Ever planned a vacation that you've been anticipating for weeks or months. You spend every free moment developing a plan for each days activity from start to finish. Which way is the quickest route, what areas to hit first to avoid traffic and delays, etc. While that may be a stretch from home design planning, the concept of traffic pattern planning is the underlining focus that coincides with creating the flow or traffic movement in your home. Traffic patterns of a residence should be carefully considered in the design of each room and the floor plan layout with relation to the adjoining space.
A minimum amount of space should always be devoted to traffic areas, otherwise valuable square footage can be lost. The most efficient design involves creating the illusion of hallway traffic patterns or passages using furniture placement. This is often seen in open floor plans, which uses a minimum amount of interior walls to separate rooms. It involves a bit of forethought by the designer and homeowner, but pro active planning eliminates traffic pattern issues and furniture arrangement for the homeowner. Hallways and corridors should always be kept to a minimum. The only purpose it serves is to get you from one room to the next. Make sure that you also keep hallways short in distance.
Avoid design options that only allow access to a room via passage from another room. There are exceptions that include the combining of the formal living room and dining room. In this case, it is an excepted practice because these two areas usually have a tandem function. Nonetheless, the combined rooms will usually have an entry/ exit point at either end of the joined spaces.
One way to effectively determine the traffic pattern of a house plan is to imagine yourself actually moving through the home. If you are planning to build from a pre-designed house plan, take a set of the plans or a brochure copy of the plan along with a pencil and trace a route through the home following your daily routine. Take into account a full days activity, including those of your entire household, when tracing traffic movement. By doing this, you can see exactly where the lightest and heaviest traffic will happen. You can also determine how and where to place furniture. Ultimately, this exercise will let you know if the floor plan design was effectively planned.
If you are creating your very own unique home design, traffic patterns will happen as you connect and determine room placement for each space. This scenario follows the example of the aforementioned vacation planning. You could spend hours, days, or weeks fine tuning the best traffic flow for your home. However, the vested time and effort will be worth the hard work when your planning leads to smooth and easy movement throughout your home.