There are eight important activities that we perform on a daily basis. With proper space planning and use of clearance requirements you will be able to design a comfortable and free flowing space.

Clearance Requirements

Conversation Area 

A conversation area is also known as a living room, family room or bedroom. These areas should be out of the direct line of traffic but there should be enough room to comfortably walk into the conversation. Ideal distance is 6-8 feet with nothing farther than 10 feet. Anything over this creates a loud and chaotic area where it may be hard to hear.

  • Foot room between sofa or chair and edge of coffee table top 12″- 15″
  • Space in front of chair for feet and legs: 1′ 6″ - 2′ 6″
  • Chair or bench space in front of desk 3′ 

Dining and Eating

The dining room should be planned to accommodate the entire family and guests without feeling desolate when used by a smaller group. Any shape of table may be used as long as there is a comfortable amount of space in-between and around each guest.

  • Space for occupied chair 1′ 6″ - 1′ 10″
  • Space to get into chair 1′ 10″ - 3′
  • Space to assist in seating 4′ 6″ 
  • Traffic path around table with occupied chairs 1′ 6″ - 2′

Television Viewing

A television should be viewed between 6-12 feet dependant on the screen size and you should be able to look directly at the screen without staining your eyes or neck. Chair placement may cause you to look at the screen on an angle which could distort the picture. This can be avoided by choosing a TV mount that swivels. Television viewing space and conversation areas may be combined into one room. Choose a media centers that will allow you to conceal the TV during a formal gathering.

Computer and Study Space

A computer and keyboard only will allow you to get away with a smaller amount of space. A full home office would require an entire room with space for printers, scanners, paper etc.

  • Space between desk and storage system 42″ - 48″ 
  • Space in front of filing cabinet 30″ - 36″ 
  • Space for guest chairs 42″ - 48″ 


When considering sleeping space it is best to look at the size of the bed and the recommended space to move freely around it.

  • Space for making the bed 1′ 6″ - 2′
  • space between twin beds 1′ 6″ - 2′ 4″
  • Space in front of dresser 3′ - 4′


Enough room must be allowed around storage units to open doors and drawers while standing in front of it. The range for clearance requirements for storage units is vague as some storage systems can be very small or large. Just make sure there is enough room to comfortably open the door and get what you need.  

Food Preparation

This is an area that you may not be able to change unless you are planning a full kitchen renovation.  

  • Workspace in front of counter and cabinets 3′ -6′
  • Counter space between and around small appliances 3′ -5′ ( this may seem large but this is taking into consideration the use of the appliance)  


Bathrooms usually follow typical or standard layouts as fixtures are built in.

  • Space in front of fixtures and bathtub 2′ 6″ -3′ 6″ 
  • Space in front of toilet 18″ -24″
  • Space at sides of toilet 12″ -18″
I have included some furniture guidelines from yesterday which you can use in conjunction with these clearance requirements to better plan your space.

Word of the Day: Barrier Free Design

Designs where no physical obstacles prevent access for wheel chairs.

Happy Decorating! 


AuthorCamille Pacori
CategoriesImages, Text