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Open Concept, or Open Plan as it’s better known, has been around for quite some time now. The days of every room in a house being secluded from all other rooms is a real décor trend from days gone by. Having said that, the closed-in type of living has been reappearing in recent months, but we digress.
We want to channel your thoughts to Open Concept Living, the pros and cons, the whys and why not’s as well as how you can make your personal space unique and the envy of the neighbours.
By utilising all the floor space in a house and in each room, we create wider, more “open” areas. The idea of fencing in or boxing furniture into segments of a pie that makes up your home or office is the exact opposite of what Open Concept Living is all about.
Think about the time when the kitchen was a separate entity from the lounge or dining room area. Now, to make use of all available space and keep the feel fresh and airy, we opt to roll the family room or dining room into the kitchen. We do this by either having a serving hatch, so somewhat cornered off, or an island counter between the two, or better yet a completely open thoroughfare connecting the rooms.
Most times it is the flooring type that shows us the divide between the two i.e. carpets and tiles or laminates and tiles. Sometimes, though, homeowners will keep the flow of the flooring uniform throughout and splash in a rug in the living area.
Bachelor pads are a good example of Open Concept Living where the bedroom, the kitchen and the lounge area all reside in the same space. The trick to making this work is knowing how to position furniture and décor items and knowing how to create good flow.
You will always find me in the kitchen at parties! Right? Well, if you love to be there but find it socially-impairing, then convert your home into an Open Plan design. This way you can interact with your guests and still whip up those gorgeous to-die-for dishes.
By removing internal walls, we can let the natural light flow in and in the long run save on electricity by not switching on lights so early on in the evening.
Sure, you are supposed to be keeping an eye on the food, but a parent has to learn to multi-task. So, by having an open concept you can keep your eye on the kids and still get dinner on the table.
In days gone by, washing in the same room that you’ve slept in was the norm. Bedrooms that have an ornate freestanding bath incorporated is all the rage. Just be sure to have great ventilation to release all the steam from the hot water. And in addition, make sure your flooring is waterproof.
An Open Plan design for your staff means you, the boss, can keep a good eye on what’s happening all day long. No place to hide!
Those wasted little corner areas and a long wall filled with a cabinet from grandmother, are history. By removing walls, you open up to have more walking space and can shift furniture around to best suit the environment and shape of your house.
If you aren’t building from scratch, then deciding to open up your living and working areas can prove to be expensive. Taking down walls also means removing some support systems, so you need to be very careful before chopping down willy-nilly.
Should you need to escape, read a book, watch that new series or simply just have some shut-eye on the couch, you may find the surrounding noises will bother you.
During winter it becomes a task to heat up a larger room and simple fires or heaters may not cover the expanse of the now combined larger rooms.
The same applies to the hotter seasons. That aircon will be working overtime and you may just need to purchase another for the other side of the room.
Without a scullery included, your cleaning area of the kitchen is left to the eyes of the beholders, so to speak. So, unless you plan to corner off at least the dishes and washing machine area, you will need to keep your kitchen working areas spotless or accept the sideways glances at the dirty dishes.
Again, dependent on whether you build from the bottom up or are deciding to renovate, you will need to, most times, change your décor and colour schemes. We generally don’t go with the same look in the kitchen as in the living area.
The shape of your room will dictate how you need to place your furniture and where to begin and end your divide.
Longer rooms allow you to, in fact; spread your living area from family room, to dining area and to kitchen, in a systematic flow.
Get rid of rubbish. Don’t go filling up spaces because they are there.
Longer floor spaces can mean creating a leaner look, so bulky, over the top furniture will seem out of place here.
Square rooms require a bit more creativity. Your area is limited into fitting all the main aspects so that it doesn’t feel like a Barbie Dollhouse.
You can almost divide the square up into pie pieces – yeah, a square pie okay! Divide it into two, then again, so you have four even quadrants. Most times it is your living area, with couches, coffee tables and TV stand that need more space. Allocate that to two of the smaller squares. The living and kitchen get a square each. There may be some overlapping, but that is what makes Open Concept Living awesome.
L-shaped rooms are pretty simple as they are already defined. Each room, i.e. living area, dining and kitchen each get a square in the L shape. Where there are doors leading outside, try to position your kitchen nearest to these, both for lighting and air.
When it comes to flooring, it can seem a little ‘legoish’ if you have different flooring for each room, so try to create a natural flow such as tiles in the kitchen, leading onto laminates with a similar grain into the lounge and dining area.
Again, if there is a doorway outside, face your furniture towards this, again for natural light and view. And if there isn’t a view, create one.
Lounge and study areas work well with L-shaped rooms. Push the kitchen into the bottom of the L and the living area with study in the long part of the L. The study or work area can almost be a separator between the two. There are very creative ways to utilise luxury furniture items to make your study fit perfectly into your living area.
Whether you plan to use your old furniture or buy all new items, you can have fun with furniture. You don’t need to have the TV on the focus area and, in fact, it is healthier not to.
Let your furniture stand out, be the talking piece and work around one particular item when deciding on a theme or colour scheme.
Go with quality, classic pieces. Even one piece of authentic beautiful designed furniture can brighten up any room.
A Couch doesn’t have to form a lovely perfect square around the coffee table. Break those rules and position your couches into little alcoves of social get-togethers. For the TV, have it hidden in a cabinet and only opened up when you plan to actually sit and watch it.
Little coffee tables scattered around are better than one focal table.
Even though you are going with Open Concept Living you still need to define the various areas.
Lay a rug under the dining room table and chairs and similarly in the living area under the couches and sofas.
An island counter can easily separate the kitchen from the adjoining room.
In your bedroom, the carpet under the bed to the tiles in the ‘bathroom’ area can be a clear divide.