Open plan living has taken center stage in home renovation for decades and the desire for open plan living spaces isn’t slowing down either. As an interior designer, I personally love designing an open plan home – it offers a welcoming atmosphere and encourages family and friends to stay connected while visiting or simply hanging out. In modern times, home owners with growing families tend to love this layout to help “keep an eye out on the kids.”
The objective of an open plan living space typically includes the kitchen, dining room and living room to be one, well, open space. This layout turns the main part of a home into a form of communal living and creates a more functioning traffic flow within the home.
The main design features of an open plan living space include;
- Heavy-duty beams as opposed to interior load-bearing walls to support the weight above the ceiling and these ceilings are often vaulted.
- A large island/peninsula joining the kitchen to the dining room
- A focal point to create an anchor to the space – this is usually a fireplace, large window or a grand built-in bookshelf unit.
- A cohesive color scheme to create a harmonious look throughout.
So, you have the space but now you need the tools to make a cohesive look – here are my top 5 tips to create the perfect open plan concept with furnishings and accents.
- For a smaller space, use large area rugs to help define each space
- For larger spaces – Just because you have the space, doesn’t mean you need to over furnish it. This will give your space a cluttered look and defeat the aesthetically pleasing and functionality of your open plan. Layer textured materials, a variation of art, a statement light fixture above a dining table to define the dining “room”. Go with at least 2 color tones on fabrics – I love using neutrals as the staple with a pop of color that carries from one space to the next.
- Group your living room furniture together – sofas and chairs in one space – and use a console table behind the sofa/sectional to create a “barrier” between the living and dining space.
- Open plan spaces need a cohesive look, as mentioned before, so I would suggest one wall color and then play with various textures, tones and lines to separate each space.
- Put you and your family first – before making decisions on pieces of furniture, consider how you and your family function on a daily basis and how you want the space itself to function to encompass that.