4 Layout Ideas For Your Great Room

May 27, 2013

Customizing your living space to work well takes a keen awareness of how you like to live.  It also takes an eye for space, color, size, and most of all function. The time you spend defining your needs and experimenting with different layouts can be a lot of fun and very worthwhile. When it comes to having a great room in your custom home, you have a lot of options. Great rooms often combine multiple rooms into one large space, which gives you a lot of layout options. Here are some considerations and layout ideas for your great room:

1. Include Other Household Members in the Planning

If you live with others, it’s a good idea to include them in your planning. If they aren’t, you may inadvertently create a room in which they feel uncomfortable and therefore won’t use. Living with others will also generate more visitors.

The great room, therefore, becomes both a place to relax and converse for inhabitants and a primary greeting place for visitors. More inhabitants and more visitors mean a need for more seating. In this case, your great room may focus more on providing comfortable seating and less on heavy decor in order to keep the space as open as possible for socializing. 

2. Define the Key Characteristics of the Room

A room is easier to design when you define qualities to focus on. Some key characteristics of living with others are “welcoming,” “comfortable,” and “inclusive.” What kinds of furniture embody these three characteristics?

What colors or combinations embody these characteristics? For example, what would happen if you chose your favorite color for the primary one, someone else’s for secondary, and an accent color that the most divisive of your cohabitants likes?

3. Determine the Focal Point

Where does the eye travel when you first enter the room? Where does it linger? That’s your natural focal point. Design the layout to emphasize it. If there isn’t one, create one. A fireplace is a natural focal point and so is a bank of windows.

You can lay out a seating arrangement around the fireplace that encompasses it or one that faces the windows. If there isn’t a natural focal point, walk into the room and see where you automatically want to stop. Try arranging seating in that area and let the rest of the room flow around it.

4. Consider Common Foot Traffic Paths

Hosting visitors also generally requires feeding them. Whether you serve in the kitchen or another part of the great room, you will want to place furniture so there is a direct path open to the kitchen.

You will also want a direct path open to the nearest restroom. Design your layout so there is a seating arrangement that traffic flows around (rather than through) to both of those places.

There are more layout ideas for your great room available, but including just these design elements and considerations in your initial layout will produce a satisfying, effective living space.