HomeDesignDesigning for Open Plan Living

Designing for Open Plan Living

Open plan living is high on many homeowners’ lists of must-haves when they’re building or renovating. Not only does an open space provide plenty of room for entertaining guests (without relegating yourself to the kitchen), but open plan also feels incredibly spacious, more airy and more welcoming.

The style does come with its challenges, though, and there are some key things to consider before you launch into a build. Here, we’ll talk through some of the most important tips for designing an open plan home.


Clear zones

Even though you’re planning for an open layout, you don’t want your design to be too free flowing; it’s important you maintain clear distinction between your kitchen, dining area and living room. This keeps everything from blending into one and becoming too chaotic.

  • Use rugs and mats to create defined zones – a high-pile rug in the living room space shows that it’s clearly different from your kitchen (where you’ve placed a waterproof mat).
  • Play with shape and layout: placing a chaise lounge between your living and dining rooms creates a visual barrier.
  • Install a half-wall, partition or bookcase to section of areas while adding interesting (and functional) elements.

Cohesive look and feel

While you want to have distinct spaces for living, eating and cooking, you also want to create a design scheme that flows across the room. Put simply, each area should look like it’s coming from the same palette.

Decide on a theme and colour options and stick to them across your space. That way, although your large room is divided into several areas it will never feel like anything’s an awkward add-on.


Room to move

When planning your layout, think about how you’re likely to move through the space. If you’re an outdoor entertainer, position your dining or living areas near the door to the backyard so you and your guests can easily go from indoors to outside. Putting your kitchen next to your dining area means you’ll be able to serve your guests quickly – and it also means people can relax in the living area without hearing as much noise from the kitchen.

Keeping things clutter-free

Because your home is open plan, you won’t be able to close the door on any messes; if you have guests over, the chaos in the kitchen will be there in plain sight. While you may not be able to shut the kitchen door on the mess but you can install some simple design solutions to keep clutter hidden away (or to stop it forming altogether!).

  • Integrated appliances slip seamlessly away for a minimalist feel. Make your dishwasher drawer the same material and finish as your cupboards, or install your fridge inside a large cupboard of its own. The less that’s on display, the more welcoming your space will be.
  • A butler’s pantry gives you a wealth of storage space inside your kitchen. Store away large or bulky items so they don’t crowd your bench and line of sight. If you don’t have this option, store big items in drawers with slimline handles or push-to-open features.


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