Keep calm in an open plan: our favourite ideas for open-plan spaces

Open-plan living can come with its fair share of chaos and clutter. Our design secrets will help you transform a messy open-plan space into a sleek and stylish heart of the home.

Updated

integrated dining room with open kitchen and glass door to the garden

Open-plan living is part and parcel of the modern home. It’s a great way to utilise the space available, bring in more light and also get more sociable in the home. If you’re not sure how to make your open plan stand out from the crowd, read on for the best open-plan living designs and ideas.

Define your areas with the right partitions

If you have a kitchen area and living room, you might want to create some definition between the two areas.

If you’re working with quite a large space, you could be bold and partially divide the space with a central column. You could even incorporate alcoves into the column for storage and add your own stamp with cookbooks, herbs or photo frames. The trusty kitchen island is also a stylish way to divide your areas if you - as well as being super handy for storage and for giving you more space to prepare your food.

For a more extravagant appeal, consider installing a double-sided fireplace to give each area of the room a dramatic focal point. This will work particularly well on those winter’s nights when you can hear the rain outside and want to curl up after a satisfying meal.

If you’d prefer something more understated, an open shelving unit will do the job - it won’t segregate the two areas too much and let the light flow through. This can also work if space is a little on the tighter side, as will actually using the dining table or breakfast bar as your partition.

Let there be light

One of our favourite things about open-plan living is how you can really make use of natural light to make a room more vibrant and seem even larger.

If your room is next to a garden, a run of sliding doors straight onto a patio area lets in those rays as well as a mood-boosting view of nature while you’re cooking, eating or lounging. And if you’re thinking about adding an extension, why not incorporate a stylish skylight to get that light-and-airy appeal spot on?

armchair and potted plant by the garden glass door

Create zones

Instead of following the exact same style throughout your space, create zones for each part of the room. For example, you could have a kitchen area, living room and playroom for the kids all in one space.

Start with a natural colour scheme for your ‘base’ colour, then add different accents for different zones. For example, brighter colours these would fit in perfectly in the kiddie area using cushions and beanbags - then you can carry it through with modern kitchen utensils and gadgets of the same colour scheme on your worktops. Go even further by choosing different styles of lighting for each area.

Use furniture wisely

A large, L-shaped or corner sofa is an easy way to zone off your living room in an open-plan space. If you have room, add a small coffee table.

To create a small dining area, a cute rounded dining table may work better than a standard rectangular design.

At the same time, you don’t want an area to be too cluttered. Make sure you have clear thoroughfares: consider going for slimline furniture and wall-mounted TVs to create extra room.

Use texture to keep things cosy

There’s a danger that modern open-plan living can seem a little too minimalist and uninviting. You can easily address this with some hygge-inspired, textured additions. A soft rug can make your living room area more inviting, and you can drape your sofa with a cosy throw.

Now you’re ready to go with these open plan ideas, why not explore how to create a stylish at-home workspace?

Originally published