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.

PhotoReal Renders Are Changing the Game for Renovators

PhotoReal Renders Are Changing the Game for Renovators

PhotoReal renders have become a game changer for interior designers and home renovators. Going beyond 3D imagery, this technology helps homeowners to become more engaged with their project.

From taking out a wall to adding an extension, photoreal renders are hot! Because they enable renovators to see how changes will look before demolition. Additionally, they enable an interior designer to showcase different ideas for the same space.

Think about your renovation. You’ve probably been clipping ideas from Pinterest and Instagram. Maybe you have a Houzz account and have been saving images in an ideas book there. However, your renovation is personal to you and your lifestyle. How do you know that an idea you see will work for you? An interior designer has a good eye but is also used to viewing many different spaces. Yes, we can see through walls. Well, almost. We need to be able to visualize concepts and final results. However, new technology does help us to help you.

3D Imagery versus Photoreal Renders

There is a difference between 3D imagery and photoreal renders. For example, one of my earlier clients wanted a two-way fireplace in her new living room extension. However, she was unsure how the rooms would work with a fireplace in the centre. She also wanted an existing laundry and toilet re-designed as a guest bedroom. That room would have access from the new living space. Would that work? Moreover, she wanted to know if a current wine storage wall in the kitchen could be re-designed as a small butler’s pantry. Could this be done by encroaching some space from the current dining area?

I was able to manipulate the 2D floor plan to show her what the space could look like. However, that’s a bird’s eye view. So, I was also able to use a 3D imagery program to show her the space populated with furniture. Just not HER furniture. However, it did give her an excellent idea of what the open plan renovation could look like.

Staying Ahead for Better Results

Interior designers, architects and builders must stay modern by utilizing the design tools available. When I created the 3D imagery above, I was pretty happy with the results. After all, the purpose was to help my clients make important decisions about their renovations. Now photoreal renders and fly-through videos are the icing on the design cake.

Kitchen + joinery design by Plush Design Interiors. Render by Maria Georgiou

Many clients have an idea of what they want for a better functioning and more stylish home. Nevertheless, they can’t visualize the design solution. 3D imagery has been a fantastically useful tool. However, it comes with limitations. For example, in some 3D imagery programs you can not ‘import’ the exact accessories. Furniture is shown as a ‘place-holder’ – a similar image, say, a white sofa. It’s not the exact article. Nor is wallpaper, joinery design and other important elements.

This is where photoreal renders area a game changer. Sure, it’s an additional design fee. However, if you’re renovating several spaces, it’s worth it to see the results before you demolish. Taking out a wall? How will that effect the traffic flow, natural light and views within your home?

Joinery + interior design by Plush Design Interiors. Render by Maria Georgiou

Taking Photoreal Renders To The Next Level

Spacial planning, joinery design, natural light, views, privacy and noise control are all integral to interior design. When we design spaces, we take all this into consideration. So photoreal renders will show you what views will be seen from a renovation. Renders can also show how natural light will be cast in a room at certain times of the day. Alternatively, a clever renderer, like Maria Georgiou, can show different lighting ideas. For example, the strip lighting that was integral to the masculine and moody wine tasting room I designed.

Joinery + interior design by Plush Design Interiors. Render by Maria Georgiou

As the name suggests, photoreal renders have a photographic quality. You may see images on Pinterest and Instagram without realising they are photoreal renders. This technology can be used to represent any interior or exterior space.

When it comes to your costly and important renovation, floor plans are only one design element. You’ll also need 2D elevations of joinery design, 3D sketches of design concepts, mood boards and selections list. To understand more about what we do at Plush Design Interiors, please view our Flip Book.

Functional Kitchen Design Tips You’ll Love

Functional Kitchen Design Tips You’ll Love

A functional kitchen is much better than a stylish one, BELIEVE ME. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have both. Meld style AND function for your best kitchen yet.

Kitchens are one area that must be incredibly functional. If you can’t work easily in a space, find everything you need and be cool under cooking pressure then you may not have a functional kitchen.

When re-designing your kitchen floor plan and/or renovating, always keep in mind how YOU use your kitchen. When I discuss with my clients their new kitchen, I ask them to disregard what they think about kitchens in general and focus on their use of the kitchen.

A Functional Kitchen Depends on How YOU Use It

Families will use a kitchen differently from singles, for example. People who love to cook will have different needs from people who virtually only use the microwave.

Positioning of appliances can be a highly personal area depending on preference and usage. Some people like the cook top in the centre island, some like a sink and others prefer neither.

If you want a kitchen merely for show and using the microwave, then your use of the space will be different from someone who loves to cook and entertain for family and guests. It’s important to have a space that functions well rather than simply a good-looking kitchen.

What Special Needs Do You Have?

In an open plan space, do you want to hide dirty dishes in a Butler’s Pantry? Will you have people eating at the counter or do you prefer sitting at a table? Do you need a drawer for your vast collection of spices close to the cooktop, or can they be relegated to the pantry?

top view of an open kitcne drawer with utensils

What special storage or cooking equipment will you need? Do you bake and roll pastry so often you need a marble counter top? Your functional kitchen is specific to you.

How Many People Will Use The Kitchen?

There are as many ways to create a functional kitchen as there are people. So when renovating, consider how many people will use the space at one time. Think about the traffic flow and easy access to the pantry, fridge and appliances.

group of freidns chatting at a kitchen counter

Natural light is  usually a bonus, however think about whether you have too much or too little. Can you make design changes to accommodate this?

Are you someone who likes to have things on display? Or do you prefer seamless cupboards with all appliances integrated and hidden?

