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What is zoning and how to do it right

Zoning is the act of creating separate areas within one space for different purposes or different moods. It’s a great way of providing a sense of structure to large rooms or for defining the different uses in a multi functional space. Here’s a simple guide to zoning in your space in 3 easy steps.


Step 1

Identify the different zones you require from the space. Remember not every single activity requires it’s own zone. You might intend to relax, watch tv, read books and eat meals in the same room but the relaxing, watching tv and reading books can all happen from the same zone whereas the eating of meals wouldn’t. So try not to go too crazy with the number of zones you want to create, when thinking of what requires a zone think of it about a change in pace or mood. Eating a meal with your family members will be a different pace or mood from relaxing in front of the tv so you would definitely want to create defined zones for those activities if they’re happening in the same room. 3 different zones in any one room is probably enough, anything more could be a bit much, however if it is a particularly large room or a large open-plan space you can definitely get away with more than 3 zones. Just try to keep it somewhat proportionate.

Step 2

Once you’ve identified the zones you want, you will need to decide on the layout and how those zones will be best distributed throughout the space. Think of it as creating separate islands within your room. Don’t be afraid to float furniture or zones in the centre of the room and then create additional zones against a wall or within a corner. Make sure you also consider the ease of travelling around the room and between zones, make sure you leave plenty of room for that traffic flow.


Step 3

The next step is to define the zones. You’ll do this using furniture that is particular to the zone. So move that display cabinet out of your play zone and don’t plonk a desk in your chill-out zone. Make sure the furniture on each of your zone ‘islands’ is relevant only to that zone. Then use things like rugs, wall and floor treatments or room dividers to further define your zones. Painting a wall of a room a different shade to the rest of the room and placing your desk and work storage against that wall will quite clearly define that wall area as your work zone. Placing a fluffy rug in the corner of a room with two cosy chairs on it would nicely define that corner as a cosy relaxing corner. You could then have a separate rug for a different zone within the same room. Lighting is another effective way of defining your zones. Different lighting for different zones can really help to communicate the zone’s purpose. Flooring can be used to communicate a change in zone, a good example is a kitchen/diner that has different flooring in the kitchen area and the dining area.


Give it a go! Zoning is a great thing to do in busy households to contain certain activities to specific areas and it truly allows you to get the most efficient use from your room.

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