The Australian Dream Series

 
 
 

Room sizes & layouts - Lounge Rooms


The design considerations for the size and configuration of Lounge areas should take into account -
Is the area to be a formal lounge area separate from the regular living areas of the home, or is it to be designed to be a combination of Family/Living areas?
If it is to be a separate formal lounge area, then it will most likely be used more of an evening to entertain guests, and therefore any views and light or warmth gained from the sun may not be a priority.
If the area is to be used as part of the regular functioning of the home, then the outlook and the benefit of solar warming to the room will be of more importance.

Is the dining area to be included in the Lounge area or designed as a separate Formal Dining area? - In temperate climates, looking across an open seating area to an open fire or combustion fire can add to the atmosphere. Low dividers or planters, or even a subtle change in floor levels, can define the dining area within the room whilst retaining the feeling of spaciousness.
The layout of furniture in any Lounge area is usually one of the main considerations in it's configuration and will vary to suit different lifestyles and climates.

Will the area be used solely for entertaining or will it also be used regularly by other members of the family?
Will it double as a parents retreat away from the family area for reading or watching television?

 


This figure shows a Lounge area with the seating orientated around open fireplace. The included Dining area is situated at the Kitchen end of the room for easier serving and is defined solely by the shape of the room with the angled wall.
The main walkway (traffic area shown dotted) from the Entry to the Family/Kitchen is placed along the Ensuite wall to maximise the available area for the placement of furniture.
Windows have been located to give plenty of light to both areas and to build upon the open feeling of the room.

 


A variation of the design with the combustion fire location set into the room, defining the main traffic area. By using a low solid wall at the back of the unit, the visual expanse of the room is not reduced.
The Dining area is less defined and is 'drawn' more into the room, as the focal point (of the fire) has been centrally located.
When coming from the Entry, the placement of the Family room doorway provides a view through to the end of the Family room, building on the open and light feeling of the home.  Doorway placement is an important design tool.

 


In this figure the placement of the combustion fire creates one principal traffic area enabling more flexibility with furniture layout. Although the dining table is removed from its previous closeness to the Kitchen, it is still quite workable if being used in addition to a regular meals table in the Kitchen/Family area.
In this layout furniture can be rearranged to, for example, look out onto the garden area. In winter the focal point of a Living room is normally the fire, particularly if it is an open fire in a house without central heating, and so the furniture is arranged around it. In the summer however the fireplace loses its importance and the windows and views become more interesting. A free standing combustion fire can 'work in the background' and if positioned correctly, does not need to be a focal point of the room. These units also have the advantage of being relocatable in the room if circumstances change.

 


Designing to influence the traffic flow paths through all rooms is important but possibly more so with the Family and Lounge areas which are subject to the greatest family and visitors movements.
From the above diagram if we envisage the Entry being located to the indoor fernery area, then it is obvious that the room will not be as nearly functional as the original layout.
Having the Entry door in one corner of the room, the Ensuite towards another followed by the Family/Kitchen and sliding external glass door in the remaining corners will create a mass of traffic areas not only making furniture placement difficult but detracting from the snug yet open appeal of the room

Finally, cross flow ventilation is another important aspect of all room designs. The ability to capture cool summer breezes to quickly lower indoor temperatures will make your home far more comfortable to live in and also reduce the need for or the use of artificial cooling systems. As well as placing windows on the northern side of the room or home to benefit from summer sun warmth, windows should also be located to maximise on cooling breezes. Depending upon the home design it may be necessary to funnel these breezes from an adjacent room.

In conclusion of 'Lounge Room design' it should be noted that colour schemes, furnishings and the like all add to the atmosphere of the room and can be altered readily to suit the seasons or changing fashions etc, but a badly designed layout is there possibly forever.

 

Room sizes & layouts - Family Rooms >>