Get The Floor Plan Right First

There are generally no right or wrong answers if you’re honest about how YOU use your kitchen. However, get the floor plan right FIRST and then turn your attention to colours and surfaces.

If you get caught up deciding on colours and surfaces you’ll miss important decisions for your most functional kitchen. get the floor plan and flow right FIRST because you’re other decisions will flow from that.

It’s your home, so love where you live.

Functional Kitchen Elements To Consider

  • Island or peninsula counters
  • New or cabinet upgrades             
  • Updated appliances
  • New tapware
  • Attractive bar stools                    
  • Potted plants
  • Chopping block                         
  • Task lighting
  • Open shelving                            
  • Colourful cookbooks
  • Patterned splashback                   
  • Decorative kitchen mat
  • Recycling bins                            –
  • Window treatments

Plush Design Interiors use + recommends;

Harvey Norman Commercial for a full range of well-priced and superior quality kitchen appliances

Reece for kitchen sinks and tapware

Beacon Lighting for kitchen pendants + dining lighting

We work with many high-quality Australian brands and suppliers for a full range of everything you need for your kitchen renovation. Please ask us how we can save you time + money.

How To Create A Real (or Authentic) Home

How To Create A Real (or Authentic) Home

It may seem odd that I’m writing about having a real or authentic home. I mean, it’s YOUR home so it’s totally authentic, right? So why do homeowners hire an interior designer?

Many people hire a decorator or interior designer for different reasons. Often they have no time to do it themselves, even though they want an authentic home that’s personal to them.

However the most common reason for hiring an interior designer is because most people don’t trust their own instincts and ideas. Of course, I don’t want to do myself out of a job because I LOVE what I do.

You may also like to read the article on ‘Breaking Design Rules‘ on this blog.

However, I also discuss with my clients the importance of having a home THEY love. It’s not my role to tell clients what to do. Moreover, my role is to interpret what a client wants in the most functional and stylish ways. And maybe break a few design rules along the way.

Getting Your Authentic Home

The atmosphere or feeling of a room is very important. In addition, this translates to the style and theme of the whole house.

For example, it would seem a little strange to have a minimalist living space but a kitchen that is rustic country or Hamptons inspired.. Instead, aim for interiors, and exteriors, that convey YOUR loves and lifestyle.

Tapping Into Your Neighbourhood

In order to create a real or authentic home, pay attention to the architecture of your home both inside and outside. Take photos of your home, its garden and your immediate neighbourhood.

Walk around your neighbourhood to take in the ‘flavour’ of where you live. Make notes that describe how you feel about what you are seeing. It’s very likely you purchased the home because of the style it’s style, the land and views, or the neighbourhood.

Can you take some of those exterior concepts indoors? This will create another level of authenticity in your home.

Authentic Homes Live

Don’t be afraid to mix styles. For example, if you live in a heritage home don’t feel you have to be a slave to the period. You can acknowledge the heritage whilst creating your own wonderful juxtaposition of styles.

This not only creates a personality-filled home but it’s also very authentic to your loves and lifestyles. As always, love where you live.

Home Styling Tips With Easy Ideas for Every Room

Home Styling Tips With Easy Ideas for Every Room

Home styling tips don’t require a renovation or hours spent with an interior designer. Whilst interior designers have an expert eye and can save you from making expensive mistakes, with a few styling tips you can personalize any room.

You could say that ‘styling’ is the art of arranging of objects so they are pleasing to the eye. A home should never be ‘perfect’. A home should be relaxed, stylish, surprising, entertaining.

So having items off-centre or injecting a surprising colour is a fun way to showcase your personality. The home styling tips shown here are not exhaustive but they are easy to execute. You may have noticed than many celebrity stylists and interior designers, view home styling as the final process is creating a beautiful home.

Home Styling Tips for Your Living Room:

– if you have different table lamps then keep the side tables uniform to show cohesion

– inject curves into an angular room with rug patterns, a round ottoman, or a curved arm to a chair

Plush Design Interiors

– if you have matching furniture then mix up the colours and patterns in the cushions

– use a rug to ‘ground’ the conversation area

– inject a bold colour even in a small way, such as a vase or the trim on a cushion

Home Styling Tips for Your Bedroom

– keep the bedroom restful but personality packed

– use fun and quirky items that have no place in another room. This is your private space so let your hair down

– have a calming tonal palette but use pattern and texture to liven things up

– in a small bedroom don’t use large-scale fabric prints as they will make the room feel smaller

– fresh flowers are never out of place in a bedroom

Home Styling Tips for Your Kitchen

– have a beautiful tray laid with a jug of lemon and mint infused water and gorgeous glasses

– add the warmth of wood, natural fibres and ceramics to a black and white kitchen

– place your stylish soap dispenser and hand cream on a hand thrown pottery plate

– create a vignette using an upright wooden chopping board, a mix of fruits, a plate stand, artisan bread and interesting old cutlery

– buy a fabulous copper pot and display it on the cooktop

– use small art works to create interest in unexpected places

Home Styling Tips for Your Dining Room

– use large leafy branches in a table centre display instead of flowers

– tall sculptural plants help to move your eye around the room

– use a fabulous drinks cart to display decanters, glasses, premium liquor and cocktail paraphernalia

Plush Design Interiors works with West Elm as one of our valued suppliers

– display art works and signs that relate to eating and drinking

– use wooden pizza paddles on display with wooden trays and cutting boards

– in winter, place a couple of sheepskin rugs or mohair throws casually over a couple of dining chairs