Open floor layouts can look rather inviting if you plan them right. To give you a quick overview, the open floor plan is a term used to define a large, open space inside a home that excludes walls, doors and hallways. It minimizes the use of enclosed rooms, such as a separate TV lounge or a dining hall. However, designing and decorating such spaces can be a little tricky. Even a few seemingly inconspicuous open floor plan mistakes can make your home look cluttered and disorderly.
There are several benefits of open-plan layouts. For example, the omission of interior walls allows the sunlight to travel into each corner of the room without any obstructions. It also makes your home look more spacious than it actually is, makes it easier to entertain guests. These spaces also make the kitchen the focal point.
However, a lot of homeowners have a hard time figuring out how and where to place the furniture in an open floor plan, how to create distinct zones, and most importantly, how to ensure the décor remains functional yet aesthetically pleasing.
If you want to avoid open floor plan mistakes from the get-go, we have put together some of the biggest challenges you might face while decorating such space along with their solutions.
However, before we begin, you can check out our comparison between open and closed floor plans to find out which of these options might suit you the best.
Let’s get the ball rolling.
Mixing Different Flooring
So, how do you break up an open plan room? If you are thinking about installing a mix of floorings, you couldn’t be more far off.
Opting for diverse flooring materials or styles within the same space will only make it look more disjointed and disorganized. Even choosing multiple shades of hardwood or varying colours of tiles to create separate zones can take away from the beauty of your open-plan space. In addition to that, inconsistent flooring isn’t functional. The lack of flow between different parts of the room will also have a dire effect on the rest of your décor.
In case you are confused between different materials available in the markets, here are some of the best flooring options for every budget in Pakistan that might help you out.
On a side note, your colour palette should also be cohesive throughout the open-plan layout. Instead of choosing different colours for every zone, opt for a uniform shade and upgrade it by painting accent walls.
Consistent flooring will give your open floor layout a more cohesive look while connecting each section flawlessly with the other.
To break up the floor space in order to create separate zones within the open-plan space, you need to utilize rugs. The key to designing a house interior is to specify a single material for the entire base. You can then style it with different types of carpets, rugs and mats. For example, you can place a colourful, patterned rug with your living room couch to give the area a soft look. Meanwhile, your dining area will require something a little more formal, such as a traditional carpet, to give it a more distinctive look.
For more information about types of carpets and their prices in Pakistan, check out our detailed guide on the topic.
Not Establishing Zones
Lack of zones is one of the biggest and most common open floor plan mistakes that homeowners tend to make.
More often than not, people treat open-plan layouts as one-plan layouts. That means, instead of carving out separate functional and aesthetic zones within the same space, they leave it looking like one big hall. As a result, their kitchen, dining area and TV lounge just blend into one another, creating a big cluttered room that neither looks visually appealing nor very practical.
While there must be some visual continuity between each part of your open-plan space, they should still be limited to their own respective zones.
In case you aren’t sure about the living room furniture, take a look at our guide on different types of sofas for some inspiration.
Rugs are a great way to define individual sections of your open-plan layout. However, you shouldn’t solely rely on them. Instead, use your couch or sectional to split the space in half. You can also use tall floor lamps and big potted plants to add different layers to your décor while giving more definition to each zone.
Your furnishing for each area can also differ. For instance, you may choose a trendy coffee table and bold sofa for a chic living area but place an elegant dining table a few feet away on a separate rug to create a lavish dining room space.
Needless to say, you must decorate each part of your open-place space according to its own particular function. On the other hand, you should leave certain areas open to host guests and throw parties.
Improper Furniture Placement
Poor furniture placement is among the biggest open floor plan mistakes that homeowners make. There are quite a few reasons behind this. Firstly, a lot of people try to replicate the furniture arrangement used in smaller rooms. Obviously, that is not a good idea since the rules that worked in enclosed or closed-off areas usually don’t suit open-concept spaces. Secondly, they push furniture against the wall to maximize the floor space. While this trick may work in small rooms, it tends to make an open-plan space look sparse.
Moreover, filling the space up with big pieces is also not a good idea. Sure, adding a few bulky pieces to balance out the smaller items may make sense to an extent, but such furnishing may inhibit the flow of foot traffic in the space.
So, how do you style an open plan living?
For starters, you must measure each dimension of the open-plan correctly to ensure you still have enough space to move around after placing the furniture. If you have a smaller space, consider getting a few custom-made pieces for a more coherent look. Also, refrain from pushing furniture against the walls and corners of the room. Instead, move it towards the middle.
The lack of storage space is another major problem with the interior layouts of houses with open spaces. The best way to tackle this issue is to invest in multi-purpose furnishing. You should purchase double-duty pieces that are functional in more than one ways, such as a coffee table with shelves to store books, sleeper sofa that functions both as couch and bed, and ottomans with detachable seats and hollow bases.
Here are some more creative storage ideas that you might find interesting.
Poor Lighting Choices
The blanket lighting approach never works in open-concept spaces.
Lighting is what sets the ambience of your home. A poorly-lit room appears cramped and confined, whereas a well-lit space tends to look bigger than it actually is. Light fixtures and the types of bulbs you choose also help connect individual parts of the open-plan space without making it look like one giant hall.
Moreover, lighting is often considered an afterthought in the process of designing an open floor plan, even though it should be at the forefront of your mind.
There are fewer walls in open floor plans, which means you need to be extra smart when choosing light fixtures.
Instead of relying on traditional wall sconces, you should consider installing hanging pendant lights to brighten up the living space. You can also place tall floor lamps next to the couch and table lamps on the end tables. Similarly, consider installing under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen to illuminate the countertops.
If you are still not sure how to proceed, here are our comprehensive guides on different types of lamps as well as the best types of lighting fixtures for your home. You can also take a look at our comparison between white and warm colour temperatures to determine which one might suit your house layout the best.
Too Many Similar Pieces
Having too many matching pieces or not having enough of them can have a negative impact on the overall aesthetics of your open-concept space. Finding the right balance of furnishing and materials is the key to cohesive home décor.
If you have a dark mahogany dining table with matching chairs, opting for a coffee table in a similar style along with dark wooden counters can make your space look busy. On the other hand, if there is no singular theme or common element across all pieces, each individual part of your space will look disconnected and dull.
Using too much of the same material or style is just as bad as not using enough of it are both considered open floor plan mistakes that must be avoided.
Before you purchase any furniture, spend some time visualizing how you want your space to look. Always start with a plan. Choose a base piece, such as a statement couch or a dining table, then buy pieces to accompany it. The number of finishes in your open floor layout should be ideally between three and five. This will give your home décor some depth and texture without making it look boring or too plain.
It is also important to balance out warm materials such as wood in the living area with cold materials such as stone in the kitchen. Similarly, balancing the colour theme of your home is also something that needs to be focused on.
This brings an end to our guide on open plan mistakes and how to avoid them. If you have any comments or feedback on how do you break up an open plan room or what makes a good floor plan, feel free to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about common floor plan mistakes, head over to Zameen Blog – the top lifestyle and property blog in Pakistan. You can also subscribe to the Zameen Newsletter and Facebook page for more home décor tips and tricks.