Floor Planning Design With Dimensions And Examples

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Floor Planning Design With Dimensions And Examples

by Jo Chrobak

by Jo Chrobak

INTERIOR DESIGNER’S BUSINESS SCHOOL

by Jo Chrobak

by Jo Chrobak

INTERIOR DESIGNER’S BUSINESS SCHOOL

Table of Contents

You’ve started designing a room or house, and you’re stuck at the floor planning design stage, asking yourself, “what’s the right distance between the sofa and the side table?” or “how far should a sofa be from the tv?” As designers, there are typical rules of thumb that we use for the floor plan or what we call space plan in the design industry, and we use these rules of thumb every day, so much so that we forget that other people don’t know these things off by heart as we do.

Floor planning design is a mixture of information that we gather from experience as designers. The starting point is typically building regulations (called codes in the US). We add our design experience and best practise to the mix. Finally, the result might differ slightly depending on the client’s brief and individual needs (such as universal access – also known as disability, accessibility or ADA design), which typically require more space for manoeuvring and lower heights for easy reaching.

In this post, I have provided a schedule of typical distances and heights for you so that if you’re designing a residential or domestic property (E.g. A house), you have hopefully everything you need right here (and if you feel I’ve left anything out, ask it below in the comments and I’ll update the post for you)!

For those of you who want them, I have included the free CAD files in DWG as well as the PDF for download of the floor planning design examples shown in this post. You can download those at the bottom.

Download The Cad & Pdf Files From This Blog Post

I have shown two hypothetical situations in the drawn examples for each space based on different floor planning design approaches. Often as designers, we can’t control the size or shape of the room, so the first approach is when the walls of a small space bind you and shows a room with the smallest or minimal dimensions that should be provided. The second example for each section shows another approach when you have the freedom to create a larger room, say when you’re proposing the room size from scratch.

I have also provided measurements in cm (metric) and inches (imperial) so that you don’t have to do the conversion yourself. If you’re an architecture or interior design student, I have also included a list of floor planning design and space planning for interior design books for you as a reference list at the end of this post (you’re welcome!)

One last thing. These dimensions and rules of thumb for floor planning design can be used as a guide. Design should not be rigid, so I have provided you with a range to make the best decision for your space.

These rules of thumb come from designing and reviewing thousands of house plans and layouts in my career as an architectural and interior designer and mentor. I have also worked on a vast variety of projects globally, studying building regulations around the world,  so I am confident in providing you with relevant information worldwide. If you have any questions, please comment or ask questions below.

How Do You Use These Floor Planning Design Rules Of Thumb?

I have split these floor planning design rules of thumb into rooms to quickly find what you’re looking for, starting with general floor planning rules of thumb; secondly, I have given you a range of sizes to work from, from smaller distances to larger ones.

Depending on how big the room is that you’re designing, the larger the room would mean that you would typically try to aim to use the larger figure and the smaller the room, use the minimum or as close to the minimum as you can (from experience I also know that, that isn’t possible all the time as some spaces are very small or historic houses can’t be altered in the way that requires these rules to work, so of course, there always are exceptions). Suppose you’re designing spaces for the elderly or people with special needs, such as those in wheelchairs. In that case, I suggest looking at your current building codes or looking at one of the books I have specified in the references below to ensure your dimensions are exact.

I have listed each room in alphabetical order and have provided a list of floor planning design rules of thumb in list format. I have also included a drawn example for each room showing how to overcome the complexities of the requirements.

As always, there is more than one way to make the room work, and of course, the result is always guided by an individual brief; however, what I wanted to show you here is the minimum size that most people have to work with and a preferred size if you have that luxury.

General Floor Planning Design & Space Planning Considerations

Consider that you’re always working with a problem to solve, either space limitation or furniture arrangement. Do the best you can with the space you’ve got. If you’re starting from scratch, you have much more freedom to design something considered good design but remember, even then, you’ll typically have some kind of problem to solve (locating windows and doors to make sense with the preferred arrangement). There is no such thing as perfect that suits everyone, but you can successfully/functionally (and beautifully) meet your brief, and that’s all that matters when designing homes.

Floor Planning Design Rules Of Thumb For Bathrooms & WCs

When it comes to floor planning design and bathrooms, they can be challenging. This is because the location of existing drainage pipes set limitations as to how far items can be from them. In addition to this, the heights and relationship of things to each other can be critical to the functional result of the end design. If you have the luxury (often we don’t), do try to provide more space than the absolute minimum, as this allows for future changes, adaptation, and flexible arrangements.

A typical bathroom requires; A bath, a shower, a basin, storage at a reasonable level around the vanity basin as well as in the shower and bath, a shower screen or curtain, ventilation (preferably an opening window, although surprisingly, this isn’t a requirement in most countries), a towel hook or rail (can be heated) and a toilet with a toilet holder. The toilet can be in a separate cubicle or room – but in that case, also provide a separate washbasin).

