Temza shares expert designer advice on how to plan your open plan space and make the most of it.
Top secrets to layout your open plan space
Not all of us are lucky enough to have an airy loft space to work with, but we can take inspiration from them and apply the idea of creating smaller spaces within one large one on a much smaller scale—be it a studio flat, bedsit or the classic knock-through double reception room that is such a key feature in many Victorian homes in London.
Here are a few tips on how to zone your space and make the most out of your home without calling the builders.
Before thinking about the visuals, it’s important to think practically about what you need in your open space and how the different elements are going to work together. Make sure that things are functional and versatile as well as looking great.
A few common-sense things to bear in mind:
Make sure you have a good extractor fan for the kitchen so you’re not stuck in the room with bad smells.
Go for integrated kitchen appliances that can be hidden behind kitchen units, and choose the quietest possible models. You don’t want to hear a washing machine spinning in the background whilst enjoying the latest episode of Game of Thrones, for example!
Add soft furnishings for acoustics, and plenty of storage to support the function of each space.
Lighting is key: use individually controlled lighting circuits and task lighting where you need it. You can create the illusion of different ceiling heights by using a mix of lower chandeliers or feature lighting and downlights.
Time for the visuals
There are a number of simple ways to create different zones within the same space in your London property: think lighting, flooring (with a fitted or loose rug), furniture, wall finishes and dividers. You don’t need to use all of these, although lighting is a must. Just combine with one or two of the others that are appropriate for the space and you’re good to go. If it’s a living room space with a TV, a divider will allow you to create a cosy atmosphere to curl up and watch your favourite programme. Of course, if it’s a kitchen/dining area you’re working with, a divider would be rather counterproductive and something else might work better.
Breaking it down: flooring
Using different flooring for different zones will break up the space without closing it in, and tiles are a great way to do this. If you’re renting and can’t afford to change the flooring, you can use rugs to indicate that a particular area is for a different use. Laying down a fluffy rug in your living room area would create a relaxing atmosphere as well as clearly demarcating the space.
You can also use wall colours to define different zones within a space. For example, you could decorate one or two walls beside your dining table to define the ‘dining room’ and create a focal point.
Furniture & accessories
If the space is large enough, use open shelving as a divider between different zones. This is a stylish way to gain some extra storage without blocking the natural light in the room or disrupting its flow, whilst keeping the space feeling light, airy and easy to walk around. It’s also a really creative way to close up a section and add some privacy. Freestanding, modular or movable furniture is great for adding shape and structure, and the best thing is that you can move it all around whenever you feel like a change.
You can also use tall plants as natural dividers; adding a natural element is a great way of creating a homely atmosphere as well as adding a splash of colour even in the tiniest London apartment.
Think about using repeated elements in the different zones to tie the whole place together—maybe a recurring theme or colour to create a sense of continuity and flow throughout the room.
The great thing about open plan spaces is that they are so diverse and can easily be rearranged over time. You are completely in charge of how you would like your space to look, so be creative and have fun! If you’re struggling with how to make the most out of your space or simply don’t have the time to dedicate to it, take a look at Temza’s bespoke furniture packages. Our team of experienced interior designers work with you to understand your needs and how you use your space and then set to work sourcing and putting together the perfect interior—all without you having to lift a finger. Take a look at our website or give us a call today to learn more about our services.