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A beginner’s guide to space planning – tips for would-be designers

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10 years ago

The environment we live and work in should be a pleasant one. If it’s not – fix it!

It really is that simple.

One thing designers know is how to make the most of what’s already there. Real ingenuity lies in using existing materials to create an entirely new space, through careful arrangement and a little DIY. Architects adhere to certain thumb rules when preparing residential layouts – this article will deal with home design because other buildings in Pakistan have a plethora of code and technicalities which are impossible to summarize in one article.

That’s what years of design school was for.

Your home is your domain. It’s imperative you make the most of it.


This is a space that should be bright and welcoming. It’s the first room to greet you – after returning from the daily grind of work and traffic, the expectation would be to relax and unwind. The entrance lobby should be furnished minimally with shoes and coat racks tucked away (preferably in a neat cupboard – a built-in unit if possible). Mirrors in the entryway are great for adding more depth and a single decoration (like a sculptural light) would add a lot of interest.


The only way to de-clutter a kitchen is to make sure you have plenty of storage! It’s not just about pots and pans- the cutlery and dry food all needs to organized in a manner that ensures ease of accessibility. More often than not, people are surprised to find that tin of soup unearthed from the deep recesses of who knows where; if extra units are required it would be money well spent. Avoid molding and other recesses that can become a settlement of dust or spilt coffee. Smooth surfaces are clean ones. Adding a tile splash back all around the countertops is also a great investment – they are easy to wipe and add a seamless look.

When installing your kitchen fixtures, a work triangle is considered. It is a relationship between the sink, refrigerator and stove. The distance between each leg of the triangle should be between 4 to 9 feet, with the perimeter not exceeding 26 feet. Also, there should be no hindrance or tall cabinet between any points of the triangle.

Other things to consider are:

  • Aisles should be given a minimum width of 42 inches for one cook, and 48 inches for multiple cooks.
  • 3 feet of counter space should be allocated near the sink for food preparation. The sink itself should have counter space of 24 inches on one side and 18 inches on the other.
  • A stove should have clear space of 15 inches on one side and 12 inches on the other.
  • For seating within the kitchen, the space between the table and wall/cabinet should be 44 inches; 32 inches if there is no traffic.


When you enter a bedroom, it should be into an open space with a clear view of the bed. The wall with the headboard can act as a feature wall – there are various ways to accentuate it. For larger bedrooms, the floating bed concept is something to embrace – it frees up space around the walls and highlights the most important furniture item.


This is a space that should reflect cleanliness and fun. The colors should be bright and the lighting plentiful. Nooks and crannies should be avoided because they are hard to clean. Opt for smooth glossy tiles as opposed to textured ones – darker colors for flooring are the best since water spots are barely noticeable. Built in toothbrush holders and soap dishes are great because they free up counter space next to the sink. Niches around the shower cabin are great for storage – chrome or stainless racks can easily be installed in the corner.

When arranging the fixtures, its best that the toilet is partially obscured from the door. Upon entering, one should see a neat vanity with a lovely full size mirror. But those require regular cleaning; opt for a smaller one if the task is too daunting.

Drawing/Living rooms

It is the classic informal versus formal. Both spaces quintessentially cater to those who want to meet and greet. So arrange the furniture that allows for easy conversation. If there is a large window, make sure it’s the focal point of the room. Highlight the features you want people to notice. Carpets go a long way when adding warmth to a space. Investing in a great rug, coffee table and light feature would be worthwhile.


One should never underestimate the power of paint, the enthusiasm of the painter and rearrangement of furniture. Getting rid of something old and worn through upholstery is also worth a try. Avoid embellishment on drapery, too much pattern and too little color.

Your home is a reflection of you – make it a happy place.

So choose well or hire Amer Adnan Associates to help you select the best mix.