Maximising space in homes has become a modern day obsession. And one of the most popular ways of making properties feel bigger is to knock down walls and create open plan living. A shared space for cooking, dining and relaxing may look stunning in interior magazines, while on paper it does offer the flexibility many people crave, the reality can be somewhat different. Fitted furniture experts Strachan, face these challenges head on and offer clever design solutions to make open plan really work.
It’s all about zones
The move away from traditional rooms to open plan living is not difficult in itself. To make it really work, however, it’s important to create zones within it. Without these distinct areas, living spaces can feel cold, confused and uninviting. Strachan explain how…
‘Defining different functions with large pieces of furniture can help break up the space into usable areas without losing the overall sense of spaciousness. Fitted shelves, for example, are a great way to mark out the boundary between a dining area and living room, whilst at the same time providing valuable storage for books, DVDs, crockery or glasses.’
Go with the flow
Successful open plan living also relies on how natural the ‘flow’ is from one area to another. Cleverly designed cabinets and shelving can be helpful ‘guideposts’, leading effortlessly from the kitchen into a dining area, from the home office through into the lounge when it’s time to relax.
At the same time, it’s these pieces of furniture that provide space to keep everyday essentials organised and any unsightly equipment hidden away – a vital part of realising the open plan dream.
Interior design publications may be full of idyllic shots of minimal spaces, but living as a family in an open plan home requires much more thought. For every wall taken down, shelves or cupboard space will be lost, so home owners should bear in mind where they’ll store all their ‘stuff’. Unless the whole family are exceptionally tidy, (unlikely, especially if for families with young children) clever storage is essential to keep homes looking neat and uncluttered.
Strachan say it’s all about bespoke furniture. ‘To make open plan living work, fitted storage such as cabinets, book shelves and home entertainment units are a great storage idea. Providing they’re expertly designed, fitted furniture will blend seamlessly into the best living room design.
TV rooms and home cinemas are popular but there’s nothing worse than letting the screen dominate an open plan space – that’s where specialist home entertainment storage comes into its own. For people who want to keep children’s toys out of sight by night, Strachan suggest considering ingenious integrated fitted furniture solutions with timeless classic design that also provides exceptional storage for the kids’ clutter in your open plan lounge when it’s time to transform it into a ‘grown up’ space.
Less is more
Once zones have been defined it’s also imperative to maintain a unified ‘look and feel’ in terms of décor. Strachan suggest sticking to a simple palette, ‘We always recommend choosing one wood finish throughout for your fitted furniture to minimize ‘visual clutter’. Select a single accent colour and use it throughout for accessories, and choose wallpaper that features in more than one ‘zone’ to bring the whole scheme together.’
Lighting is key, too – not only can a well-lit space enhance the feeling of airiness, task lighting plays a more practical role. It pays to choose lights over a dining table that are bright enough to do homework by, but that can be dimmed when it’s time for a dinner party.
Creating exceptional quality fitted furniture, Strachan specialise in bespoke solutions that complement open plan living spaces, in a range of styles from contemporary to classic.
To arrange a free design consultation without obligation, call Strachan on 0800 212 637.