Making your house feel more like home can be a challenge. And while open floor plans do create a seamless flow between the living room, dining room and kitchen, they can also cause everything to blend together, making the space appear jumbled and unfocused.
If you’re struggling to create a feeling of flow and purpose within an open-concept space — or just want to divide a larger room into more manageable sub-spaces — here are some tips to make your open floorplan work best for you.
Carefully placed furniture creates flow and definition. Just turning the backs of chairs and sofas to the rest of your space and placing a coffee table in the center of the arrangement forms a conversation area and automatically creates an intimate, cozy feeling.
Use larger pieces like a sofa, upholstered side chairs and your dining table to mark transitions from one space to the next. Position a console table along the back of the sofa to create additional storage. Accent chairs are also a way to create a feeling of separateness and functionality without making the space feel closed off or confined.
Floors and Area Rugs
One thing about flooring in an open space: To keep the overall look of the room pleasing and consistent, avoid mixing different types of flooring like tiles and hardwoods Although technically, they will “define” a particular space, they also interrupt the room’s flow and could create problems later if you decide to rearrange the furnishings.
Area rugs are a quicker — and better — way to create separation. An area rug under the dining table or furniture grouping defines the space as its own zone while still pulling the entire room together. They’re also terrific sound absorbers, critical when you want to keep echoes from bouncing off the walls and around the room. Color-wise, you should consider bright, yet complimentary hues — even bold patterns — for the various rugs. Avoid neutral tones such as light grey or beige: It’s all about adding a pop or two of bright, space-defining color.
Check out these other tips for ways to personalize — and warm up — your decorating scheme.
Room dividers can be a semi-permanent way to change up the layout of a room, provide privacy, and create storage space. Because you want to create a coordinated versus haphazard effect, consider the room’s overall floorplan — and especially its architectural style — before selecting patterns, colors or building materials. The goal here is to make the divider “work” effortlessly with the flow and feel of the room. Consider it an integral part of the space, not an add-on.
If you’re a bit more ambitious, you could even install a sliding door or wall which lets you quickly expand or enclose a space without a lot of fuss. Right now, sliding barn doors are especially popular.
Folding Screens and Shelving
Need a way to divide a space without committing to a major remodeling job? Try a decorative folding screen. It can be easily moved or taken down entirely depending upon how you need to use the space at a particular time. And don’t limit your options to just screens. Freestanding open shelves are another quick fix to form multiple zones without entirely blocking the line of vision. Moreover, they’re a functional “win” if you’re carving out a niche in the room for your home office or a study area for the kids.
Art and Wall Groupings
Well-placed wall art and decorative accents are excellent ways to create separation without adding more furniture. When putting together your groupings, think in terms of different zones (like living and cooking areas), each with its own palette. That said, it’s also wise to find one or more common hues among the different elements that will carry the color scheme over into each sub-zone, creating a well-coordinated, cohesive effect. Also take a look at some tips we’ve put together for dressing up your wall space.
Light Fixtures and Lamps
Lighting is another way to help break up areas within an open space. A beautiful ceiling fixture or chandelier above the dining area helps define this as a distinct part of the room, while recessed track lighting or floor lamps give conversational areas greater intimacy. We suggest using dimmer switches throughout so that lighting can be dialed up or down to highlight different areas of a room based on how you’re using it at the time. For an even more dramatic effect, arrange a grouping of candles on a coffee table or buffet.
Except for area rugs (which should be avoided in a food prep area), all the above-mentioned tips can apply equally well to your kitchen space. However, the advantage of an island is that it also acts as a barrier, keeping people away from what’s going on in the kitchen without interrupting the flow of conversation.
Counter stools on the outside of the island will encourage people to mingle without getting underfoot; however also think about placing a small fridge on the outer side or end to let guests grab a beverage. For smaller, apartment-sized rooms, you might prefer a less permanent island on lockable casters, so that it can be positioned in a variety of ways based on your needs at the time.
And Then There’s the TV
We’ve saved the toughest for last. Choosing the best place for your TV monitor involves multiple factors that need to be carefully considered. Let’s assume your TV has the option of being wall mounted so it won’t interrupt the flow of furniture and sight lines. To start, pick the room’s focal point, which could be anything from a fireplace to a group of windows or even a recessed alcove. Then develop a plan for that area and arrange your couches and chairs around it. We also suggest you check out the many available online resources and guidelines to help determine the ideal viewing height and distance based on the size and type of your TV.
We hope your journey to Finding Home is smooth and successful. And remember, no matter where you happen to be in the moving process, you can count on Mayflower to be with you Every Step of the Way®.
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