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Layout: the arrangement of objects & spaces

Go to SeeMyDesign Layout

SeeMyDesign Layout to change room dimensions, scale, rotate at any angle, and color furnishings. Add a wall, window, door, sliding door or doorless doorway.

Layout as a design element indicates relative placement or position. The arrangement of an object's elements or an object's placement within a space can be aesthetically pleasing, but dysfunctional. For example; chairs, tables and sofas should have at least 1 foot of room around them.

Each of the design elements (color, form, pattern and texture) affect layout yielding design principles as the net result. A space cluttered with haphazard furniture and accent placement is not harmonious and breeds confusion. An organized and well-planned room balances each design element with regard to the space and its representation as a cohesive whole but may sacrifice rhythm.


When in Doubt, Layout
Weigh the importance of room activities, traffic flow, natural light, and the other design elements to establish your optimum environment. Layout as it applies to furnishings and accents within a room can be constantly altered to create new spaces and keep a living area fresh. Architectural elements like windows, doors, alcoves, and dividing walls are not so easily changed.
"While Western design was constructed around the central axis and golden mean, the Japanese construction was based on modular systems," Allen Hurlburt, Layout. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 1977.


Grid is the pre-supposed template for laying out a space. Its two-dimensional nature helps when studying inherent qualities of a space like flow, symmetry, contention, intersection, and openness. When working with traffic patterns and human space needs, it becomes a valuable tool. Interior designers will often start the analysis of a project by getting or creating top-down floor plans.

Layout Lingo (expressions often used communicating layout)

Use the following terms to define the expected feeling for the room.

Symmetric - axis or focal point-based balance. Opposing weight, color, line, arrangement with lack of contention and intersection. Reverent, calm, ordered, calculated and accurate.
Asymmetric - visual variety or spontaneity with contrast, intersection, tension and juxtaposition. Creates action, intrigue, and flow. Can be balanced to create overall harmony while retaining balance.
Tension - the natural focus provided by interplay between form or positive and negative space. Can be related to proximity, scale, angle, abruptness and lack of space.
Linear - having the quality of repeating objects or straight lines.
Dynamic - having the quality of action, rhythm or flow characterized by intersection, contrast of line and angle, proximity, and scale.
Static - lacking contrast, extremes or rhythm.
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