Living and dining spaces Print

​​​​​​This guidance combines the areas required for living rooms and dining rooms, which are usually located adjacent to kitchens, to allow freedom to plan these spaces in different ways.​

Terraced houses tend to combine dining, kitchen and living areas into open plan layouts and this is often considered desirable by occupants.  However where terraces are being designed for specific cultural needs it may be preferable to separate the kitchen from living and dining or other combinations.

A key design outcome is to ensure that the target occupancy level (two people per bedroom), and the fittings and furniture can all be accommodated comfortably so that the occupants can carry out normal daily activities in a convenient and relaxed manner.​​​

Better Design Practice

Living and dining rooms should have a minimum width of 3.8m

A 3.8m minimum width helps to create functional spaces that can comfortably accommodate furniture and allow for easy movement through rooms. 

When designing living and designing rooms consider how the space will function. Floor plans should show a proposed furniture layout. The arrangement of furniture should create spaces that are practical and pleasant to use. This includes:
  • A circulation space of at least 800mm around furniture and fittings. 
  • Access to bedrooms and bathrooms should avoid crossing through the middle of living spaces, instead movement should be directed around the edges of these rooms.

The size of furniture should also be considered when designing living spaces as this has an impact on the size of the spaces and circulation areas required. 

The type and size of furniture also affects the sense of spaciousness within the home. Standard sizes of living room furniture:

All living spaces should have external windows. 

Living areas should have a maximum window sill height of 800 to 1000mm above the finished floor level to maintain views out when seated.
Apartments and terraces should conform to New Zealand Standard 4121 (Design for Access and Mobility) for wheelchair user access. 

Provide a living space at the entry level of a terrace house. Living areas should also provide for: 
  • a wide screen television including cable routing for future satellite dish and UHF aerial  
  • multiple power points for accommodating appliances and computers 
  • wall mounted or free standing heater or a mechanical heating and cooling unit.

Dining rooms

Access around a dining table should be a minimum of 600 to 700mm. where the space adjoins a bench, wall or other furniture. 

Increased circulation space may contribute to greater comfort if the table is not accessible from both ends or if the space is bounded by walls, rather than adjacent open living space.
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