Space, flow, and function. The design phase of your home remodel is meant to properly plan traffic flow from room to room, creating the best marriage of form and function. But how exactly do they give you a functional home and how does it affect your family’s lifestyle?


  • The FLOW of a house is instinctive – what feels right and what doesn’t. A home with “good flow” naturally guides you to specific areas. Bedrooms are in one area of the house, away from noisier rooms. The kitchen is close to the dining areas (inside and out) so you can get food to the table quickly and efficiently. It feels seamless.


  • The FUNCTION is the mechanics of it all; how your family lives and how you want to use your home. Do you spend a lot of time in the kitchen? Does your family watch a lot of sports and have regular movie nights? Do you want to keep a careful eye on the kids playing outside while you’re preparing meals? Thinking about how your family works can help when planning for utilitarian activities like washing clothes, storing sports equipment, etc to give you smooth, functional home.


Here are some great functional home tips to inspire you as you design and build your custom home.

Planning Makes Perfect

Poorly designed traffic paths will not only make your home feel uncomfortable, they can even create safety hazards. Start with a plan that helps you identify traffic plans that reflect the way your family will move from room to room. A simple way to do this is by placing an “x” in the center of each doorway, room entrance, hall, and stairway. Then connect each “x” to all its adjacent “x’s”. The lines represent how people will naturally walk as they move around the house.


One of the most important functional home layouts is the kitchen work triangle – the traffic path between the sink, refrigerator, and range. To properly design and layout your kitchen work triangle, put an “x” at the center of the sink, the cooktop, and refrigerator and then connect the three. Make sure nothing obstructs the pathways between these locations.

kitchen work triangle for a functional home
functional home renovation with grand foyer staircase

Traffic Path Design

An easy way to improve traffic flow and function is by wisely choosing the number and location of doors, hallways, staircases, and other openings. Choose a design that allows for short, direct paths from room to room, and location to location within each room. Don’t place a door behind a door – for example, an entryway coat closet behind the open front door – and don’t allow open doors to disrupt passage.


Avoid Door Conflict

Designers use the term ‘door conflict’ to describe what happens when a swinging door bumps into cabinetry or furniture or presents some other design issue. Door swings also dictate furniture placement and traffic flow. Some ways to avoid door conflict include installing pocket doors, replacing a larger door with two narrower hinged ones, or even relocating doors into a hallway.

Visual Tricks of the Trade

There are a number of simple adjustments interior designers use to improve traffic flow:


  • Mirrors are perfect to open up small spaces, as the light they reflect creates the illusion of depth.


  • Area rugs are a great way to “anchor” furniture, sectioning off distinct areas of the floor plan to create a natural order.


  • Focal points give a room structure. Fireplaces or large screen TVs can be a good jumping off point for furniture placement that allows for ease of movement, both within the room and from one room to another.

visually appealing functional home design

Designed for Living

The best-designed custom home is the one that creates flow and function that reflects your family’s unique lifestyle. At Abbey Design Center, we believe the time and energy invested in planning your custom home’s design ensures you ending up with a layout that best accommodates your family’s needs. Years of experience have taught us that a well-planned home means you’ll love living with the results every day! Schedule a conversation with us today to learn more!


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