Saying that a functional floor plan needs thoughtful home design and planning is an understatement. It is the foundation upon which a family will carry out daily routines and activities. To create a functional atmosphere, the design must include efficient room placement. Each room serves a specific need and purpose at various parts of the day. With that knowledge, every room in a house floor plan can be strategically positioned in the most optimum location of the design. Having the right room and space, in the right place, will make living in the home a comfortable experience.
The location of a room should be such that it takes full advantage of the sun. The best room placement ideas will utilize this natural source for light and heat absorption. The location is totally dependent upon the function of the room, the time of day the space will be used, and the season (winter, spring, summer, fall). With so many factors, how are we to plan a room layout for the entire home?
With known seasonal and directional patterns of the sun, taking advantage of the its light and heat source is a key factor in deciding what room goes where. In the winter months, the sun rises in the southeast. It travels low in the south sky from late morning on through to early evening. By late evening the sun is setting in the southwest. In the summer months, the sun rises in the northeast. It moves high across the south sky throughout the day and sets in the northwest in the late evening. Because the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the side of the building that is utilized for solar gain needs to be facing the south to take maximum advantage of the sun’s potential heat energy (in the winter) and natural light all year long.
A north location is the most logical place for the sleeping area (bedrooms and bathrooms). It provides the greatest darkness in the morning and also in the evenings. Facing north is the coolest part of a house because it doesn’t have direct sunlight. The light from the north has little glare. Northern light is also consistent and diffused.
South and West Side
Facing southeast to southwest is a desirable position for the living areas (living room, family room, keeping room, dining room, study, office, and recreation room). It catches the mid-morning sun, the noon, and late afternoon to evening sun.
The east receives the early morning sunrise and mid-morning warm sun rays. The service area (kitchen, breakfast room, garage, utility, and mudroom) should occupy the east or south east part of the floor plan design. Rooms facing this direction enjoy a bright and cool atmosphere.
Following these guidelines for room placement will provide the best solution for planning a home design. These principles also extend beyond interior room to outdoor rooms. The placement of outdoor living areas should be governed by the pattern of the suns movement. If the area requires morning sun, it should be located on the eastern side of the the home design. For outdoor rooms that need evening sun, the west side of the plan is where it should be located.