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Design and home decorThe Sheer Magic of an Open-Concept Floor Plan
You’re not one to care about knocking down a few walls? Truth be told, for years now, open-concept spaces have been increasingly sought-after.
If your mind is set on moving forward with open-concept living to further benefit from your square footage, here are some guidelines to help you make a well-informed decision so you don’t hit a wall along the way…
Open-concept living is ideal for conveying space in cramped quarters, foregoing partitions, as well as other dividers like doors, walls, and hallways. It's tailor-made for solo living or maybe even as a duo; an open-concept home, with its knack for bringing people together, also brings joy to families given the gathering space.
Great lighting makes living spaces more inviting and appealing. Without walls and hallways, light streams right in, unhindered, lighting up a space’s every nook and cranny.
In small units or homes, knocking down walls creates a feeling of space. By eliminating obstacles that create a boxed-in effect, the rooms appear bigger than they are.
The lack of partitions means the room’s purpose can be altered at will, much like its design.
Open spaces influence the way people navigate within a space and how they interact with one another.
Access to the outside world is forever present, while windows offer a panoramic view.
If you’re planning on selling your house, an open-plan concept is considered added value since most people prefer it over partitioned quarters.
While a lot of designers believe that open-concept spaces are here to stay, others state that, much like any other trend, this one too shall pass, especially considering the downsides that are worth looking into.
Open-plan living showcases all your dirty dinner dishes or untidy living room.
You’ll definitely need to get an efficient range hood to eliminate odours.
Pots and pans banging against one another, an action thriller playing in the living room, ongoing conversations in the dining room; room-specific noises are no longer confined to a given space. In a large room, noise will inevitably travel.
When eliminating walls, there’s automatically less storage space for closets, cabinets, etc. There’s a gain in living space, but a loss of storage space. Also, there are fewer walls to hang decorative items.
There’s limited privacy to discuss sensitive issues. And, when you’re entertaining guests in your home, they can see right into the kitchen while you’re preparing dinner, but also feast their eyes on the stack of dirty dishes!
Open-concept living refers to various uncloistered zones, as they once had been traditionally enclosed. While this concept is often attributed to so-called living quarters in a home (living room, dining room, and kitchen), it can be applied to all spaces.
It’s rather a straightforward concept: reconfigure several small spaces into one big room. Based on your needs, you can turn your basement into a makeshift loft or merge your master bedroom with a spacious bathroom and a grand walk-in closet that paves the way to greater and better. Or turn your mezzanine that looks out onto the ground floor into a bedroom that opens up onto a boudoir-like area.
Prior to reconfiguring your layout into an open-plan living space, carefully weigh your needs.
Consider every family member’s daily routine. After having assessed the needs of everyone, configure the space efficiently.
With an open floor plan that merges the kitchen and dining room, consider installing an island that will divide the spaces while also combining the two.
Open-concept living works wonders when merging a bathroom, bedroom, and walk-in closet. In a well-thought-out concept, you no longer need to walk through a narrow closet to access the bathroom. Take advantage of the space to configure a spacious and well-organized closet in which you can comfortably carry out a part of your morning routine.
More than ever, home offices are finding their fit. Instead of being partitioned off, people prefer setting up in the living room, under the staircase, in the guest bedroom, or in the basement.
Trick of the Trade
Prior to hiring the services of a professional, take a stab at it yourself! Put pen to paper, and give it the ol’ college try. It’s worth a try just to see what the layout could look like. When imagining your open-concept layout, use a measuring tape to get a better sense of the space available!
It’s best to work with professionals to ensure the process unfolds as expected when undertaking a remodelling project to turn your home into an open-concept living space.
Before jumping into a project of this sort, consult with construction experts, or an architect, contractor, plumber, and electrician as needed. Make sure the walls you intend on knocking down aren’t concealing pipes that can’t be relocated.
Take note of load-bearing walls. The latter can’t be entirely removed. You may potentially need to install support beams and columns. The best way to go about it is to locate all load-bearing walls from the get-go to better ascertain what can be done with those that can’t entirely be removed.
By lowering the wall count, you automatically forego some cupboards, much like the possibility of installing storage furniture like a sideboard, dresser, or bookcase. Therefore, you have to reconfigure the layout accordingly. A designer may be able to come up with unique solutions to meet your meets…without so much as cluttering your newly found space!
Trick of the Trade
Allocate a bit of space for a storage room! Stuff that’s just lying around or doesn’t have a dedicated storage space can be stored in it…temporarily or permanently. That way, you’ll be prepared to have guests over at a moment’s notice!
If we were to look at the current trend making its way in architecture and interior design, the areas most often uncloistered are this threesome: kitchen, dining room, and living room. Should you still be on the fence about opening up your home office and bedroom, it can be especially pragmatic in apartments and smaller houses, especially when you truly need that workspace.
Open-plan spaces benefit from plenty of natural light and facilitate moving around. However, while the space is much appreciated, the loft-inspired look is tired. The space available in the dining room can’t be carried over to the living room or kitchen.
