Tanner Ashton Leslie - Interdisciplinary Design

principles of a living space

A living space is defined by many parts. These parts must work together to form a seamless system for work and life. The following principles apply well toward, and are designed based on a single room studio style space. I have found these principles to benefit my productivity, efficiency, and satisfaction with the space.


  • The entrance portal (usually a single door) should be able to stand in 4 states: Open, Closed, Locked, and Propped.
  • The entrance should be offset from the center of the room in order to minimize deadspace behind a door and maximize usable active space.
  • The entrance should allow efficient entry and exit.
  • Near the entry, a place of temporary storage or staging should be present. This area can be used for keys, items to be mailed, etc.


  • The workstation should be centrally located.
  • It should not be overwhelming to the room and it should not force engagement.
  • There should be sufficient and readily available on-desk lighting. A cantilever-action desk lamp is a good option.
  • Power supply and utilities should be contained and organized beneath the work plane to avoid disturbance of work.
  • Desk should be in standing orientation or adaptive. A high stool is acceptable for use when in a standing desk mode.
  • Work surface should be white or varnished hardwood.


  • Overhead lighting should never be used, unless it is designed for subtlety (e.g. recessed lights, dimmable, color temperature controlled, etc.)
  • A central open area should remain clear for circulation. Crowding of this open space kills productivity.
  • Walls should be treated as a blank canvas for posting of artwork, inspiration, personal mottos, well-designed posters, and other personal paraphernalia.

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