We've all experienced it, that kitchen that doesn't work efficiently, or the space in your home that no one wants to sit in. So we pretend the room doesn't exist or we simply move to another space. Chances are it's a flow issue. So what can you do to your home to fix it? How can you create good flow in your home design?
When it comes to designing your home, one of the most important aspects to consider is flow. Flow refers to the way people move through and interact with the spaces in a home.
Why is it important?
Flow is important in a home because it affects how people use a space. A poorly designed flow can make it difficult to move from room to room, interrupt daily routines, and create a sense of clutter and chaos. On the flip side, a well-designed flow can make a home feel more spacious, organized, and welcoming.
Consider all the functions of each space
For each room, consider the multiple functions of each space. For example, a kitchen should be designed with cooking, cleaning and meal preparation in mind, but it is also be a place where people can gather and socialize, and in some homes it’s where the family eat and do homework.
Traffic flow is key
Another important aspect of flow is traffic flow. Traffic flow refers to the movement of people through the home, including the pathways between rooms and the placement of furniture. To improve the usability of spaces, it's important to consider how people will move through the home and to ensure that there is enough space to comfortably accommodate foot traffic. For example, a hallway should be wide enough to allow for easy passage, while a living room should be arranged in a way that allows people to naturally enter the space.
So, How can you create good flow in your home design?
One way to improve the flow of a home is to reconfigure the layout. This might involve removing walls to create a more open floor plan, or creating distinct zones within a larger space. This part doesn’t always have to be achieved through construction.
Many renovations today aim to create an open space for the kitchen, living room and dining room, but it’s also important to consider how you will zone each of the distinct areas within these open spaces so that it can accommodate all of the intended activities. You also need to look at your own lifestyles. Are some family members more inclined to want to relax in a cozy nook rather than being out in the open? Do you like to congregate together or are you more inclined to want your own spaces? How your family interact with each other will have a bearing on how well the layout of your home will work.
Architectural features like archways, decorative columns or screening can create a sense of flow and help to divide spaces without creating a sense of separation.
You can also clearly define spaces through the use of rugs, placement of furniture and pendant lights.
Plan the circulation of the home, including the placement of doors, windows, and other openings, to create a natural flow. Consider where furniture and other objects should go to enhance this natural flow.
The use materials and colors can enhance the way parts of the home are perceived. For example, materials that reflect light create a sense of openness. You can also use architectural features, or colour on the walls or a feature artwork to draw the eye into a space.
Wherever possible, incorporate the natural environment into the design of the home to create a seamless flow between the indoor and outdoor spaces. Large windows or sliding glass doors will connect the living space to the outdoor environment.
Always think about where the natural light is coming from and how you can introduce it into the darker areas of the home.
Here are some signs that your spaces may not be optimised.
Clutter: If a space is cluttered and disorganized. Perhaps you need to consider whether additional storage is required. Are you walking in and dumping papers on the kitchen bench? Adding a console table might allow you to use a drawer to put keys, handbags, wallets and mail.
Lack of use: If a space is not being used, this may be because it feels unappealing. Think about the reasons it doesn't appeal. You could consider adding a rug, some mood lighting or cozy furniture to improve its appeal.
Inefficient use of space: If a space is too small or too large for its intended purpose, it may not be functioning correctly. For example, if your dining room is too small to comfortably fit your family and guests, you might need to reconsider the furniture or how you use the room.
Discomfort: If a space is uncomfortable or uninviting, people will not want to use it. This most likely comes down to the furniture you choose. Think about the space and what it connects to and how you what you introduce to make it more appealing.
If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to reassess the flow and make some changes to improve it. Let's face it, it always feels like an achievement when you create a new space in your home. I walk around feeling pretty smug about it and can't believe how long it actually took me to do something about it. So here's some practical tips to help you improve any unused spaces in your home.
So how do you reignite a space and create good flow in your home design?
Analyze the flow: Start by analyzing the flow of the space and identifying the issues that are causing it to be unused. For example, is the space difficult to access, or is it cut off from the rest of the home? Identifying the problem is the first step in finding a solution.
Repurpose the space: Once you've identified the flow issues, consider repurposing the space to better meet your needs. For example, if the space is cut off from the rest of the home, you might consider opening up the walls or adding a new doorway to create a better flow. Alternatively, you might turn it into a quiet reading space if you can't open up walls or introduce new doorways.
Create a focal point: To reignite a space, you might consider creating a focal point that draws the eye and adds interest. This could be a piece of artwork, a statement piece of furniture, an oversized pendant light or a unique architectural feature.
Add colour: Adding colour to a space is a great way to make it feel more vibrant and enticing. Consider adding colourful accents, such as throw pillows, rugs, or artwork, to add interest and energy to the space.
Use lighting: Lighting can have a big impact on the mood and atmosphere of a space. By adding a mix of ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting it will create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Think about the use of warm light globes and don't make everything bright and stark.
Add plants: Plants will add life and energy to a space. Add a mix of indoor plants, such as ferns, succulents, or flowering plants, to bring a touch of nature indoors. The use of biophilia has proven health benefits too.
Add storage: If the space is cluttered or lacks storage, consider adding built-in storage solutions or furniture that can double as storage. This will not only help to declutter the space, but it will also make it more functional and inviting.
Make it comfortable: Finally, making a space comfortable is key to making it feel enticing. Consider adding cozy seating, soft textiles, and other elements that make the space feel welcoming and relaxing.
Use art and decor: Artwork and decor can add personality and interest to a space. Add a mix of wall art, decorative objects, and personal mementos to make the space feel more unique and inviting.
Incorporate texture: Texture can also make a space feel more inviting. Adding a variety of textures, such as woven fabrics, plush rugs, and natural materials like wood and stone, will create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.
A well-designed flow can make a home feel more comfortable, efficient, and liveable. By analysing flow issues, repurposing the spaces, creating a focal points, adding lighting and storage, and adding comfortable seating, you can reignite a space in your home that is not being used and make it more functional and inviting.