Open space interiors have been all the rage in modern and contemporary designs in recent years. Allowing a great deal of fluidity and flexibility among the functional spaces in your home, open plan designs offer a lot of benefits in your interior design. An open concept in residential interior design generally minimizes the number of separations between rooms, enclosing only private spaces such as bathrooms and bedrooms, while combining the other living spaces into a single well-executed space.
As such, the openness of such interiors makes your spaces feel more sociable and airy, with ample light flowing seamlessly into all the corners of your home. Your living room, dining room area, and kitchen stay connected and open to each other.
Top 5 Considerations when Designing Open Space Interiors
The design of open space interiors comes with a few challenges, that when not properly addressed in your design execution, may make your living spaces less functional, productive, or aesthetically pleasing. The following are the key aspects that you need to consider when designing your open concept space.
Despite creating uniquely connected spaces that share a comfortable level of openness, an open plan layout tends to create an environment that lacks privacy, compared to the standard closed floor design. Without walls separating the living areas, open plan interiors pose the challenge of creating intimate spaces that allow for a degree of privacy where needed. Design around open space interiors in such a functional way that it will work for you and your family.
Since the sounds from the different zones of your living spaces cannot be adequately contained due to the lack of walls, open space interiors tend to be a little too noisy when every area in your home is in use. The noise from your kitchen, for instance, may not be easily contained from the open plan living room, and the noise from your kids watching television or playing video games will just as easily flow into your dining room spaces.
Designing noise-free areas and finding ways to create versatile noise barriers without bringing about obstructions in your open living room space is therefore crucial in creating more quiet zones where you can relax after a long day of work.
3. Visual Clutter
When not properly executed, open floor plans have a high potential for visual clutter. Being able to see all across the room and among all your living spaces at once, leaves a lot to see within the eye’s field of view compared to the closed floor plan layouts. Therefore, incorporating smart organizing tactics and coordinating your home design can keep your open-plan space feeling minimalist and uncluttered.
The lack of adequate wall partitions in open floor plan interiors may also affect the amount of storage in your home by posing a challenge for inbuilt shelving and storage units. However, there are still a number of standalone storage fixtures that you can effortlessly incorporate into your open space interiors. Finding ways to maximize all the possible storage locations in your home is also essential.
5. Furniture Placement
The reduction in wall space against which to place your furniture may affect your furniture placement. Ensure that all functional furniture is placed in your open plan space in such a way that they remain functional and organized enough to maximize the use of the space. Furniture placement plays a major role in open space interiors and in defining your spaces.
8 Tips and Tricks for Well-Executed Open Space Interiors
With the above considerations in mind, designing magnificent open space interiors requires a constructive balance of openness and privacy, reaping the several benefits of open plan design without compromising on the functionality of the space. Here are some tips and tricks for executing your open space interiors like a pro!
1. Define Various Activity Zones
Designing open space interiors requires forethought in every design detail in your home prior to execution. Understanding the different activities that occur in your living spaces, the requirements for each activity zone, and how each area connects and interacts with the other is an important aspect that cannot be simply overlooked.
For residential home interiors, the various zones could include the living area, dining room area, kitchen area, home office, or any other areas where you would spend most of your time with friends and family. Going a step further to identify the individual activities such as entertainment, cooking, or reading, will allow you to create a dedicated design for the performance of these activities within the general context of an open layout.
2. Ensure Flow of Spaces
Once you have identified the various activity zones, you will need to embark on space planning. Create a layout of these zones, paying keen attention to how these spaces will function. How will people move around? Can you create a visual hierarchy between different areas? Do you want people to move around freely or do you want them to be more focused on the purpose of each area? Which areas would require a little more privacy than the rest? An L-Shaped Layout, for instance, could create a bit of privacy between the kitchen and the living area, allowing your guests to interact and relax without any distractions.
3. Group Furniture in a Functional Way
To achieve the aesthetic appeal that comes with open space interiors, planning the seating and furniture arrangement in your space is crucial in the definition of your spaces. Each activity requires a different set of furniture, and grouping your furniture can be a distinct way of defining which activity is performed at each zone. From couches to dining seats, work desks, kitchen islands, kitchen cabinets, and shelves, grouping furniture can help you achieve a sleek look while also giving every piece its own distinct place within the overall design scheme of your home's interiors.
