4 beautiful ways to split space in an open-plan house

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Cleo Architecture Studio Salas modernas
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Time and trend are both fleeting. That is why there was a time when houses flaunted various separate rooms closed off from one another – and yes, believe it or not, it was considered in vogue at some point.

Today’s interior trends look much different, with open-plan layouts being the norm (for now, at least). However, even though an open-plan house does offer various benefits (such as shared lighting between areas, more space for socialising and/or furnishings and décor, and a lesser sense of enclosure), more and more people (and even professionals such as Interior Architects) have come to realise there is also a downside to more than one room blending into one another.  One prime example includes cooking smells from the kitchen wafting into the adjoining living room.

But of course this wouldn’t be a homify article without a firm dose of advice, such as these four tips that are sure to help make an open-plan house seem much more cosy, inviting and (perhaps most importantly) stylish. 

1. Dividing rooms in an open-plan house

A simple feature such as a kitchen island can become a prime example of dividing up areas in an open-plan layout. In addition, it is also great for extra storage, plus provides a spot for eating / working / socialising without physically closing off the living / dining room from the kitchen. 

Another idea of maintaining a sense of flow while creating separate zones is partial walls. Partition or drywalls are so easy, as they basically consist of a frame built from timber battens before being covered in plasterboard and finished with plaster. However, we advise relying on a professional for this task if your DIY skills are at ‘novice’ level. 

Don’t forget about storage units like open bookcases, especially those on wheels that can be rearranged or pushed out of the way when the need arises. 

One of the best modern trends in open-plan houses at the moment is fireplaces. They work specially well when built in-between living room and dining areas, still managing to heat up both zones while allowing light to flow from one area to the next, yet without completely separating the dining space from the seating one. 

2. Changing the floors in an open-plan house

Nobody is forcing you to stick to one floor material throughout your house, which is exactly why flooring variation is such a splendid idea in an open-plan room. From carpet to tile, from hardwood to stone, and from linoleum to bamboo, swapping floors as soon as you cross over from one zone to the next clearly defines the two different areas but, again, without a physical divide. Meaning no space goes to waste as in the case of walls or fixed features. 

homify hint: Whether you’re in charge of changing those flooring surfaces or are working with a professional Floorer, always ensure that the floor levels are set out. This is to make sure that the changes in flooring material lie flush with each other.

3. Playing with lighting in an open-plan house

Amending your lighting fixtures in an open-plan layout is another stunning way of differentiating between two different zones. A great example would be to opt for pendants dangling above your island / breakfast bar in the kitchen, but then switching to wall sconces or a chandelier as soon as you enter the living room. 

But keep practicality in mind. Opt for obvious illumination sources (like spotlights and wall washers) in areas prone to activities. Then, for more restful spaces, change to intimate lamps or uplighters. 

4. Experimenting with cladding in an open-plan house

Look to your walls – they are one of the best ways describing which room you’re in, or inforing you that you’ve just walked from one zone into another. Bring in: wall cladding!

With wall cladding we are spoiled for choices. Think of age-old examples like paint colours and textured and/or patterned wallpaper, or more recent methods that include timber tongue and groove cladding. 

Or how about two birds with one stone: cladding your free-standing fireplace in another material / colour / texture to put even more emphasis on that switch from one zone to the next?

While we’re at it, we may as well check out New interior trend: The broken plan layout.

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