How To Successfully Nail An Open Plan Home

How To Successfully Nail An Open Plan Home

An open plan home is the modern design approach for the smart use of space. However, large spaces can be difficult to contain and decorate. For space AND intimacy, follow these essential tips.

An open plan home is a powerful design statement being spacious with a timeless aesthetic. Boasting freedom of movement, modern homes are now highly social spaces whereby the kitchen is no longer isolated.

As interior designers and renovators, the single biggest area of our work is designing an open plan home with a luxurious kitchen. This space is always connected to a casual dining and living area that flows outdoors via bi-fold or stacker doors. This creates seamless indoor-outdoor living perfect for the Australian lifestyle.

Whilst undeniably aesthetic in nature, there are certain rules to consider for the successful interior design of an open floor plan home.

An Open Plan Home Makes Multiple Rooms into One

In an existing home, it’s common to combine two or more smaller rooms into one spacious kitchen-living combo. Did you know this can have numerous benefits for your psychological well-being?

#1 Benefit: There is a sense of freedom when walls and doors are removed. The removal of these ‘obstacles’ creates a calmness which is highly beneficial.

#2 Benefit: Removing walls will let in more natural light to saturate an expansive interior. Natural light is one of the key architectural tenets that help create a beautiful home.

Are you concerned about noise levels, kitchen aromas, or the lack of privacy? All these issues can be addressed with the smart use of ventilation, textures and layering, and medium-rise furniture.

Retain Structural Integrity

When designing an open plan home, never compromise the structural integrity of the existing building. Always seek advice from a Master Builder to ensure load-bearing walls and other weak points are identified. Load-bearing walls can be removed but must be strengthened with suitable beams, ceiling joists or columns.

Create A Focal Point In Your Open Plan Home

Include a focal point to draw the eye to a hero feature in an open plan space. Great ideas for a focal point include a stone fireplace, an oversized window, or cathedral ceilings. Every room should have some type of focal point. However, in an open plan home, it’s also a way to create intimacy. Because furniture and fixtures can be created around a focal point.

For example, having well-considered furniture styled around a fireplace creates a delineated conversation area. This keeps the space open but also creates a more intimate environment.

Decorating an open plan home can be difficult for the novice decorator. However, consider having a suitable interior designer engaged even before the building stage. Why? Because a qualified interior designer will be able to analyse the proposed floor plan, identify ways to maximise the space, design joinery AND decorate the finished space.

An interior designer will use furniture, lighting, colour, texture, and accessories to fully decorate an open concept space. They will do this in such a way that the space feels intimate not cavernous.

Keep A Unified Theme

Open concept homes must be cohesive especially when areas are delineated with furniture, architectural features, colour and rugs. The last thing you want is a cavernous space with all the furniture hugging the walls. You can still have unique spaces with an open-plan floor plan, just keep the colour palette and theme consistent.

Easily delineate spaces with some interior design tricks. For example, define the dining area by placing a large rug under the dining table and chairs.

How To Define An Area

Define a living area with sofa and chairs in an L-shape, a C-shape, or opposite each other with a rug and coffee table in between. Use console tables at the back of sofas to add some height with lamps, books, and other objects. Therefore, creating visually exciting ways to add energy to your interiors.

Unify spaces by using a similar colour palette – either several shades of the same colour or up to three colours using the 60/30/10 rule. 60% is the primary colour; 30% is the secondary colour; 10% is the accent colour.

Designed by Plush Design Interiors. Kitchen with lowered ceiling area. Image by Claudine Burgess Photography

Use architectural features, such as a low dividing wall, a pair of columns, a bulkhead or rustic beams to acknowledge the difference between spaces. A bulkhead in the kitchen may be lower than the ceiling in the living room, for example. In the image above, designed by Plush Design Interiors, the lowered ceiling delineates the kitchen area in an open plan home. Image by Claudine Burgess Photography.

Open Plan Home Ideas for Other Spaces

Comfortable living spaces aren’t the only areas suitable for an open concept. As more home owners create their own retreat, an open concept bedroom with walk-in robe and bathroom is popular. A free-standing wall hiding a walk-in robe behind has become more common than a walk-in robe with a door, for example.

