Alex Coppock

The layout of space: size and scale

by 26th Oct, 2018

The layout of your interior spaces will impose a routine on everyone who lives there so it is important to ensure the routine you create is life giving, easy and beneficial.

Every home and every person’s routine is different but we find there are some set routines that we find resonate with most people and which can be used to start thinking about the plan of the house.

In this series of eight articles, we’ll take a look at some of the spaces in the home, their relationship to each other and what their design needs to consider.

In this seventh article, we’ll look at how to get the sizes of rooms right.

It is important to get the relationship between spaces and the wider landscape right first. Once you have done this, you can start to think about the size and scale of the spaces.

The size of individual spaces is affected to a large degree by what needs to be carried out in those spaces but it is equally as important to consider the wider setting. Parisian apartments can have tiny but beautifully appointed kitchens in which one can prepare and enjoy all sorts of food. At the same time, a space like this would not suit a farmhouse in the West Country in England. For this reason, when designing the size of a space it is not often useful to put arbitrary dimensions in place but to build spaces around furniture.

It is important to consider furniture as part of the architecture of the space. It is almost impossible to conceive what a space is without thinking about the furniture within it and yet it is disappointing that so many spaces are designed without furniture and therefore tend to become almost completely unusable in reality. At Communion we often design pieces of furniture such as shelving and wardrobes, kitchens and bathrooms for specific spaces because the success or otherwise of those spaces is utterly dependent on their relationship with the furniture in it. Therefore, once the diagram of the relationship between the spaces has been developed, think carefully about what furniture you need to put in the spaces. This will help you plan how big these spaces need to be and help you develop the size of your architecture.

In kitchen planning, the 600 mm x 600 mm unit size has become an almost universal planning tool when designing a kitchen. Every appliance tends to come in a matrix of 600 x 600 mm, so by marking these squares on a plan one can easily start to get an appreciation of how many units and how much equipment a certain size space can hold.

Equally, when planning bedrooms, the most useful dimension is the size of the bed that you wish to put in it. Traditionally there are single and double bedrooms. However, the traditional size of the double bed has grown into king size and super king size. Different beds will obviously have a dramatic impact on the space available in the room and therefore this will be the most important factor in the size of these spaces.

In terms of sitting and dining spaces these can be defined by the size of the table and sofas and seating that you wish to have in these spaces. It can often be a very productive exercise to measure your existing furniture and use these dimensions as a starting place for planning out your new space. Equally when planning a new space, it can be very useful to survey existing spaces you are familiar with and use these as a basis for sizing new spaces.