It seems we are keen to open up our homes as so many of us are choosing to say goodbye to walls. Open plan living is becoming increasingly popular, and one of the top home renovation choices, as it allows us to live in a multifunctional, light, open and versatile space. If designed correctly, the space can be a contemporary, airy and bright social hub for your family where you can all spend time together without being on top of each other. However, a successful scheme needs to be considered carefully when planning as there are a number of practical considerations which need to be taken into account.
Using ‘zones’ and room dividers can really help to ensure your open space doesn’t feel cold or unwelcoming. Mid-height divisions between zones can really help, for example incorporating an island into your kitchen design is an easy way to help to create a divide between zones without losing light. To visually separate spaces, decorate each area with different hues and shades of colour and mix and match with complementary but different floor types.
Even though walls are what you are trying to get away from, imagining ‘invisible walls’ can help when trying to plan furniture and lighting placement.
Structural features can really enhance your scheme and add character to your open space. The use of beams can be used to indicate a change in area. Varying the ceiling levels are a good way to differentiate between zones, for example lower ceilings in the lounge area can create an intimate and snug feel. To continue, suspending items from the ceiling can be an effective way to divide a multi use space.
Open plan spaces need to serve more than one purpose as they are often the kitchen, living room and dining area all in one. Therefore, when designing you should try to make the most of the functions of the room. Furniture placement will affect the visual flow of the space in different ways so carefully placing furniture is a great way to utilise space and define the different ‘zones’ of your home. A corner or ‘L’ shaped sofa can help to outline your lounge and create a cosy and intimate area to relax. Freestanding furniture can be used to differentiate the areas, and give shape, style and structure to a large room. Shelving units are a simple and great way to create extra storage space whilst also allowing you to divide a multi use space.
Lighting can help really help to set the tone of your space as the openness allows the light travel across the whole floor plan. Contrasting lighting can add character and interest to your open space. The lighting needs to be varied in each ‘room’ to illuminate the space. This can be expressed by adding different levels of lighting which will also help to add warmth and style. For example, floor lamps can help to define areas and highlight details. In addition to this, having a connection to the outdoors, for example patio doors in the lounge area, will help to make the most of natural light and is a great way to keep the room light, energetic, dynamic and lively.