Picture a 3-legged stool, then imagine it’s missing 1 leg. The stool becomes unbalanced and cannot securely stand.
Now give a name to each leg—Feel, Function, and Flow. These 3 “F” words are what is required in order for a home to be the happy and fulfilling place it’s meant to be.
You know your home needs to be esthetically pleasing and proper function goes without saying.
However, if you are constantly nursing bruises from bumping into a coffee table or furniture edges, you’re painfully reminded of that 3rd. leg—flow—or lack thereof.
When you have good flow in a space, you can easily move about and have a comfortable feeling. Without it, you’re not relaxed; it discourages productivity; and doesn’t support the activities you wish to do in that room.
The reasons for poor flow are usually having too much furniture, or furniture that is larger than the space allows for.
Ask yourself 3 questions if you think you have this design dilemma:
  • Can you freely move around the room?
  • Can you easily move through all the passages to the space?
  • Can you use all the room has to offer with ease?
Answering no to any of these questions means the function and feel of a room will be comprised as well.
Following are suggestions that can eliminate this and give you a “stool” that is fully supported—each working in sync with the other 2.
Take a look.


Allow 36 inches between dining chairs and the wall so guests can easily move chairs in and out. Provide approximately 48 inches between the table and entrance to the room so movement isn’t impeded.
Contemporary Dining Room by Elevation
Plan 24 inches between chairs so guests aren’t bumping elbows every time they move.
Contemporary Bedroom by Erika Bierman Photography
Leave 30-36 inches of room on each side of the bed so you’re not bumping into furniture in the dark. Make sure walk space is open going into the bathroom or hallway for the same reason.
Contemporary Bedroom by Alma-nac
If your bedroom is small and narrow, consider placing a shelf behind the head of the bed.
Caveat: If you live in earthquake country as I do, make sure any items on the shelf are secured.
Contemporary Living Room by Cheryl Ketner Interiors
If your living room is tight, a round coffee table can improve flow.
Contemporary Living Room by Folio Design London
Another choice is an irregular-shaped one which also offers no sharp edges.
Contemporary Family Room by Décor Aid
Choose smaller pieces of furniture like these chairs and stools. You can seat more people and still have the proper scale and avoid a cramped-looking room.
Modern Bathroom by Affecting Spaces
My favorite trick in a small bathroom is to replace a swing door with a pocket door if there’s room inside of the wall. If you can’t add a pocket door, consider a barn-style door.
Contemporary Bathroom by Ira Frazin Architect
The same idea applies to the shower door. Install a sliding glass shower door to replace a swing-open door.
Contemporary Kitchen by Roundhouse
I know most of us love kitchen islands, but make sure you have 42 inches between the island and the counter for easy movement.
Contemporary Kitchen by Mackenzie Pronk Architects
Same idea if you have a dining table and seating at an island. Both sets of  chairs/stools should be able to slide back without hitting each other.
Contemporary Home Office by Blackbox design studios
If you’ve carved out space in a nook to use as a home office, allow 42 inches of room to slide your chair in and out from the desk. Otherwise, you may feel like you can’t breathe.
Contemporary Living Room by Andrea Hubbell Photography
All hallways and walk-through areas need to be clear of obstructions for obvious reasons.
Contemporary Dining Room by Hall Smith Office_Architecture
When your entire home has good flow, everything becomes easier in ways big and small. Take the time to create a space plan. You’ll love your home so much more and it’ll fit you like a soft kidskin glove.
If you’re having challenges with the flow in your home, email me at: me@nancymeadowsdesigns.com and let’s talk about it and find solutions.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to you yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Photos via HOUZZ


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