Thursday, November 26, 2009

The importance of paths in a house

This is a lovely image but who could sit comfortably on the sofa? can you see what the problem is?
Of course the photograph was taken for a magazine but still...
Have you ever bumped into an open drawer, hit a corner of a cabinet, had a hard time moving around your place with bulky items, finding it hard to pass to the side of the bed when a door is open, hit your head on a cabinet door, while searching for glasses in the kitchen?
The theme of the path in a house is one of the most neglected. When deciding how to decorate a home often we just fall in love with a piece of furniture, a color, a texture but we rarely ask the question: what's happening next. Inside a home, as well as in a city, we always find crossing paths, stops, curves, traffic. A good solution would be to live in a castle and solve most problems! But not everyone can do this and actually problems could also worsen, since having a bigger space most likely will increase traffic and divert it to the areas where we would rather be quiet.
We can see it every day when we drive in our cities: it is not widening the roads that we solve the traffic problem. The only way to solve the traffic problem is to reason about routes and width of the roads, on the types of alternative transportation, the types of movement and travel. In the city, as well as within a shopping center, a school, a cinema complex, an apartment.
How to figure it out? Simple, do what designers do (or better yet call a professional for space planning).


Draw a (even very simple) plan of your rooms and draw inside all the furniture or alternatively if you cut pieces of paper in scale, representing your sofa, your table, your bed etc. you can place those cards, instead of drawing.
Once you have placed all the furniture try to see how much space you need to deal with all the doors open, and with all the doors closed. Do not forget windows, drawers etc.
To give you an example: If a square table, card table type, occupies only 32" x 32", furnished with chairs and players occupies nearly 6'7".

But... the poker players, at a certain hour will also rise, passing behind the chair and reaching in the fastest way the fridge or the bathroom.
Keep in mind that a more linear path is less likely to find obstacles along the route.
Consider also that in order to move smoothly with bags, coats, pots, lamps, suitcases, guitars this time of the year... Christmas trees,

we need "streets" wide at least 32" same as the doors from which we pass.
Finally, remember that even at home, same as on a road, round curves are always better to manage, especially if we want to preserve hips, knees and head and most importantly if we have little rascals (kids, puppies, husbands?) running around.

Lighting can also help to achieve smoother paths in a home, but I will talk about this in another post. In the meantime have a safe journey around your house!

Image source
Don't forget my "100th post giveaway"... to read the rules click here.


Mélanie said...

I'm not very good with paths . I have so much big furniture in a small flat ..but ...I like it.
I love the pink chairs

Brillante Home Decor said...

Merci Melanie and happy French Thanksgiving.

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Brillant post. Thanks for sharing. hugs ~lynne~

Brillante Home Decor said...

Hi Lynne,
Thanks for visiting my blog. All the best to you and your family.


Great advice as always.

Dale said...

Good insights Albarosa!

Maria Killam said...

It's so nice to be able to have that kind of optimal space! Great post, I love the images!

home before dark said...

My 6'5" husband would agree with you. Alas, it is not to be. At least at 61 the old basketball player can bend and weave. It's not as bad as it sounds but greater room for paths would be nice.

Brillante Home Decor said...

Thanks Ivan, Dale and Maria for your kind comments.

Brillante Home Decor said...

Home before dark, I love the image of your husband bending and weaving...(old? I don't think so!).
Anyway I was not saying bigger rooms are better but only that the use of the space is important.

qerat said...

Great advise and nice pictures. In this part of the world in general homes tend to be quite generous in space yet people choose to fill them with furniture, sometimes totally unnecessary and only clutters the space. In my work i have the same question everyday what do we do with this space, I find people are uncomfortable elaving a space empty and enjoying it.

San Francisco Interior Design said...

What a beautiful theme to write about, I have worked with some tall and large individuals in the past and you are correct. If the house isn't designed for travel, and lots of traffic certain items can become damaged and ruined. Thanks San Francisco Interior Designer

Michelle said...

It's so true! When we enter a space, we have a natural idea of the right path, and when it is done incorrectly, it's confusing. We are annoyed by stading up to let someone out or disappointed by doors that don't open properly or are in our way.

Great post Albarosa,

Take care,

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