How To Decorate an Open Floor Plan
An open floor plan can encompass anything from a spacious urban loft to a studio apartment. No matter the size, open floor plans have a knack for tripping up even the most seasoned interior designers.
Spaces sans walls provide no cues as to where one area ends and another begins. So how do you tackle an open floor plan in your home? Never fear! These creative tips will help you conquer the challenges of wide-open interior spaces.
Consider the Space and Its Function
Take a look at your space, noting the size, layout and any architectural dividing lines. Determine how many functions the space will serve based on the square footage. If your open plan is extremely large, you may be able to designate separate areas for TV viewing, dining and relaxing.
Take advantage of walls, columns and changes in flooring to dictate different “room” functions. If you have a wall that juts out, use it to divide the space into two separate areas. Similarly, the dividing line from a tile to wood floor is a natural demarcation of space.
Use technology cues when planning the function of specific areas. Make note of the placement of cable and Internet connections, phone and electrical outlets to determine an area’s use. They will dictate where your media area, computer center and reading lamps will be located.
Create a Sense of Flow
I once had an open floor plan and used paint and furniture placement to create visual divisions. The variation in wall paint colors were very subtle (no more than one degree up or down a paint color chip), yet they were just different enough to create separation between the dining and living room.
The use of a long sectional and low console bookcase created the “wall” between the living and dining spaces. The kitchen island and bar counter divided the dining space from the kitchen.
While each space retained a distinct personality, the use of a unifying color palette created a sense of flow from room to room. I used neutrals for the large-scale furnishings to maintain continuity. Jewel tones in accessories and artwork added small bursts of vibrant color to create consistency throughout the large expanse.
Use Rugs to Delineate Space
Another great trick is to use area rugs to define separate areas within an open floor plan. Use two of the same or coordinating area rugs to delineate your living and dining rooms.
The rugs don’t have to be huge, just large enough to anchor the furniture in each space. The gap between the rugs actually serves to help divide the spaces, creating a visual traffic path between the living and dining areas. In the image above, the homeowner should have used complimentary instead of contrasting rugs.
Divide and Conquer
If you are uneasy with all that open space, create the feeling of walls by using room dividers. Folding screens come a variety of lengths and heights. You can choose a style and material to suit any décor – ornately carved wood, antique Chinese, upholstered fabric, rice paper or slatted, to name a few.
If you want something more permanent, consider ceiling mounted room dividers that operate on a track system. This will also give you the option of opening and closing off rooms to suit your needs – say, for an intimate dinner party or to provide daytime privacy for a home office. For homeowners on a budget, simply install curtain hardware and panels from your ceiling!
Choose Different Lighting Fixtures for Each Space
Ceiling mounted lighting fixtures can also break up spaces within an open floor plan. Choose a distinctive chandelier or drum pendant to define a room.
Use a row of pendant lights to divide one space from another. Try a long, rectangular pendant over your dining room table to mimic the space you are trying to create.
Furniture Placement Advice From a Designer!
So, the next time you are in the market for a new home, don’t be hesitant to consider one with an open floor plan. You are now equipped with the knowledge and confidence to decorate those spaces like a pro!
© 2013 lindacee
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