In home design, we often think about building design, structural design and even landscape design.

But a new concept and term in residential design is spatial design, and it is worth noting for Builders and Home Owners considering building a new home in the coming years.

In short, spatial design can strongly affect how your home feels, and whether you enjoy living within it.

What is spatial design?

Spatial design is the design of the spaces within buildings, within city streets, public spaces and service areas. It is the design of movement and how the human population flows within those spaces. Humans move in a particular way that is well-researched, and spatial design caters to this human flow. It helps guide the public within spaces.

When spatial design is applied to residential design, it is a concept that goes beyond colours or materials; it is instead about placement and harmony.

We compare it to urban planning, which is just spatial design, but in a much broader perspective.

Spatial design differs from other schools of design and engineering:

Architecture refers to the look or esthetics of a home.

Structural design refers to the bones of the building: its walls, beams, foundation and roof, as examples.

Until recently, people used the term “interior design” to discuss the spaces of a home that exist within the exterior walls. This term, though, doesn’t accurately describe how the interior space can be utilized, or designed, to create a home that improves the quality of life and happiness of its occupants.

In Vancouver, living spaces are getting smaller out of necessity, and new buildings are constructed vertically, rather than horizontally. We have more towers and condominiums than ever, and the result is living spaces that are a fraction of the size of a traditional single-family home. Therefore, spatial design is more important than ever so that people can enjoy living in a small space just as well as they would in a larger home.

How spatial design affects how you live

When one-bedroom condos in Vancouver can no longer be more than 1,000 sq.ft., spatial design comes into play in order to maximize the quality of living within the small space, by making efficient use of the available square footage.

Furniture placement, storage, wall placement and the layout of a kitchen can all be considered as elements of spatial design within a living space. The goal is to allow people to flow easily between rooms and spaces within their homes to help them feel more comfortable and give the perception that they live in a space that is larger than its actual square footage.

Spatial design in efficient homes

Good spatial design is another reason to invest in a good Designer. It can be combined with energy efficiency to create well-planned spaces that work for their occupants.

For example, spatial design takes into account lighting and sun paths in order to create a sort of building feature inside the home: The light casts differently shaped shadows throughout the day. What’s more, the use of light can double as a passive method for reducing the home’s energy consumption, by reducing the need for artificial lighting, heating and cooling measures.

By incorporating spatial design into your home, a good Designer can create a space that is more pleasant and cost-effective for your family.