Sunday, April 01, 2007

Traffic Flow...And, I don't mean on the highway!

Check out this link to Decorating Room by Room for a discussion of how to analyze the traffic patterns in your home.

This article is referring to a house in which you already live. The idea is that we need to understand the traffic flow of a home in order to furnish it and decorate it. However, the first time to analyze a dwelling's traffic pattern is before you rent or buy it.

The same principles that are listed in the article above can help you analyze the traffic flow patterns of a potential dwelling. Be aware, however, that you will have to use your imagination to see the traffic flow in an empty house or apartment. In the same way, if you are looking at a place that has another person's furniture in it, imagine how the home will work with your furniture in it.

Before you decide on a home or apartment, give this topic of traffic-flow a lot of thought. How will people enter the home? Which entrance will be used the most? Can children get in and out to play areas safely and easily? Will you be able to get groceries to the kitchen easily?

Inseide the home, how will people progress from one space to another? Will their passage through the home be awkard or comfortable? How are the doors and architectural details arranged? Will you be able to fit your furniture around these items? Is the kitchen planned in a functional way? What about the laundry area? Will people have to go through someone's private bedroom to get to another room? Are there areas where people can relax without a lot of goings and comings to disturb them? Will someone have to walk around furniture to get to a doorway? Where are the light switches and phone jacks located? Are they in convenient places? How are floor and ceiling vents placed?

If you have a number of choices available to you, choose the floorplan that will make for the most comfortable home for your family. A convenient floor plan adds to a family's sense of peace and order.

Sometimes, you may not have many choices when it comes to renting or buying a place to live. You may have to settle for a house or apartment that has a difficult traffic flow. In such cases, you might eventually find the time and the money to remodel traffic flow problems away. Barring that, there are many creative ways to arrange a home's furnishings to help make the best of a poor floorplan. If you analyze potential problems ahead of time, you can draw up a plan to work around them.

When we sought to purchase a home in a certain area, we found only two choices that fit the criteria we had determined. Of the two, we chose a home with many pleasant features. It had a lovely yard, with beautiful flowerbeds, and an above ground pool. The home was in the location we wanted, and it was in our price range. However, along with the home's advantages came some major headaches with regard to traffic flow.

For one thing, the home office was located in an addition that was off of the major bedroom. That meant that anyone in the home -- guest or family member -- who wanted to use our office had to walk through my husband's and my private sleeping area. I won't bore you with other details. Suffice it to say, however, that the home had a number of awkard flow patterns. We had neither the time nor the money to re-model the house, so we learned to be content with the home just as it was.

Despite the problems with traffic flow, I don't, for a moment, regret buying that home. Some of our children's most pleasant memories were made there. We all look back on the years we spent in that home with fondness. However, if we had had a wider choice of options, we would have chosen something with a more workable floor plan.

Later on, we sold that same house to a contractor, who lived in it while he updated it to sell. I understand that he made many improvements to the home. I'm sure he addressed some of the traffic flow problems we encountered.

Sometimes, you may not realize there is a problem with a dwelling's traffic flow until you've lived in the home for a while. Again, you may be able to fix the problem with a little re-arranging, re-modeling, or by choosing to accept it as a minor flaw in an otherwise wonderful home.

If you ever have the privilege of building your own home, you will have control over many things regarding the traffic flow of your home. You can work with your builder to modify plans in a way that will suit your family's needs. Use your experience with past homes to come up with ideas for how you want things to flow. Also, ask friends what advantages and disadvantages they've discovered about their home's layout. This can help you decide which traffic flow features are important to you.


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