Effective Space Planning Guidelines

Effective Space Planning Guidelines

Planning your outdoor room may seem like a daunting task. However, a few basic space planning tips and guidelines can make the process a lot easier and help you to create a beautiful and functional space.


When planning a living or lounge space, it is important to think about conversation flow. You don’t want your guests yelling across the space or feeling awkward by sitting uncomfortably close.

Personal or Intimate space: <4’0”

Example: Sitting side by side on a sofa. This distance is reserved for close friends and family-basically, people you feel comfortable with.

Social Space: 4’0”<12’0”

Example: Sitting in a chair opposite someone sitting on a sofa. This distance is optimal for holding conversations and is the distance people will put themselves in with acquaintances and friends.

Public Space 12’ anything over 12’ will be too far away to carry a conversation

Example: The distance you keep from strangers. You won’t need any groupings this distance in your home.

Anyplace you plan on directing traffic (example: you want people walking behind the two chairs to the sliding glass door) needs to be between 24 and 36” to comfortably pass.

Outdoor Living Room

Space between seating and coffee table: 9-18”

Height difference between end table and sofa/chair arms: 1-2”

Fire pit should be at least 10 feet away from any structure or combustible surface

If you are including a TV in your outdoor space, remember to consider comfortable viewing distance.

  • 40” Screen Size: seating distance 5’-8’
  • 46” Screen Size: seating distance 6’-10’
  • 52” Screen Size: seating distance 7’-11’

Outdoor Dining Room

Space between chairs at a dining table: 12-18”

Clear space behind dining chair: 24-36”

Photo: Custom Outdoor Space by Mill Brothers

May 7th 2017 Surroundings Store

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