The first-floor planning design example shows a small space (typically the amount of available space that many dwellings have to work with). The second-floor planning design example shows the preferred minimum space based on having more room or a flexible amount of space when creating the size and shape of the room (as well as locating doors and windows if you have that luxury).

Download The Cad & Pdf Files From This Blog Post

Floor Planning Design Rules Of Thumb For Bedrooms

Bedrooms typically require the following things to function successfully as a bedroom, so try to accommodate all of these when working on floor planning design in a bedroom; a bed to suit the brief, a wardrobe (which must be built-in in some places such as the USA), at least one door and window (you laugh, but I’ve seen it all…), space to circulate around the bed and wardrobe, bedside tables to store practical items and possibly hold an alarm clock/lamp, a safe way of exiting/escaping the room in the event of a fire and window furnishings that provide the ability to make the room dark.

Most of these are common sense, but it can be easy to forget something if you’re pushing to create something unique, so double-check that you’ve included everything before proposing your design to your client.

The first-floor planning design example shows a small space (typically the amount of available space that many dwellings have to work with). The second-floor planning design example shows the preferred minimum space based on having more room or a flexible amount of space when creating the size and shape of the room (as well as locating doors and windows if you have that luxury).

Download The Cad & Pdf Files From This Blog Post

Floor Planning Design Rules Of Thumb For Dining Rooms

Separate dining rooms might be considered a luxury these days as many apartments and smaller homes combine them with other areas, such as the kitchen or living room. I’ve also seen many removed altogether as the space at home is prioritised by other rooms such as home offices, tv rooms or playrooms. Suppose you do have the luxury of having a separate dining room. The items you’ll want to place in a typical dining room are an appropriately sized table for the brief, two extra chairs for guests, and a buffet sideboard where placemats, trays, and some crockery can be stored.

The first floor plan design example shows a small space (typically the amount of available space that many dwellings have to work with). The second floor plan design example shows the preferred minimum space based on having more room or a flexible amount of space when creating the size and shape of the room (as well as locating doors and windows if you have that luxury).

Download The Cad & Pdf Files From This Blog Post

Floor Planning Design Rules Of Thumb For Kitchens Utilities & Pantries

Kitchens can be pretty complicated because a few different functions need to work simultaneously. Don’t forget that a kitchen can be beautiful and functional, and sometimes leading with the beauty can help place items (even if they don’t follow all of the “rules”). So keep an open mind as there are endless solutions to any problem.

A kitchen typically requires; a sink and some space next to the sink, an oven, a hob (if separate from the oven), an extract fan, a fridge, a freezer (if separate from the fridge), a bin, circulation space, a window (although not required in some countries), storage space for food as well as pots and pans, preparation space and serving space.

The first-floor plan design example shows a small space (typically the amount of available space that many dwellings have to work with). The second-floor plan design example shows the preferred minimum space based on having more room or a flexible amount of space when creating the size and shape of the room (as well as locating doors and windows if you have that luxury).

Download The Cad & Pdf Files From This Blog Post

Floor Planning Design Rules Of Thumb For Living Rooms

As a designer, you have more flexibility with living rooms because the functions are more relaxed. However, if in your floor planning design, you can separate formal from informal functions (guest spaces from private spaces), this makes for a much more successful solution as you’re not dealing with the crossover of zones.

The first floor plan design example shows a small space (typically the amount of available space that many dwellings have to work with). The second floor plan design example shows the preferred minimum space based on having more room or a flexible amount of space when creating the size and shape of the room (as well as locating doors and windows if you have that luxury).

Download The Cad & Pdf Files From This Blog Post

Floor Planning & Space Planning Interior Design Books For Interior Designers & Architects

For those of you looking for glossy design books for your floor planning design, you’ll be disappointed! The books I have specified below are technical reference books for working designers:

If you have any recommendations for excellent floor planning design books, please do let me know below!

Download The CAD & PDF Files From This Post

Conclusion

Hopefully, you have found these floor planning design and space planning rules of thumb for architects and interior designers helpful in planning your home or project. Please remember that these are practical and functional requirements, but many times your design idea provides a reasonable enough argument for straying from the guide or breaking the rules. So don’t be too rigid in areas where the functional requirements don’t matter! The saying “form follows function” is a very utilitarian or functionalist way to design and is only the mantra of one movement throughout history (the modernist movement). So it’s not gospel unless you’re trying to recreate a mid-century modern design style.

As I always say to my mentees – start with your design idea and let that guide your original and authentic design. The function and design should be harmonious, not forced.

If you have any questions or would like me to add to this list, please comment below, and I’ll do my best to update this blog post for you. Thanks for reading!

Jo Chrobak

Jo Chrobak
Jo Chrobak is an architectural and interior designer and mentor at the Interior Designer’s Business School that trains interior designers to set up professional and successful interior design businesses and gain experience working on real projects. She is trained in architecture, interiors, business and life coaching and runs her architectural and interior design studio just outside of London in the UK.

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