Open floor plans are all the rage these days and it’s hard to imagine them going out of style. They are wonderful for unifying family spaces – allowing sight lines between the kitchen, dining and living areas – and they are also ideal for those who like to entertain because they facilitate the flow of people during social functions.
Even so, there are open floor plans that flop, so you want to take advantage of the open floor plan concept and work with all it has to offer your home design.
Tips For Enhancing Your Open Floor Plan
The following tips will help you to see your open floor plan as a “big picture,” so that each space retains its own unique personality, while still remaining part of a cohesive and well-decorated whole.
Think in terms of zones. With an open floor plan, the boundaries between rooms can be blurred to nonexistent so start thinking in terms of zones. You may even include a zone within a zone – like in the case of a children’s play area on one side of your family room space. Zones are often created using a combination of area rugs, which anchor particular zone and furnishings. Furniture is also used, for example your couch may create the horizontal boundary between living and dining areas. A row of potted plants on a pony wall might have a similar effect. Zones prevent your open plan from seeming cavernous and empty.
Capitalize on light. A lack of walls and physical dividers isn’t the only thing that makes an open floor plan feel more spacious. The free flow of light does this as well – as long as it’s allowed. Take advantage of natural light sources, via windows, skylights and solar tubes. With the right placement, natural light sources can also enhance certain areas of the home at certain times of day – like a brightly lit family room or a dining area that glows softly in response to well-placed windows or skylights that optimize the sunset.
Optimize your kitchen island. Kitchen islands are one of the most universal dividers in an open floor plan, used to separate the kitchen from the living, dining and/or family room space. Don’t waste an opportunity here. There are so many roles your kitchen island can play and your interior designer can help you along with this.
For example, think about how you spend the most time in your kitchen. If it’s prepping or washing up, you may want to put your sink in the island so you spend more time keep an eye on – or communing with – your family than you do looking at a wall or small window. If it’s cooking, you may want to put the stovetop and oven there. If you have small children, the backside of the island can be great for using chalkboard paint and adding a few shelves for books and toys so they can entertain themselves. These are all easily covered up and re-purposed when they get older.
Don’t forget color continuity. Have your ever worked with a color wheel before? Your open floor plan will give you plenty of practice. While you don’t want everything to be matchy-matchy from zone to zone, you do want there to be some amount of color continuity throughout the spaces since one room leads visually to another.
Get familiar with complementary, contrasting and analogous colors so you can begin to play with what accents look best where. Also, don’t forget about the importance of texture. Repeating textures throughout the home is another way to create a sense of continuity.