Whether you’re in a smaller studio flat or a penthouse apartment, an open-plan kitchen living room is a space with unique benefits and drawbacks. Having your living space, kitchen, dining room, and even bedroom, or variations thereof, laid out across an open space can bring a sense of flow and fluidity to a home, but similarly, it can also reduce your sense of place, muddling the areas of the apartment and their purposes. We’ve put together this handy article full of open-plan living ideas, to give you some guidance on how to best furnish and utilize your living space.
Open-Floor Plans – Pros and Cons
Open-floor plans are often a highly desirable choice for prospective homeowners, but it’s important to have a good understanding of the pros and cons of choosing one for your property.
- Better traffic flow through the home
- Great for social occasions
- Shared light fixtures
- Good for watching children
- Multifunctional spaces
- Increased heating and air conditioning costs
- Poor sound control between spaces (TV vs dishwasher etc)
- Can feel easily cluttered
- Perceived lack of privacy between spaces
Once you’re sure that you want an open floor plan in part or the entirety of your flat, you should consider the ways to best make use of it.
While we’re not suggesting that you start setting up full-sized concrete walls in the middle of your home, there are some simple design and furniture choices that you can make to create a sense of separation between the different areas of your living space. By doing this you can enhance the feeling of distinction between the zones of your home, without losing the flow between said zones.
One of the easiest ways to do this can be with the inclusion of a rug or throw in the living room/tv area of your apartment, almost acting as an opaque border distinguishing the parts of the floor. Another choice could be setting up some sort of shelving unit in an open space rather than up against a wall, creating a half-wall effect.
While this does technically reduce your space levels in the home, it can be valuable for keeping your kitchen and living room spaces from feeling too much like an extension of each other. The same effect can be achieved by installing partitions, or even something as simple as color-coding the different parts of the floor plan.
Creating abstract “rooms” with cleverly placed pieces of open-plan decor, furniture, and installations is a surefire to make your open-plan living room kitchen feel more like a complete home.
Quick Tip – Create Focal Points: By creating points in all of the areas of your space that naturally draw the eyes in, you’ll do a good job of defining the spaces as their own distinct areas of the open plan room.
Use Multifunctional Furniture
To many, an open-plan living space might imply a lack of room for functional furniture and decor pieces, such as cupboards and storage units. Trying to fit everything you need into an open space can feel like deliberate cramping, and mess with the flow of the area. A solution to this is making use of multifunctional furniture, which covers more bases than first meets the eye. By doing so you can maximize your usage of space, which is especially helpful when it comes to small open-concept kitchen dining living room hybrids.
Options include hollow coffee tables that also act as storage boxes, floor lamp shelf combinations, and wardrobes with mirrored exteriors. Making choices like this kills two or more birds with one stone at a time, along with these pieces of decor often being very stylish. These furniture options are great for any home with limited space, but in a small open-plan living concept, making the best use of every inch possible should be your preferred practice.
If you’re trying to make the most of your open-plan space, multifunctional furniture choices and concepts could be a real friend to you.
Quick Tip – Separate Action as Well as Space: Another way to make your “rooms” feel more distinct in an open plan apartment is by refraining from doing things like eating on the sofa, or watching TV from the kitchen.
Think Practical and Moveable
Choosing lightweight, moveable, and adaptable furniture for your open-plan living space offers you a sense of autonomy in how you choose to utilize it. With lighter chairs, wheeled furniture, and smaller dining tables you can choose how to use your space when it suits you. Fancy having guests around for dinner? Set up a table in the center between your kitchen and living room. Hosting a movie night? Keep some premium bean bags on standby to offer comfortable seating by the sofa.
Choosing to stay with furniture and decor choices that are easy to move and organize in big open floor plans provides you with a sense of versatility in your home, meaning the open floor can operate as it needs to between different situations. Whether you’re moving your living room furniture to the side for a flat party or packing it in for games night, taking the route of functional, lightweight, easy-to-move furniture is a smart choice for curating a more eclectic living space.
Bypass the big chunky sofa and the heritage dining table for something subtler, simpler, and maybe even a little more Scandinavian, your space will thank you.
Quick Tip – Keep It Tidy: Just because you have all this open space, that doesn’t give you the right to populate it with masses of clutter. Keep things clean and tidy, from mess to your decor choices to make the space feel more comfortable.
Where to Look?
If you’re looking for exciting, unique pieces of furniture and decor to populate your kitchen and living room ideas and concepts, just keep on reading great design blogs! Along with this, check out the ranges of various brands and companies, as they’ll have plenty of pieces on offer to inspire you and help you build up your designs. Some you’ll like and some you won’t, but figuring it out is the fun part! Make the most of your space and enjoy!