The secret to open plan living design

Few trends in home design have changed how we live as much as open-plan living. Tearing down walls to create open layouts for living, dining, and cooking areas is what open-concept design is all about. Generally, open-concept plans integrate living, dining, and kitchen spaces in a single, expansive area with no walls.

The best way to structure and outfit your open-plan space is to create distinct zones, so that you have a cooking zone, a dining zone, and a living zone, says interior designer Lesley Taylor. As in this particular space, the whole wall of the open-plan living room is dominated by floor-to-ceiling doors, which provide a splash of greenery and lots of natural light. With most of the condo being dominated by wrap-around windows, this tiny living room is one of the only spaces to provide canvas for the walls.

A dining table in the center, along with a long couch facing a combined kitchen, helps to create an elongated space, which smartly bisects this open-plan living room into practical areas. The light over the dining table The lighting over the dining room table does a couple of things, it helps make sitting down to eat at the dining room table a bit more intimate, and it acts as a visual barrier against the kitchen area, helping to divide the living room.

The gorgeously designed kitchen, which looks out over the open family and dining room, is the centerpiece of this open-plan living. Moving past the kitchen-diner, a contemporary open-plan living room abandons the formal living space, home office, and sitting area for one big, versatile space, one with entertaining at its core. Popular since the 1990s, open-plan living is when walls are removed between the major rooms, creating a flowing, open space with fewer interior separations.

Open-plan living rooms usually have many activities taking place in them, so it is important to define a zone for each one, so that the space does not feel confusing and overwhelming. Open-plan design is a great fit for smaller homes, especially, and it promotes social living, better circulation, and greater flexibility with regards to the way rooms are laid out. With the open plan promising bright, airy, multi-purpose spaces where families can come together, it is easy to understand why so many families are moving away from separate rooms for cooking, dining, and relaxation, and adopting the open-plan living concept.

Whereas living rooms were typically packed full of furniture and accessories in the past, an uptick in minimalist design trends over the last couple of years has seen a shift away from this look. Lighting is key in these smaller spaces, and you are asking for the space to be versatile and offer solutions to eating, entertaining, relaxing, and cooking, so in that open-plan space, you are going to want to incorporate lots of furniture or equipment. If there is a fireplace in the room (which can act as a major focal point of the open plan), you may want to create a defined border around the living area by turning the couch toward it. 

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