How-To Design For Traffic Flow

We have a house with no foyer with our front door opening right into our living room. If you’ve been following along, you know I really struggled with how to decorate our living room. Since we moved in this past spring, I’ve set the room up in many different arrangements trying to work around the door until I found one that really stuck. What I learned from shifting the furniture around the room and actually living in the different set ups was just how important designing for good room flow is. Living in the other arrangements caused stress and a feeling that something was off. Trying to move around the room was frustrating because it just didn’t function well. I finally settled on the layout below and it’s flow is killer!

So what how do you design a good room flow? You need to take into account what the walk patterns through the room to make sure that the furniture is set up in a way that doesn’t obstruct traffic flow making them hard to navigate. While you might think “We’ll get used to this after a while,” you won’t.

So first things first in designing a room so it has a good flow is to figure out the walk patterns and draw them out on your floor plan. The plan below is for our whole first floor, but the traffic patterns are marked from our front door. You’ll see why this room was so hard to decorate – lots of traffic paths are needed!

Here is one of the arrangements for the furniture that didn’t work. The issue here was that the traffic pattern from the front door made you walk through the sitting area to get to the study.

By drawing our the traffic patterns in the room it will direct you to where your furniture should be. If I had started here when designing the room I could have avoided the multiple different set ups. With so many traffic patterns, once they were marked it’s very clear where the couch should go since the traffic really eliminate all of the other options.

Another way to help with the flow is to use furniture to create structured seating areas outside of the traffic flow. I used a couch, side table and bench in an L shape around the TV to add this structure to the seating area without alienating the fireplace seating area. The chair next to the TV, I added to frame up the living room so it didn’t feel too open.

Adding two seats facing towards each other around the fireplace with a pouf made this a seating area too with just enough space for the walk path from the front door to the dining room.

Next up on our house projects is a HUGE one. We are renovating!!

We are going to be renovating our kitchen, adding a powder room one the first floor (you may have noticed in the floor plan I shared that we currently don’t have one), and hopefully a laundry/master bath. We met with an architect before Christmas so I’m hoping to have more updates to share soon!