For many of us, open plan living is the dream. Particularly popular with young families, having everything in one place allows mum and dad to crack on with supper without having to run into another room when it all goes a little too quiet…
As practical as it is, it can be hard to stop it resembling a really big kitchen with a sofa and a TV plonked in the corner as a bit of an afterthought.
With this in mind, here are a few ways to make the most of your open plan living space:
Believe it or not, by not completely opening up a space, it might feel more open and less cluttered. Instead of removing an entire wall, perhaps consider widening a door frame or adding an internal window. This will allow you to have a clear line of sight through to the adjacent spaces, letting light pour through and give you more walls to position furniture against.
Light it up
The temptation is to run recessed spot lights all over the ceilings, but there’s really no need. In a kitchen, the areas which need light can be lit very specifically. Under unit LED strips cast much needed lumens onto the work surfaces, and the cupboards can be lit by directional spots pushed out from the centre of the room towards the units themselves. This will also help to make the space feel larger, as the light isn’t concentrated in the centre of the room.
Simple things like dropping a pendant over a dining area or removing unnecessary ceiling lighting in the living area can make a big impact. Also, try adding low-level lighting like table lamps to help define a space, making it feel cosy and relaxing.
There is no rule that says you must use the same flooring throughout. I love a bit of parquet as much as – who am I kidding? More than! – the next man, but different materials can be used to stunning effect here, blending wood and tile to create a division. Rugs can be an easy, less permanent way of achieving this, whist adding some texture to the space.
As with every space, storage is so important. Using open storage to divide a room is a great idea – just remember to keep it tidy and uncluttered. Changing the height of the storage units as you move into a different area is also a clever way of denoting a space.
Wall coverings and paint
A really straightforward way of telling people that they are moving from one specific area to another is changing the walls. You can be as bold or subtle as you like here, using block colour or shade changes. Wallpaper can work wonders too, adding glamour to a dining area or a bit of character to your living area.
Don’t forget to pull it all together with a bit of repetition
You don’t want the spaces to feel to distinct and separate. After all, this is an open plan room!
Tie it all together easily by repeating a colour or material throughout. Keeping materials like wood uniform will help with the flow, and throwing in a splash of colour with kitchen accessories, vases, objects, art work – even cushions on the sofa at the other end of the room – can create the necessary effect. Position the highlights carefully at the right intervals and it’ll draw the eye around the room slowly and rhythmically. Remember; they’re highlights. You don’t need too many!