Bathrooms that are freely seen from the bedroom can maximise the space and natural light beautifully. However, always ensure the toilet is not easily seen from the bedroom area.

I love open concept living. Using a few simple tricks your open plan home can be as warm and luxurious as you wish.

Renovation Advice You Won’t Have Considered

Renovation Advice You Won’t Have Considered

Renovation advice is always best taken from people who have ACTUALLY renovated. As an interior designer, I help home lovers renovate all the time. So you can imagine I’ve learnt a few things along the way.

If you have read my earlier blog post on ‘Pre-Renovation Planning‘ you’ll know the important elements to consider when planning your renovation. So this renovation advice follows on from that post.

Once the pre-renovation basics are taken care of, you can plan the interior design. It is important to plan the interior design before you start renovating because it’s not all throw cushions and bed linens.

Why Take Renovation Advice From An Interior Designer?

Working with an interior designer isn’t just about choosing fabrics and positioning the sofa. Far from it, in fact.

At the time of planning to renovate, you’ll be dealing with Council approvals, contractors and suppliers. This is the ideal time to get an interior designer on board who can help you with floor plans, lighting, surfaces, flooring, colours and selections. These are all things you shouldn’t change once the re-building has begun.

sketch of a new kitchen with staircase

Select all the finishes, fixtures and materials before getting quotes. In this way, it will be easier for contractors to quote more accurately saving you money down the track. This is renovation advice you need to know.

Did you know that most interior designers can recommend builders and other tradies with whom they work regularly? Plush Design Interiors does not take kick-backs or commissions from the trades we use. Therefore, we can work with your tradies or recommend our own.

An interior designer will help you select everything you require to get accurate quotes from other trades. Further, they can also negotiate discounts from retailers or gain better wholesale pricing for you.

Look to Your Home’s Architecture for Clues

There is so much inspiration for interior design that some people become paralysed with indecision. Consider the style of your home and decide on a theme before you start.

modern spanish style bedroom with large oversize windows

Is there a stunning stone fireplace, fabulous wooden floors or surprising windows? Which architectural features can you enhance? Again, an interior designer will help to clarify the design direction for your home. Their renovation advice will give you a result that reflects YOU not them.

See some of the ‘Testimonials‘ for Plush Design Interiors to see what other people have said about this.

Consider Your Lifestyle

How you live your life is a very important part of interior design. If you have small children or a dog that runs amok you’ll probably want to reconsider those white linen sofas. Be honest about how you live your life so your home can be functional as well as stylish. Choose surfaces, fabrics and flooring that reflect your lifestyle.

Family spending time together at home. Father and Son looking at laptop

Plush Design Interiors LOVES The Textile and Design Company for super cool outdoor fabrics and knock-out sun umbrellas that are straight out of Hollywood. Divine!

Don’t be afraid to use outdoor fabrics and patio paint indoors if you need tougher solutions. Modern fabrics and paints can be tough but beautiful. Outdoor fabrics include soft and resilient velvets that are virtually child-proof and weather resistant.

In looking at the floor plan, locate power points wherever you think you’ll need a plug and away from water sources. A lighting plan prior to your build will be of great benefit to your electrician. So follow this renovation advice to save you money and heartache.

Choose the Right Lighting

Often overlooked when renovating, lighting is a very important aspect. How much natural light does your home enjoy? Should you install skylights? Lighting also influences the way walls and ceilings are finished because lights cast shadows or enhance areas.

3d rendering interior of a modern bathroom

Colours will look different under different lighting conditions – pendant lights versus wall scones, for example. Given you are renovating, get renovation advice on how to integrate lighting into the architecture.

Flexible track lighting is also increasingly popular. These moveable fittings have a come along way since ‘back in the day’ and are now beautifully designed as well as highly functional.

Remember the Landscaping

Make landscaping part of your plan. This will help with budgeting but may also relate to the colour and material choices you make.

outdoor contemporary garden seating in a townhouse courtyard

For example, when considering the flow between indoor and outdoor spaces. For a seamless look, choose the same or very similar flooring options that flow between spaces. This may become a landscape issue when creating entertaining spaces adjacent to the home.

Further, when it comes to choosing plants and shrubs, ensure nothing is planted that will block natural light from entering a room.