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6 Tips For Open Plan Living

Designing a home to include open plan living is a popular and modern approach. It means that you can cook, dine and watch TV, all in the same room. This can be great for family and guest interaction. But how do you separate these areas visually, whilst creating a unified design that enables all areas to work together?

LAYOUT

Plan where to put the different areas you will use for dining, cooking, and relaxing. It is logical to have a dining area next to the kitchen, with the sitting area after that. In this house the three areas are laid out in a triangle, so they are all linked. In order to achieve this, the kitchen is open at both sides. When the dining table is in use, the kitchen also doubles as a space that gives access around the table. This makes the plan more efficient when space is limited.

SCREENING PARTITIONS

Partitions separate the areas whilst not closing them off. We used walls as screens within our open plan area. These are used to house books, display art, hide cupboards, or create openings for light to come through.

LIGHTING

Lighting is the key. Think about both natural and artificial light. In this townhouse, windows in side walls were kept to a minimum for privacy. Daylight comes from large roof windows which spill light throughout the house. Our kitchen is bathed in light throughout the day from the sloping roof light, and this light is pulled through to the dining and living areas. At night a strong kitchen up-light creates the same effect.

CEILING LINES

Think about using ceiling heights and angles to create separation in open plan areas. A low dining area can create a convivial atmosphere. Put next to high volume areas the change in space is dramatic.

FLOOR FINISHES

Using the same floor finishes throughout, unifies the open plan spaces. Timber or stone can be used in all areas, including the kitchen. Here we have hard-wearing rubber tiles. If you want, soften these hard surfaces with rugs.

COLOUR

Keeping the wall colours consistent also consolidates distinct spaces. Here we have simple white walls. A splash of the same bit of tangerine colour in blinds, cushions and dining room chairs connects the spaces.