Therefore, tricks of the trade were developed to better partition spaces. Oversize rugs, glass partitions, and a kitchen island/makeshift workspace are often sufficient to divide a lounge area from a meal area or an entertainment zone.
Furniture also makes a big difference. Unique and distinctive pieces, custom-made and tailored to the space, are increasingly sought-after. Such furniture can be purchased from craftsmen or you can enlist the help of an architect or interior designer.
There’s nothing like a giant bookcase to partition an office and bedroom, or a majestic kitchen island to divide a kitchen and dining room. A double-sided fireplace can separate a space without so much as negatively impacting it. In a space devoid of walls, architectural features are shared. It’s a win-win situation!
Trick of the Trade
While a glass partition is rather striking, you don’t need to build a new structure. A stone column, a fibro-cement wall, eastern hemlock beams… Use your imagination!
Contrary to popular belief, just about any home can be reconfigured into an open-concept plan. As a matter of fact, over the last few years, we’ve seen many small open-concept homes built.
Nowadays, a lot of cities account for modern neighbourhoods, filled with contemporary-looking houses that are particularly well-designed to meet the needs of young families.
An open-concept home is an architectural style in and of itself. While this concept can be featured in all homes, large, open spaces with lots of windows are typically associated with modern or Scandinavian designs or industrial-style apartments.
This design is accentuated with key elements: a brick wall and glass-tiled and metal-framed partitions for an industrial-like look; storage areas are concealed behind tall, floor-to-ceiling, wood-finished doors for a Scandinavian-inspired style; and a refined style combined with a bright and predominant accent colour is very fitting for a modern aesthetic.
However, in the United Kingdom, space being what it is: a rare commodity, architects are frequently requested to configure open-concept layouts in small Victorian and Georgian houses. By knocking down walls and merging spaces, you can create inviting and bright spaces without so much as compromising style-wise.
As we previously mentioned, the sought-after loft-inspired look is losing its momentum, yet isn’t negatively impacting the industrial trend that’s still fashionable in the city.
Selecting the appropriate colours to ensure cohesion between the different open-concept areas isn’t an easy feat. While one might be tempted by the easy route (a single neutral shade throughout), note that working with two or three different colours can add character and personality to your space.
The key to success: Opting for complementary colours.
Designers recommend using the same colour palette from one space to the next. That way, you’re relying on accent colours to create unity while simultaneously creating flow and interest. Make sure to carry over the same colour palette with your decorative items: curtains, throw pillows, as well as the rug, blanket, couch, etc. It really serves no purpose to coat every wall in colour. It’s all about balance and moderation.
Reluctant to try? Paint your walls and ceiling with a light neutral colour, and play off the other shades as accent colours to create a striking visual impact.
Another time-tested trick in the book is using wallpaper since it can beautifully blend colours showcased within a space.
While deciding on a colour palette is your first challenge, decorating an open floor plan is definitely your runner-up. In an open-concept home, it’s vital to carry the same style throughout and maintain the same colour palette to steer clear of a chaotic-looking space.
You’ll need to make tough decisions. In an open space, paintings are undoubtedly battling it out for a spot on the wall along with your family portraits and your kids’ artwork.
A few decoration ideas to consider:
Focus on the windows; picture them being like paintings instead of a simple apparatus used to filter natural light.
Opt for a few eye-catching decorative items. Instead of having five small houseplants requiring shelf space, get one big plant positioned in a decorative pot on the floor.
Avoid leaving stuff lying around. Pick a coffee table that has some storage space to maintain a minimalist look. A cluttered, open-concept space can be just as stuffy as a small, enclosed room.
If you happen to walk through a house that benefited from the services of a designer, take in the cohesion between the style and colours. Better yet, notice how the interior will often match the exterior. When walking from room to room, just like when entering and exiting the home, the transition is as harmonious as can be.
Open-concept spaces were all the rage in the ‘80s, and are still very sought-after today.
However, there’s a new trend emerging, one in which multi-functional spaces can either be opened or closed, depending on one’s needs at any given moment. It’s a savvy fix that seems to right all the wrongs with open floor plans: lack of privacy, loud, tricky to hide any dishes that haven’t been washed yet…
In these well-designed spaces, walls pivot in such a way to create multi-purpose spaces. It’s without a doubt what dreams are made of for many homeowners.
Setting up an open space that combines key living spaces can be easily replicated in a basement to create a family-dedicated space.
Rather than serving as a second living room or storage area, your open-concept basement can be turned into the quintessential lounge area. A space devoid of walls can easily accommodate a home theatre, gym, and pool table.
You can also set up a loft-like apartment down there for your teenager. An unenclosed and airy space benefits from ample natural light, as with this setup, windows are no longer few and far between.
The beauty of an open-concept space lies in its capacity to create inviting, bright, and versatile settings. The advantages detailed above ensure a more open and dynamic lifestyle. It’s basically an invitation to live in a setting that's moulded to your needs while fostering a harmonious and unrestricted life. However, you have to design an open floor plan that takes into account your lifestyle, aesthetic preferences, and family’s specific needs.
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Last modified 2023-12-20
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