call it the bare bones of the design process’. Tracey Andrews
Space planning is an area of interior design that I particularly enjoy. In home décor or architectural planning, whether its reconfiguring existing rooms, planning an entirely new layout or simply manoeuvring furniture to their best positions, I love the challenge.
What does space planning mean?
It is not only a process of understanding how to organise furniture, fixtures and fittings within a space, effectively, it also examines flow, usage, building regulations, height, proportion and structure - all evaluated to assess relationships to one another, making the space comfortable for the end user. It is a fundamental element of interior design, and one of the first to be examined in the early stages of a project. There is also pre-planning for extensions and new builds, working along side architects to give broader scope for tailor-made spaces facilitating better levels of living and working.
Why is it important?
Space planning is the bare bones of any architectural or interior project. Without it the concept can not be implemented, fixtures and fittings not calculated and leaving the space compromised. A mis managed space produces an aftermath of which potentially the whole project revisited and constructed again. Having space planning at the very early stages will stand any project in good stead for future alterations as the ‘foundations’ of good planning are already in place.
What is considered in the Space planning process?
Fundamentally the user.
How they move, live and enjoy the space. How they plan to use it in the future, not just for today. Create a multifunction space that can change with lifestyle changes.
Size, architecture and structure considered as a whole.
For example, a spacious area doesn’t naturally suggest that the space will work well, without effort. It may need to be ‘zoned’ to become usable, cosy and welcoming.
Architecture and History.
There is never a more pleasant situation when architecture and history can play an integral part in the planning stage whether the room/building is existing or not. We ask - is it typically this style or typically that style. Does it lack certain elements and can they be reintroduced somewhere else? Architectural details are a blessing, offering inspiration, and guidance, which in turn maintain historical Architecture and our protect our Heritage.
Available light, windows and focal points.
What can this bring to the initial survey and structure? If there is height and no width, then can it be compensated by length? Just because there are apertures of light does not necessary mean they are aesthetically correct, could we do without them? Focal points are important but only if they are in the correct place.
Are all the elements balanced to one another? Proportion is important. Buying a sofa in a large showroom and then trying to place it in a small room in your home proves the point of this! Will items placed jar the eye on entering the room? Sometimes if piece of furniture doesn’t ‘feel’ right – turn it to another position, and it works.
How is it achieved?
Early sketches are useful. Quick scribbles on the back of a cereal box during a light bulb moment are often the first deciding design before you see the project to fruition. When the ideas are confirmed 2D and 3D software can be used to produce the ‘working’ plans which enable end users to work from.
Architect or Interior designer to prepare space planning for your home?
Interior Designers are qualified to space plan; architects have the technical and legal authority and final say. If the project is a new extension or new build, legality, mathematical calculations and specialist knowledge is required which involves architects and local building authorities.
I may be biased, but when it comes to space planning whether redesigning a current space or new, interior designers perhaps see the bigger picture and more detailed interiorly, but architects design the structure and are extensively qualified to assess and prepare the appropriate design for the construction. I have had many a client engage with my services, either at architect stage or post-build stage which in my opinion may be too late.
So what does this mean for you?
From a home design point of view, it is beneficial to not only know how big, small or tall a room should be but also understanding how to use the space to its maximum potential. By placing furniture in its best positions or suggesting structural changes, however small, can transform a dysfunctional area into a usable space.
What type project are you thinking of?
You may be planning a new build, indecisive about an existing area or room, or just too busy with life that you need a little assistance. Let’s be honest; you may have had a new extension built that is so big you merely do not know how to plan the space!
The smallest of changes can make the most impact practically, aesthetically and time budget friendly, more than you could ever achieve without just a little guidance.
‘We are here to assist by evaluating your project, liaising with architects, preparing basic or more concise plans, elevations and 3D’s’
Contact Tracey Andrews Interiors