5 Human Factors in Interior Design

Have you ever heard about Human Factors? This article will explain more about this interior design principle.

There are 2 important things in furniture arrangement, aesthetics and function. Aesthetics adds the emotional element to space. Function helps people to achieve their goals. In order to create the function, there are things called human factors, which we will cover as below,

Human Factors in Interior Design

1. Standard Clearances
Normal people need their own space so they can move easily. In interior design, this space is called "clearance". The list below is some standard clearances that most interior designers use.

- The width of the major traffic paths is 3 feet or more. But, it can be as low as 1.6 feet.

- The space between the coffee table and seating pieces should be at least 1 foot. The space of 3 feet will make people extend their legs more comfortably.

- The space between each person on the dining table should be about 2 feet.

- There should be a 3-foot gap between the dresser and a bed. 

- In order to make bedding easily, the 1.6-foot space from the side is expected.

2. Anthropometrics
Anthropometrics refers to the measurement of the human body. In the normal case, the measurement is usually standardized. However, interior designers are paying more attention to the people with special needs, for example, those who need wheelchairs or visually impaired people

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities should be served in the same facility. This gives the birth of the design concept called "Universal Design".

The list below is some design guidelines in the bedroom for people with motion impairments,

- Mattress and wheelchair should have the same height

- Nightstand and bed should have the same height

- There should be a gap around 60 inches between the door and bed to accommodate wheelchairs

- A gap around 36 inches is required for bed making

- Sliding door closet is preferred

- Power outlets must be at least 28 inches above the floor

3. Proxemics
Proxemics refers to the distances required by people to communicate in social settings. According to anthropologist Edward T. Hall, proxemics is different by each culture and there are 4 types of distances as below,

- Intimate Distance: space for physical contact

- Personal Distance: invisible space that separates ourselves from people

- Social Distance: this is the distance for formal social interaction

- Public Distance: this is the distance with little or no interaction

4. Crowding
Crowding is the situation when there are too many people in the same space. Then, someone might feel uncomfortable. In interior design, a designer should pay much attention to the client's preference. Because some people feel alright when there are a lot of furniture or decorative items around. Others may need more visual space.

5. Territoriality
Territoriality is how people choose the size of their own space. For example, in the shared bedroom, a person may feel that a specific corner belongs to him/her. In short, it is the space that each person claims. A designer should design both shared space and some dedicated space for each person.

Have you ever used these human factors to design your own space

- Nielson, Karla J., and David A. Taylor. Interiors: an introduction. McGraw-Hill, 2002.

Related Article
- 6 Ways to Use Principles of Interior Design in Your Room

Last review and update: August 27, 2018

About the Author

Patty Benjabutr is an interior design enthusiast. She loves to write about actionable home decor knowledge because she believes interior design content is something much more than a collection of beautiful photos. You can contact Patty via e-mail.