Anymore, it seems like everyone’s dream home has an open concept floor plan. And why not? It creates a beautiful, open, and functional space that has plenty of great benefits. Plus, if you’re living in a house with smaller square footage, an open concept floor plan can provide the illusion of having a large living space. Perhaps you just like the idea of having the kitchen flow into the dining and living area. Whatever the reason, an open concept floor plan can have a lot of great benefits.
Whether you’re buying a home with an open concept, or wanting to renovate your existing home to get that open concept floor plan, there are several things you’ll want to keep in mind. An open concept floor plan created just for the sake of knocking down walls to create more space doesn’t necessarily work. You need to make sure you do the open concept right, in order to make the most of the space you’re creating.
An Unobstructed View
When you’re creating an open concept floor plan, you want to keep the space open. If you’re going to knock down a wall, just to put up a big division like screens, curtains, or some other kind of divider, you’re not really looking for an open concept floor plan. Open concepts work because they lack the barriers. Your eyes don’t have anything to get caught on, so you experience a completely open space.
This concept is also true when you’re designing the space. You want everything to flow together and blend well. Bold colors or highly decorative cabinets can draw too much attention to the kitchen, which ruins the harmony that the open concept floor plan encourages. On the same token, the wrong furniture in the living room and dining room can cause the same division. Design choices need to made carefully, and in such a way that blends all of the spaces together.
Choose Your Divisions Carefully
Of course, even with the open concept floor plan, you probably still want some division between your kitchen, dining room, and living room. As you might have noticed, most open concept floor plans typically have a single feature in common. There’s a large kitchen island.
The island serves several purposes, one of which is simply adding extra prep space for when you’re cooking in the kitchen. But it also acts as a divider, or a border, of sorts. It doesn’t obstruct the view and sight lines of your open concept floor plan, but it still subtly defines the space between the kitchen and the adjacent space. The island can also serve as an eating area.
However, adding a large island to a small space doesn’t necessarily work. And it can be counterproductive to your open concept floor plan if you remove a wall and add a massive island. Of course, you don’t want to leave the space between the cooking area and the living space open. That can be awkward. You can use countertops and partitions creatively to create just enough separation, without ruining the sight lines of the open concept floor plan.
Dangers of Open Shelving
You can use cabinets or shelving to help provide a little bit of separation if a large island doesn’t work. But you’ll want to be careful here. Not only can upper cabinets that are closed off interrupt your sight lines, but they can also make a room seem much smaller and heavier than it really is.
Because of this, you might be considering open shelving instead of cabinets. But open shelving can be just as problematic as traditional cabinets. Too much clutter, and the open shelving has the same effect. It makes the room smaller and interrupts sight lines.
If you’re going to use open shelving, keep the clutter to a minimum, and only store pieces that won’t be distracting. Open shelving can be a great place to keep glasses and wine glasses. The glass will keep the sight lines open, and won’t make the area seem too closed off.
No matter how you decide to create your open concept floor plan, you’ll need to be consistent. You’ll want the styles of all the spaces to match well, or at least blend together nicely. If there’s too much difference, it detracts from the overall flow and harmony that the open concept floor plan is supposed to create. Just take your time, and make sure that you think through all of your design decisions in order to make the most of the open concept floor plan.