The popularity of open-plan living soared in 2015, with the trend set to continue this year. As more and more homeowners discover the advantages of this property layout, we present a guide to help you choose and maintain your open space.
Different living areas can still remain distinct and serve their own functional purposes in an open-plan home. Large furniture like antique cabinets or bespoke bookcases have a dual purpose: providing storage while also creating defined 'zones' within a space. Half walls, visual dividers or a split-level layout – with a few steps between the kitchen and living area, for example – are a clever way to distinguish rooms without separating them.
Identify the purpose of each section of the space, and choose lighting accordingly. Kitchens tend to require bright spotlights on work surfaces, while living and dining areas suit a softer ambience. Floor lamps and decorative wall fixtures with a dimmer switch allow you to adjust the lighting as needed.
Select unifying features
Decide on one feature – this could be the walls, furniture or flooring – to apply consistently throughout the space for a harmonising effect. For example, a parquet floor works just as well in a living room as it does in a dining room, and can be accessorised with Turkish or Persian rugs. Alternatively, opt for tiles in the kitchen and carpeting in the living room, but use mahogany furniture to unify the entire space.
Cooking odours, steam and noise all need to be taken into consideration in open-plan homes. Position ovens as far away from other areas as possible and ensure an effective extractor fan is placed above the stove. Installing sliding glass doors between the kitchen and the rest of the home helps to reduce the spread of aromas, while carpets and other soft furnishings prevent sound from carrying.
Tidy at every turn
Reducing clutter is particularly important if your open-plan space includes a kitchen. Design your interior with a separate food preparation space to avoid having unclean dishes on display, or a pantry to keep groceries and dry goods neatly stored. Open-plan layouts should be spacious but streamlined, and untidy piles of personal items can spoil this.
Incorporate separate storage solutions with multifunctional furniture such as upholstered ottomans. Not only can these complement a room's interior, they provide hidden compartments for DVDs or magazines to be arranged out of sight.
Make the most of the extra space
Whether you opt for oversized statement furniture, bronze art sculptures or framed watercolour landscapes, the additional room in an open-plan layout allows you to experiment. These bold interior features might be overwhelming in smaller areas, but will suit a larger space.
If you're searching for your ideal open-plan home, contact Engel & Völkers. Our global portfolio of luxury properties features penthouse apartments and sun-soaked villas, and we are represented in 36 countries across four continents.