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Exploring the Concepts of Spatial Design

This new concept of spatial design is a discipline that blurs the boundaries between traditional design sectors like architecture interior design and public art. The concept of spatial design takes into account all design elements within and throughout buildings, city streets and public places.


Spatial design has entered into interior design as a way of bringing a human element into the building. Using specific design strategies and psychologies, the spatial design of a room manipulates how we feel and the extent to which we enjoy living in it.

Traditionally, interior design as a concept has been all about enhancing the quality of the space in which we exist. Until recently,  It’s been a term used to discuss the decorative spaces of a home- strictly within the exterior walls. This understanding, however, doesn’t contribute to how interior spaces can be utilised or designed to create spaces that enhance the wellbeing of its occupants.

Spatial design in the residential space goes beyond colours, materials and furniture. Rather, it’s all about placement and harmony. If architecture is largely centred around the look of a building, spatial design is all about the bones of the building- its walls, ceilings, beams and foundation.

Essentially, it’s the glue that binds the traditional built environment together with the people who reside within it.

It carefully considers the movement and flow of people within a space and accommodates for the movement of humans to guide them through public spaces.

Take the following example of the notions of spatial design in practice: Oxford Street. Even during periods of mayhem there still exists some order of flow. We can anticipate walking in a specific direction at a certain pace for a given period of time to reach our destination. Simultaneously, the shop doors that line the streets remain accessible (mostly).

As for the interiors of the buildings- spatial design has a massive role to play. The work of city planners, interior designers and architects now converge to create spaces that  and beyond.

Spatial design principles

‘Human proportions’ are important rules to design by. In spatial terms, this is all about symmetry size, segments and measure. When dividing the interior of a building into a functioning living space, spatiality is at play. Space, divided by walls creates elements- each of which should all relate proportionally. This is critical when designing a limited amount of space. For example, the bedroom or bathroom might be half the size of the living room or kitchen.

These decisions are based on human proportions, practicality and efficient use of space. What was the traditional role of the architect, has largely and equally become the business of the interior designer.

Higher wall studs and vaulted ceilings are technically architectural elements that are manipulated to force the building to appear in a certain way. However, their mere existence has a direct impact on the role of the interior designer. The use of space available to create a design that fulfils a specific purpose and evokes positive emotions, is, therefore, central to spatial design.

Higher studs naturally let more light in, which contributes to giving the illusion of a larger room. Therefore, making the most out of a space is not a specific task for one professional. Rather, it’s the ultimate goal of all those interested in spatial design.

The ‘tiny house’ movement has generated a surge in both building small living spaces and designing them. Within this movement, spatial design has become the driving force behind the functional and creative design.


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Just as people flow in all directions, so too does light. Research has shown that natural light has a profound impact on your wellbeing. Being exposed to natural light can substantially alleviate symptoms of depression.

As with architecture and interior design, light is a powerful force in spatial design principles. Shedding light into a room from multiple places and directions, i.e. by having multiple windows on two sides of a room, it automatically changes both the aesthetic and the vibe of the room.

Seamless inside-outside transition

Who says that the ‘outdoors’ should stop at your front door and the inside space should stop at the garden door? Certainly not anyone with any regard for spatial design. In fact, they promote a flush transition that expands the living space, to include the outdoors. For example, a covered deck area that blends with the flooring indoors and an extended ceiling elongate the space seamlessly.

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