It’s no secret that I love looking at people’s houses… either in a series of pictures, or even better in real life.
It’s true, I am a nosy parker.
But the real reason is that I just get so much inspiration from seeing other people’s amazing homes and now I have our new home to start designing.
Our new home is another top to toe renovation, so, its safe to say, that the inspiration definitely needs to keep coming my way and it needs to keep coming in bucket loads.
While I have been procrastinating through photos of lovely homes and trying to pull a plan together for our new home, it has got me thinking…
There is always one common denominator that catches my eye and that common denominator is ‘open plan living’.
From an interiors perspective, I aesthetically just love the look of an open plan space, I love the versatility it gives you to lay out a room and how the same space could be designed in a million different ways.
When we bought our current home, it wasn’t open plan. So, we took the decision to create an open plan living space between the kitchen, dining room and lounge and I am really glad that we did.
It has changed the way that we live in the space and for me, it has made our house so much more social.
The plan for the new house will be to try and achieve exactly the same, or thats the hope anyway… so please keep your fingers crossed for us that the planners let us extend!!
Its not just the aesthetics of open plan space that I love, it is also the practicalities…
The biggest factor for me, is that I don’t really enjoy cooking all that much and to be quite honest I’m really terrible at it. BUT I do really love to host dinner parties. So, the idea of being stuck in the kitchen, while everyone else is having fun in the rest of the house just does not work for me what so ever.
The other reason, (which granted may only be applicable to our household), is that Dougie has very very VERY ‘selective’ man hearing…
Quite often if we are in separate rooms (or sometimes even the same room) he magically won’t hear a word I say. He tells me I talk too quietly… I say he doesn’t listen… I will leave you to work out who you think is telling the porkies on that one!!
So, anyway, all in all, an open plan space is a must for us, as if we didn’t have one, I would A) never be heard and B) spend my evenings boring myself with my own company and missing out on all the fun.
When we created our open plan space, we were already pulling our house to pieces, so luckily it was very easy to do.
A few visits from the building inspector and a couple of steels later, we were cooking on gas. Once the messy work was done, the fun part began… how to design and furnish the space.
As fun as it was, for us, this was the hardest part and we spent hours and hours deliberating over decision after decision.
So, with that in mind, I have popped together my 5 top tips for creating an open plan space…
1. Choose your furniture and the layout of your space before you start any building work
This is without doubt the biggest learning that we had on the whole project, ‘plan the space before you lift a finger’. You need to know what furniture you want and the dimensions of it before you can plan your layout. Then you need to know where it is all going to go so you can design the space. Think sockets, TV, sofa, side tables, lamps, radiators, internet, basically just think about everything… plan it all and draw it all out.
2. Zone your space
Split your open plan space up into zones. Although our space is one large area, we have always tried to keep a clear divide between what is the lounge, what is the dining room and what is the kitchen. If you don’t have natural breaks in your walls to help you zone, then you can use furniture to do this. I think zoning helps to keep large spaces feeling homely and cosy. For me, it also makes things feel more organised and less cluttered.
3. Flooring is a key decision
Flooring is key for two reasons, it hugely affects the look and feel of the room and it also affects how noise travels. Carpet will without doubt suck up the noise more than a hard floor. For us though, noise isn’t an issue, as the buzz of an open plan space is one of the things we love the most. Our issue was that we wanted carpet in the lounge, laminate in the dinning room and tiles in the kitchen. I know, it sounds like a total car crash. But, thankfully, ‘I think’ we have just about pulled it off and it looks ok. So, the moral of my flooring story is that you don’t have to have the same flooring throughout and don’t be afraid to experiment with it.
4. Think about heating and fireplaces
Open plan spaces are typically bigger spaces, so think about heating. For a lot of people underfloor heating is a good option… it heats the space evenly and it also removes the issue of fitting furniture around radiators. That said, its expensive and we are yet to have underfloor heating in our own home. So, linking back to my earlier point, we have always had to meticulously plan where to put our radiators and fires, so that we haven’t ended up blocking out any heat with furniture… especially big pieces of furniture, like sofas.
5. The use of colour
We have always used the same colour throughout our open plan spaces, but there certainly is no right or wrong way of doing it. I would say, that I find the use of one main colour does help the space to flow. My style is definitely more light and airy (and very grey), as I think it tends to make the space look bigger and more open. I do like using the same paint families in an open plan space, so in our house, we have Farrow and Ball Purbeck Stone on our walls and then Farrow and Ball Ammonite on the cupboard in the lounge. Ammonite is slightly lighter and I find that it gives the cupboard its own identity, without overpowering or changing the feel of the room.
So there you have it, my little ramble on open plan living…
I am all giddy and excited about designing the new house after writing this post, so now I am off to do some more picture gazing and inspo stealing…
Only 2 more sleeps to go…!! Eeeeek!!
All my love
P.S. We have recently had the privilege of being asked to share our open plan space with Keepmoat Homes, as they have created an amazing online Home Inspiration Gallery. So, if you want to see some more photos of our open plan space or photos of other peoples amazing homes, then head over to https://www.keepmoat.com/get-inspired