Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been to see about a dozen people to help them solve the same kind of problem. All the houses had a series of small-ish rooms that felt dark and disconnected from other parts of the house and had limited access to the garden.
Basically each homeowner had the issue of either a lack of space or just the wrong sort of space, which meant the house just didn’t work for them and their families. Most of the people I saw wanted a lighter more open-plan living space and there are always some common elements to achieving this.
Here’s a list of my 10 design principles and considerations for creating an open plan space.
- Flow: in an open-plan design, it’s essential to maintain a natural flow between spaces. This can be achieved by carefully considering the furniture layout and features like kitchen islands, which can help guide movement through the space.
- Zones: despite the openness, it’s crucial to clearly define each area – the kitchen, dining area, and living space. This can be done by strategically placing furniture, using different lighting schemes, or using rugs to mark out other areas visually.
- Lighting: natural light plays a vital role in open-plan spaces. Consider where the light enters the room throughout the day and design your space around it. For instance, place the area you occupy in the morning near a window to maximise the morning light.
- Storage: adequate storage is essential, especially in the kitchen. Clever storage solutions like built-in cabinets or multifunctional furniture helps keep the space tidy and can maintain a minimalist, ‘clean’ feeling.
- Colour scheme: a harmonious colour scheme can help tie the different areas together. Use different shades of the same colour in each area or use a neutral palette with pops of colour to define areas.
- Acoustics: open spaces can be noisy, so consider materials and elements that can absorb sound, like a rug in the living area or fabric-covered seating.
- Flexibility: design the space to be easily rearranged for different uses. This might involve choosing lightweight or movable furniture or incorporating versatile elements like pocket doors or even a kitchen island on wheels.
For house extensions:
- Connection to outdoors: try incorporating large windows or sliding doors that connect the interior with the exterior, making the space feel larger and bringing in natural light.
- Planning & Building Regulations: before starting the project, ensure you know all the consents you must comply with.
- Hiring Professionals: for a house extension, it’s almost always necessary to hire professionals like architects, contractors, and possibly structural engineers to ensure the extension is safe and structurally sound.
Despite the common themes, I always remember that every home and family is unique, so it’s essential to consider people’s individual needs and preferences when designing their space. My job is to create a functional, comfortable space so that you and your family Love Coming Home.