Remodeling Realities: 5 Space Planning Tips for Good Home Design

This is the third post in a series called Remodeling Realities. We’re looking at all the moving parts of a home remodel, from how to choose an interior designer and general contractor to picking tile treatments and finishing touches. Read the last post in the series here and stay tuned for all of them! 

In the process of designing a room, space planning is a fundamental consideration. In a nutshell, space planning tells us how the room will be used, and we have to know that before almost any other details are considered.

First, I talk to the homeowners extensively about the space and how they see themselves using it. I take that information and my expertise to draw up a plan looking at different areas in each room, circulation patterns, and finally, laying in furniture and hardware so I can see the whole picture.

If you’re remodeling your home, here are some essential space planning tips for good home design:

Remodeling Realities: 5 Space Planning Tips for Home Design | Interior Design Dallas | Barbara Gilbert Interiors

1. Create easy flow

Flow is how we plan for real life, how people will move around a room from door to couch, window to fireplace, counter to table, and everything in between. We don’t want to put a table directly in an obvious path from point A to point B. People will always look for the shortest path between two points, and it will irritate them to see something obstructing that.

So create easy flow by thinking about circulation around, in, and out of a room. Walk the steps and see what feels natural.

2. Devise activity zones

In this era of open floorplans, people can feel lost in a huge room. Activity zones are a way to subdivide a space and create definition to each part of the room. For example, two discreet seating areas with different functions could be considered activity zones in a long living room, breaking it up and helping people know what to do where.

Remodeling Realities: 5 Space Planning Tips for Home Design | Interior Design Dallas | Barbara Gilbert Interiors

3. Buy right-sized furniture

Knowing what size furniture will work best in your room is an area a lot of homeowners get confused. A rookie mistake is to make everything too small, or mismatch small and oversized. One way you can overcome this challenge is to create a scale drawing of your room and cut paper shapes to size for each piece of furniture you’re considering or already own. You’ll quickly see if one piece looms, or if a high ceiling engulfs a small seating area. With this hand’s on approach, you’ll be able to figure out the best arrangement of furniture, art, accessories, and decorations.

4. Know what’s already there

If you’re redesigning a home office, for example, and the closest plug to the desk will be four feet away, you’ve got a space planning problem. Easier to move the desk than put in a new plug if you know ahead of time. You should also make note of windows, doors, and built-ins so you don’t accidentally place a bed in front of the bathroom entrance.

Remodeling Realities: 5 Space Planning Tips for Home Design | Interior Design Dallas | Barbara Gilbert Interiors

5. Think of public vs private space

If you are remodeling and moving rooms around, think about keeping your private spaces as far as possible from your public spaces. It creates a sense of refuge when you “get away from it all” and allows for more privacy. It also serves a purpose: keeping a playroom away from “tidy” areas of the house makes sense.

If you’re stuck with what you’ve got, use space planning to make the most of the situation. For example, if your master bedroom shares a wall with a family room, don’t put your bed against the shared wall. If your kids ever have a late-night movie party, the noise will interfere with your sleep. But if you have a secondary bedroom sharing a wall, put your bed and the crib up against the same wall so you can hear if they wake up in the night.


Do you have space planning tips to share? Tell us about it here or over on Facebook or Twitter (don’t forget to mention @bgidesigner)!

We’ve got years of experience creating inspired, gorgeous interiors — contact Barbara today at 214-641-7897 or via the website contact form. We offer North Texas interior design services in Dallas, Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Allen, Highland Park, University Park, North Dallas, and many more areas — please see the list of the areas we serve.


Here are the other 6 Remodeling Realities posts in case you missed them!

#7 – Add Style,Value with Home Gym

#6 – How to Choose Flooring

#5 – How to Have a Pet-friendly Home Remodel

#4 – 4 Things To Keep In Mind When Redesigning Your Kitchen

#2 – Picking a General Contractor

#1 – How to Pick an Interior Designer