​Make your open-floor plan work

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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The age of closed-in rooms cut off from each other by walls is not what it used to be – but that is not necessarily bad news! Desired for their friendly, free-flowing attitudes, the no-walls concept is fast picking up in the architecture and design world, and not only in urban lofts. 

Open-floor plans work because they make a space look bigger, but also because they allow for a more socialised area where you and your friend can carry a conversation, regardless if one is in the kitchen and the other in the living room. 

However, with all the advantages and decoration opportunities does come a few challenges too. How do you link up the different zones? And how do you define the different spaces? What about merging styles and establishing a unique flow from space to space?

Well, let’s see what our options are…

Colours and lines

Since most entryways open directly onto an open living room (which is sometimes shared by a dining room and kitchen), you will need to be clever in terms of decorations. 

First of all, keep the colour scheme complementary. The same off-white tones used in the entryway above gets carried through to the open plan area, establishing a strong link. 

With the colour and open floor linking up the various spaces, you will rely on furniture to distinguish them. Our open plan above makes superb use of this: strong, linear designs in the kitchen, with a round dining table and ceiling light subtly interrupting the linear monotony, and then with straight-style furniture announcing the start of the living room.  

To avoid a cluttered look in a boxy space, consider adding rounded pieces to soften the hard lines.

Lighting

 Windows & doors  by homify
homify

Flächenvorhang von erfal

homify

It might sound obvious, but lighting remains an integral part of interior decorating, whether it’s open plan or not. And this is not limited to artificial lighting. 

Big, open windows that allow for a flow of sunshine is a welcome addition to any home, and goes a long way in linking up different zones. However, a large and beautiful window will only do so much if you opt for bad lighting fixtures, which can result in a dark and confused look in an open and airy setting. 

Use a set of recessed lights evenly across the floor to establish a basic layer of lighting. But then make sure to add several layers on top of this to distinguish various individual spaces.

And never forget that a dramatic chandelier or some striking pendant lights can greatly help with illuminating your open floor plan and add a look of organisation and visual appeal.

The great outdoors

Constructing walls in your garden to differentiate between the different areas would just be silly. Plus, what’s the use of being outside if you can’t enjoy the view? It’s up to following the same tricks as you would in open plan interiors to distinguish between, for example, the garden and the dining area. 

Aeronautec GMBH above opted for a stylish bedouin tent to firmly highlight where the al fresco socialising should take place. This also makes for a unique interplay between light and shadow, achieved through the use of lighting when it comes to interior spaces. 

In addition, a neat tiled area also establishes the difference in zone functionality, as well as the use of colours and textures for the outdoor furniture. 

What else could be used to separate spaces outside? Plants and flowers? Some miniature fences, perhaps?

When it comes to the open kitchen

Merging a kitchen with the living room and/or dining room is definitely the majority of open-plan living. And as we’ve said, choice of furniture can go a long way in creating separation between different areas. 

Our kitchen above opted for a smart peninsula to cut off the culinary space from the dining area, which works very well, as it allows for fluid movement / communication between cook and guest. And just see how the solid colour scheme of natural tones unites all the spaces. 

Be sure to see more stylish examples of kitchens here on homify, available in a majestic multitude of styles and layouts. 

homify hint: In addition to keeping the overall look consistent, the uniform use of colour makes the entire space (whether kitchen, dining, or both) feel larger.

Open-plan dining

Whether it’s a kitchen island, a peninsula, or a free-standing table, adding a flat working surface to your kitchen immediately presents the possibility of a dining zone. And forget what you’ve heard that dining rooms require a 12-seater adorned with elegant wooden embellishments and plush satin seating. A simple stool at a bar presents a very charming breakfast spot, but can be ideal for any meal. 

And should the kitchen require a bit more prepping surface for those five-course meals you’re planning? Simply move the stools and chairs out of the way for a decent preparation spot, and just move them back when it’s time to sit down to that scrumptious meal. 

Don’t miss our: Homify guide to choosing a great dining table

When work happens

minimalistic Study/office by Ronda Design
Ronda Design

Magnetika Home office

Ronda Design

With more and more people starting to work from home or telecommuting during the week, multipurpose spaces are becoming increasingly popular. And more often than not, this means transforming the dining space /kitchen prepping surface into a stylish little working area, since not everybody has the means of enjoying their own study/home office

And why shouldn’t the kitchen counter (or table) offer up a decent working surface? All you really need is enough space for a laptop and perhaps a file or two, which is fortunately not enough to leave your culinary space completely cluttered. 

But should you add an extra side table for your office work, consider using the same style/colour as your countertop surfaces. In addition to creating a more uniform look, this will also allow an extra spot for food preparation.

We hope our tips will help you to enjoy a neat and stylish interior layout. But if you have any more hints for that open plan, please share with us!
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