How to Decorate and Create Spaces in an Open Floor Plan
An open floor plan can encompass anything from a spacious urban loft to a studio apartment. No matter the size, open floor plans have a knack for tripping up even the most seasoned interior designers.
Spaces sans walls provide no cues as to where one area ends and another begins. So how do you tackle an open floor plan in your home? Never fear! These creative tips will help you conquer the challenges of wide-open interior spaces.
Consider the Space and Its Function
Take a look at your space, noting the size, layout, and any architectural dividing lines. Determine how many functions the space will serve based on the square footage. If your open plan is extremely large, you may be able to designate separate areas for TV viewing, dining, and relaxing.
Take advantage of walls, columns, and variations in flooring to dictate different “room” functions. If you have a wall that juts out, use it to divide the space into two separate areas. Similarly, the dividing line from a tile to wood floor provides a natural line of demarcation between spaces.
Take technology and electric sources in mind when planning the function of specific areas. Make note of the placement of cable and Internet connections, phone, and electrical outlets to determine an area’s use. They will dictate where your media area, computer center, and lamps will be located.
Create a Sense of Flow
Use paint colors and furniture placement to create visual divisions in an open floor plan. Subtle variations in wall colors (no more than one degree up or down a paint color chip) can give a feeling of separation between living and dining spaces.
The use of a sectional or sofa paired with low sofa console can create a perceived “wall” in a living room that extends into other spaces. Similarly, a combination kitchen island and breakfast bar works perfectly to separate an open concept kitchen and dining space.
While each area in an open concept floor plan should retain its distinct personality, the use of a unifying color palette creates a sense of flow from area to area. Try neutral colors for large-scale furnishings to maintain continuity throughout. Jewel tones in accessories and artwork add small bursts of vibrant color to create visual interest and movement in a large expanse.
Use Rugs to Delineate Space
Another great trick is to use area rugs to define separate areas within an open floor plan. Use two identical or coordinating area rugs to delineate your living and dining rooms.
Rugs don’t have to be huge, just large enough to anchor the furniture in each space. The gap between rugs actually serves to help divide the spaces, creating a visual traffic path between two areas.
Divide and Conquer
If you're a little uneasy with all that open space, create a sense of walls by incorporating room dividers. Folding screens come a variety of lengths and heights. You can choose a style and material to suit any décor – ornately carved wood, antique Chinese, upholstered fabric, rice paper or slatted, just to name a few.
If you want something more permanent, consider ceiling mounted room dividers that operate on a track system. This will also give you the option of opening and closing off rooms to suit your needs – say, for an intimate dinner party or to provide daytime privacy for a home office. If you're on a tight budget, simply install curtain hardware and panels from the ceiling.
Light Up Your Spaces
Ceiling mounted lighting fixtures can also break up spaces within an open floor plan. Choose a distinctive drum pendant hung low over the coffee table or a retro arc floor lamp to create a cozy conversation area. Use a row of pendant lights to divide one space from another. Try a long rectangular pendant over your dinner table to delineate the dining room.
Furniture Placement Advice From a Designer!
So, the next time you are in the market for a new home, don’t be hesitant to consider an open floor plan. You are now equipped with the knowledge and confidence to decorate those spaces like a pro!
© 2013 lindacee