Bathrooms have similar restrictions and requirements to kitchen and hallways. As with kitchen, the water inlet and waste outlet will influence where the lavatory, basin and bath can be located and surfaces need to be water resistant and easy to clean.
As with hallways, bathrooms tend to be windowless, internal spaces so it is essential to make the most of any available light and to create an attractive ambience using artificial light.
In many homes people choose to have more than one bathing space, often having a separate shower room with a shower and a bathroom with a bath. The shower is used for quick daily bathing whereas bath is more leisurely relaxation. Shower rooms can be created in relatively small spaces with sliding or folding doors, don’t require much room to get in and out of. These days baths comes in range of sizes so that a small but deep bath can be installed with a shower overhead, making it possible to put a bathroom in a limited amount of space.
There are also ranges of lavatories that don’t require direct access to mails outlets. These light use facilities can provide a useful option in a family home or one built on many levels.
The bedroom is a sanctuary, a private space where we go to relax and sleep so the layout and design of this room should encourage and support these aspects. Although clothes storage is an important factor, in many bedrooms the main concern is usually the positioning of the bed that is often influenced by the location of the window and door.
Few people like to sleep directly under a window because it can be cold and draughty. If there is any view, it is more pleasant to lie in bed and look out at it rather than have it behind you, so a bed is usually positioned facing or to the side of window. The door opening in to the room should ideally be to the side of the bed rather than directly in front of it, so as to screen the bed from the direct view of the corridor.
For ease of access you should also be able to walk unhindered around both sides and the foot on the bed, enabling you to get it and out of it easily, especially in the light. Modest bed heads are pushed up against the wall, although in some large room the bed can be positioned in the centre of the room.
Many bedrooms contain wardrobes: these can be built in or freestanding. If you plan to build-in wardrobes, do take into consideration the room required to open the doors. If space is restricted you may need sliding or concertinaed doors. If you are in a shared flat or a home where there is a busy corridor outside your bedroom, you may want to put the wardrobes against the wall facing the corridor because the furniture and clothing will provide a certain amount of sound insulation. And if you have a cold north facing wall in your bedroom a wardrobe built along that side can be used to provide extra heat insulation.
Instead of putting wardrobes in your bedroom you could create a walk-in wardrobe behind a false wall. To do this you would need to section off part of the room with a light, stud wall, reducing the overall size of the bedroom but creating a separate and easier aces to hanging and clothes storage space.
Other furniture that needs to be taken into consideration when planning the layout of a bedroom are bedside tables, chairs and a chest of drawers, all useful pieces that will add to the comfort and easy use of the room. But if space is restricted bedside tables could be built into the headboard or could be lightweight and shelf like, secured directly to the wall.
Our experience of a place is strongly influenced by how we arrive in it as the expression goes “first impression last the longest” so an entrance hall or lobby is the place to make a statement, to set the scene.
Entrance halls often have to content with a number of roles, not just being the point of arrival and departure but also the place where outdoor clothes are put on and taken off, boots and hoses are stored, and mail arrives and even a parking space for bicycles and skate boards. If your hallway is such a place, you should provide adequate, efficient storage and keep decoration simple because the things kept there will take up the visual space and the background should not compete with them.
In Older homes, stairways and hallways tend to be without much natural light so you will factor in well-positioned electric lighting so as to avoid accidents and also to make it easy to locate things.
In many contemporary homes staircases are designed to double as light wells so that the daylight from a skylight or large window on the upper level shines down through the stairwell. It may be possible to replicate this feature in an older home too by installing a Perspex dome or velux window into the roof.
Another way or bringing in light to a hallway or staircase is to replace solid panels on a staircase with fine balustrades or reinforced glass. High tension wires may also be used, but you will need to check what is approved by your local planning authorities.
If you have a spacious hallway or landing you could create a study with a desk and shelves or a children’s games/play space, or build in box seats that provide a quiet reading room with useful storage beneath.
The practical elements of a kitchen will put restrictions on its location and on the way the layout can be arranged because you will need direct access to water & waste outlets which are usually ducted through an external wall. The type of surfaces you can use will also be dictated by requirements such as heat resistance and hygiene, and in a room that contains both kitchen and a dining area good ventilation will be essential to remove steam, heat and cooking smells. So these aspects needs to be factored in to the layout at the earliest stage of planning an efficient kitchen.
In Kitchen design there is a format known as the “work triangle” which, if followed, makes ergonomically efficient use of the space and minimises the amount of walking between three functions of food gathering, food preparation & cooking. If you place the points of triangle too far apart you will add to the amount of walking you do each time you prepare a meal and if the points are too close your kitchen will be cramped and an uncomfortable place in which to work.
The three points of triangle are the sink, the refrigerator and the hob/or an oven. It is advised that each leg of the triangle is between 4 feet or nine feet apart depending on the size of your kitchen.
An island unit or breakfast bar is a popular way of proving extra work surface, storage and an informal dining area: it may also be used to create a barrier between the areas of cooking and more formal eating. Island units can be square or oblong, and currently popular are mobile islands that have locking wheels so that an island can be moved around a room to cater for different functions such as buffet table or bar, or pushed closer in to the kitchen area to make the dining section more spacious.