Many homeowners forget to consider traffic when designing their homes. Each house has a high traffic area – common examples, including the kitchen, living room and hallways. These places should allow you to move comfortably, while keeping a sense of aesthetics. Since you spend more time in high traffic rooms, they must also be nice to watch. The key is to find a balance between beauty and efficiency. Fortunately, it is not as hard as it looks – all you need are some simple tips.
Start by making a good floor plan. High traffic rooms should remain open as much as possible; that is, no unnecessary furniture or structures blocking the flow of traffic. For living rooms, the best arrangements keep the central part naked, with most furniture near or against the wall. This not only gives the room more air, but also lets people more space to move around. Make sure there is always a clear path to the entrance and exit of any point.
You must also make sure that the floors can withstand additional wear. Children and pets tend to put a lot of abuse on the floor, so invest in heavy materials like hardwood or laminate. You can also consider using runner mats – these are long, narrow carpets commonly used for stairs and hallways. Since people tend to walk them directly from the outside (often with shoes still in place), they are specifically designed to suffer serious abuse.
To keep the room open, maximize natural light and stick to bright or pastel colors. If the space is small, avoid corning, skirting boards and anything that can draw attention to the walls. Solid colors create the illusion of space and help widen walls.
Try to keep the eye away from distraction areas. Choose a focal point near the door or window, so people do not hang out in the middle of the traffic. You can put a large plant indoors by the window or wall art on each side of the door, but not halfway between the two. For hallway lighting, you can install wall sconces – it's more intimate than ceiling lights and highlights the way without making it look too narrow.