1. Stay in the zone
It might sound mundane, but organising your space is crucial if you’re to arrive at a successful open-plan configuration. The key here is to create different zones that are distinct but connected, and this can be achieved through creative decorating and subtle styling in terms of furnishings, flooring and colour schemes.
2. Let there be light
Introducing bi-fold doors or floor-to-ceiling windows can bring the outside in to create a sense of space, while velux windows and glass walls can enhance the feeling of openness. Combined with interior and exterior lighting, these features are central to open-plan living.
3. Use feature furniture
Single pieces of furniture can help to section off areas of your living space without appearing divisive, especially since the key benefit of open-plan is that the whole family can spend time together but without treading on each other’s toes. Easy access to the garden allows the children to come and go, while a strategically placed sofa can offer a quiet area for reading and a desk can provide a place for creativity or homework.
4. Consider the flooring
Marrying design with practicality, well-chosen flooring can tie your open-plan area together, giving everything a natural flow. And when combined with a tasteful rug and comfortable seating there’s plenty of opportunity to curl up and relax, especially if you incorporate an open fire or woodburner. You can also extend the space outdoors and connect with the garden by matching the colour of external decking to your internal flooring. Find out how much you can expect to pay for new flooring here.
5. Stay child friendly
Ultimately you’ll want your living space to be where every member of the family enjoys spending time, so don’t lose sight of the practical aspect of your renovation. Design is important, but so is real life, and it’s important to keep everything child friendly. From a practical perspective, think carefully about your colour schemes and the tones and fabrics you introduce. Focus on making the space welcoming and inviting, and avoid creating areas where everyone is nervous to spend time in case of damage or spillages.
6. Select a colour scheme
Separating an open-plan space into different zones can also be achieved with colour, although a neutral colour scheme will allow you to alternate and rotate fixtures and fittings. Remember that your chosen wall colour(s) will heavily influence your choice of furniture and accessories.
7. Think storage
Building storage into your open-plan space can be invaluable, especially if your young family enjoys playing with toys or board games. The key to success is to think about how and where you can store everything to keep the space looking clean and uncluttered, whether it’s built-in cupboards, freestanding shelves or boxes that can double up as seating.
8. Plan before you start
The main objective with an open-plan space is to encourage socialising and shared experiences, so think carefully about what you’re trying to achieve before you embark on your project. Are you looking for relaxation, entertainment or interaction? Will food, conversation or play dominate the agenda? If you’re entertaining, the position of the dining table and sofas are key, whereas play will require plenty of floorspace. It might be possible to create or add an archway or folding doors to give flexibility, and these are all worth considering in the planning and budgeting phase.
As Simon Kelliher of Cambridge builders Refresh Renovations observes, it makes sense to keep an open mind if you’re starting with a blank canvas. ‘At Refresh Renovations, we spend our time helping families create the perfect space to suit their lifestyle. Invariably nowadays this involves making the most of the available square footage to open rooms up and allow families to spend as much time together as possible. Designing open plan isn’t as easy as it looks, however, and it’s really important to think about all the possibilities that a renovation or extension offers. The best outcomes are achieved when we sit down with our clients at the very start to review their current configuration and plan how the space can be put to best use, rather than diving in, knocking down walls and missing opportunities to innovate.
‘Our design and build service is exactly that – in our view any time spent in the design phase will not only generate the best finish, it will also ensure that the space is optimised for the whole family. And it’ll be completed on time and within budget, enabling everyone to enjoy a space that will function well, work hard and, above all, look fantastic for years to come.’
Refresh Renovations UK are Cambridge builders offering design and build services. To discuss how Refresh Control can create your perfect home extension or renovation, get in touch today using the enquiry form listed alongside, or if you would like to submit a more comprehensive enquiry, you can do so on the Get In Touch page.