A great strategy to implement in furniture placement in open interiors is to make use of negative space, leaving clear blank space between the various furniture sets. This reduces visual clutter and clearly outlines where one zone ends and where the next begins, thus creating separate spaces from the entire public space. Ensure to install furniture that is proportionate to the size of your living area.
4. Create Focal Points in the Room
One way to add personality, interest, and order to an open space design is by creating visual anchors at every activity zone, around which you can execute your design for that area. These can be anything from a gallery wall in the dining area to an abstract artwork art piece above the mantel in the living area, highlighting the unique feature in each zone. Art in interior design also draws people's attention away from other areas of the room so they have an interesting point of focus within their line of sight.
Read Also: Art Gallery Interior Design
5. Use Visible Space Dividers
If you want to take a step further into defining the activity zones in your open plan living space, you can opt to install visible space dividers. These may include rugs, greenery, screens, change in floor levels, or anything that visually separates one part of your home from another.
Floor-to-ceiling shelves commonly serve to define spaces as well as add more storage to your open plan interiors. Additionally, retaining walls in busy activity zones such as kitchens can allow you to contain noise and introduce a level of privacy into your design. Semi-dividers and versatile space dividers such as folding partitions, sliding doors, or blinds also allow you to create a semi-open floor plan that you can open up or close depending on the privacy level you need.
In case you need to create quiet intimate spaces within your open concept floor plan, glass partitions are a great way to maintain the open airy feeling, all without the noise. You can install translucent, frosted, or textured glass for added privacy.
6. Use Separate Lighting in Each Activity Zone
The lighting requirements for each activity differ and therefore, lighting can be a great way to define a space. Besides letting in natural daylight through the installation of large, glazed window openings, setting up different layers of task, ambient, accent, and decorative lighting for each zone can bring a good flow into your design.
For instance, you can install recessed ambient lighting for general illumination in the entire space. You can then proceed to install task lighting in the form of pendant lighting over the dining area or kitchen islands, a floor lamp over the couch, and a table lamp at your open office work desk. Crown it all by accentuating your art pieces and unique architectural features with art lighting.
Dimmable light fixtures and dimmer switches are an interior designer’s best friend when it comes to open space interiors and luxury interior lighting. Having the ability to control your lighting levels and ambiance, as desired for particular activities, adds to the versatility of the open space interiors. Perfect Picture Lights offers quality dimmable art lighting solutions to get you started on your open space interiors. From track lights to intimate picture lights, Perfect Picture provides a wide range of model designs and finish options to complement your living room interior design.
Read Also: Office Interior Design and Lighting
7. Coordinate Colors
For consistency, cohesion, and continuity, it is important to coordinate the colors within your open space interiors. Define a color palette for your entire space beforehand, and borrow colors from one zone to the next, using patterns, textures, and finishes to create visual boundaries and differentiation. A color-coordinated palette brings in a sense of harmony and flow within your spaces, integrating the uniqueness of each activity zone as a part of the whole design.
8. Develop a Consistent Theme
Maintain a consistent theme and design style throughout your open space interiors to avoid visual chaos. Whether you’re going for a modern, minimalist style, a Boho chic décor, an industrial style, or a Scandinavian theme, maintain the same design style throughout your open-plan home.
The Grace of Space
Designing open space interiors can prove challenging due to the aspect of making every zone feel functional, but also a unique fraction of the whole space. The above tips and tricks will help you design open floor plan interiors that meet all the considerations of privacy, sound containment, storage, furniture placement, and visual appeal. Coupled with the dimmable lights by Perfect Picture Lights, you can enjoy the ample lighting, airiness, flow, and sociability of your open plan interior space.
Winny Okoth is a practicing Construction Project Manager and Interior Designer. She is also currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Construction Project Management. Winny Okoth has a great passion for every form of design and has the mastery of principles of design, as well as 3D visualizations skills for architectural and interior design renders.