Space Planning

You don’t need to make structural changes for space planning – appropriate placement of furnishings can make a space more functional, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing…

Image via  New Darlings .

Image via New Darlings.

The brief to space plan an open plan living and dining area:

  • square space with clear demarcation of living and dining
  • living and dining to have equal emphasis
  • living to be informal yet intimate for socialising and ambient at night
  • clear flow of traffic between the areas
  • dining to be flexible for family meals for 4, or entertaining for 8.


  • Asymmetrical placement of seating offers an informal feel and makes conversation easier. Choose seating at right angles. 
  • A sofa table behind a sofa or occasional chairs can further help to separate the zones.
  • Even an informal living area benefits from a focal point – orient your furniture to highlight it – a view, a painting, or a fireplace.
  • Rugs link the separate pieces of furniture and anchor the space, adding to intimacy.
  • Include a rug under your seating – have the seating positioned consistently on the rug – either all the legs on the rug, the rug half under each piece; or just the front legs of each piece on the rug.
  • Include occasional tables and lamps for function and ambience – you don’t want to have to stand up to put your coffee cup down – surfaces should be in easy reach of your seat.
  • Create a clear path between the living and dining – you don’t want to be navigating an obstacle course.
  • In a narrow dining space – consider a flexible arrangement – an extendable table. Allow at least 90cm between the back of the dining chairs and other furniture or walls for ease of movement.
  • Consider an oval table for a narrow space as they also encourage conversation (no one wants to be the 7th member of the table and sitting at the end….)
  • A low hanging pendant over the table with a dimmer creates intimacy and ambience – turning that pasta dish into four courses…

Then, stand back and observe - does the room feel balanced – is the scale of the pieces consistent and appropriate for the size of the room.

You don’t want all the pieces around the perimeter walls with a corridor down the middle; nor do you want all big pieces on one side, and small dainty pieces on the other - aim for a space that is of equal visual weight on the left and right.

So, whether working to a client’s brief, or wanting a change in your own home; spatial planning effects how you feel in the room… it is comfortable, functional, and pleasing to your eye.