Monday, April 16, 2012

Space Planning 101

p004 Space Planning 101
Kitchen designed by MeCC Interiors Inc.
Most design professionals have certain guidelines or rules of thumb they use when planning spaces for clients. The NKBA(National Kitchen and Bathroom Association) and Design Works, Inc. decided to formalize it into writing, answering many frequently asked client questions in the process. Here is a cheat sheet.
The odds are high that you’ve at least heard reference made to the Kitchen work triangle — the placement of the sink, fridge, and stove / cooktop.  The “rules” state that the triangle should not exceed 26′-0″ feet in length, and no single side of the triangle should be less than 4′-0″.  (Larger kitchens may have multiple work triangles.)
Countertops should be at least 24″ deep and allow for at least 15″ of clearance.  Ideally, there should also be a minimum of 15″ wide countertop spaces between appliances, e.g. the fridge and the cooktop, so that you have a place to set down food and/or dishes.  If you are adding in an island, you want a minimum of 3′-0″ between the main cabinets and the island.
If you are renovating or planning a space from scratch, you’ll find that some of the clearances are more pronounced now than they may have been when the room was last updated.  You want to allow for at least 30″ of unobstructed floor space in front of all fixtures — toilet, bidet, tub, shower, lavatory.  If you have the luxury of multiple sinks, the centreline between the sinks should be a minimum of 3′-0″.
Living RoomIf your preference is for cozy, your conversation area should be approximately 8′-0″ across; this will enable comfortable conversation and easy access to coffee and/or side tables to everyone in the group.  If you like a little more space, increase the area to about 10′-0″ across.  Of course, if you’re blessed with a large, open concept area, remember that you can always create multiple conversation areas that can be combined for larger gatherings.  Conversely, if your space is small and you feel you are unable to use an ottoman and/or coffee table, be assured that an 18″ path between seating and low objects is sufficient for walking.
 Space Planning 101
Dining Room designed by MeCC Interiors Inc.
Dining RoomYou need about 2′-0″ of space per person for comfortable eating.  (This applies to kitchen breakfast bars, too.  A 4′-0″ counter is not designed for three (3) people, so do not even try.)  Ideally, if people will be walking behind diners, you want to allow for a corridor of at least 44″.   If access is not an issue and it is simple a matter of people pushing chairs in and out, there should be 3′-0″ of clearance behind dining chairs.
If you like to entertain and need to determine the size of table to purchase, think of the number of people you will need to accommodate and multiply that by the requisite 2′-0″ of space per person.  If you commonly host ten (10) people, your table should have a perimeter of at least 240″ or 20′-0″.
When it comes to selecting the optimal chandelier, consider the size of your table.  The general rule is to hang the chandelier so that it is about 6″ from the edge of the table.  Whether your table is round, rectangular, ovular, or square, that means measuring the width of the table and subtracting 12″.  For example, if your table is 54″ wide, look for a chandelier that is 42″ wide.
 Space Planning 101
Bedroom designed by MeCC Interiors Inc.
Smaller bedrooms are often dwarfed by their beds and that cannot always be prevented.  However, be sure to leave adequate room to walk and access storage pieces.  There should be a minimum 30″ in front of dressers, night tables, or armoires so that they can be comfortably opened.  If you can leave more space, do.  Unless you have a walk-in closet, aim for 4′-0″ of open floor space in front of your closet for dressing room.

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