Continuing with the floor plan.
If you’ve been doing the homework, you should now have a floor plan with the appropriate ‘seats’ in place. This very simple exercise shows you where people will sit in the room and what type of furniture you need in that room. Now you need to look balance and traffic flow.
In design school, we worked on floor-plans that we divided into 4 quadrants and we really looked at how they related to each other. Doorways have ‘weight’, they occupy space equal to the door swing and if the door opens out, at least 36 inches inside the room is considered door space. Get your floor plan with the seats placed on it and draw a line through the center horizontally and vertically. This creates your 4 quadrants. Look at the placement of the seats. Are they all smushed into one half of the room making one quadrant much busier than any of the others? If this is so, the room is not in balance and you need to give some thought to additions to the room that will help fix this. If you have, for example, a fireplace and seating in one quadrant, what is on the opposite wall to balance this weight? Use a bench and a large picture, an armoire, some bookcases – something to counter the fireplace. The large picture window on one wall needs to be balanced on the other – again use furniture, or large accessories to accomplish this. This takes some work and imagination, but it will be worth it.
You must also look at the traffic flow. How will people move through the room? It is not a good idea to have the main traffic flow pass between the sofa and TV, for example. Nor is it a good idea to force people to walk around furniture or plants to get from one side of the room to the other. We are creatures of habit and we will find the path of least resistance, even if it means moving something out of our way. I use the example of Frasier Crane’s living room on the TV show. Traffic was directed from the main door to the rest of the apartment by the placement of the sofa and table in front of, but backing onto, the fireplace, leaving a clear pathway- a natural direction for traffic instead of in front of the sofa; between it and Marty’s TV.