How to design an open-plan space
What are the key design considerations I need to consider?
I love open-plan spaces as they create such scope for flowing design and the light is usually fantastic. These types of spaces do come with challenges, though. You must always clearly define which areas will be used for what. If there is no definition to the room at all, it is important to create a focal point. Use runners and lighting to zone your space or it will end up looking like a lot of furniture in one massive room.
How should I go about creating a scheme?
Planning is essential. Before you start anything, I advise consulting a floor plan of the area really carefully. Deciding on the function of each space and making sure that they flow logically is key. Finding your focal points is a great way to start.
How should I maximise the design of the space?
Open-plan spaces tend to have amazing light in them, so use that to your advantage. Natural light is the best type of light, and the more you have in a space, the bigger and brighter it will feel. It is also key to use a neutral colour palette as your base, which will keep the whole space harmonised and serene. Always look at your wall area and how you can achieve something different. The key to open plan design is to appreciate the space and not just fill it so it loses its identity.
‘The larger the space, the more thought needs to be given to zoning and creating smaller, intimate spaces. Think about the different moods you wish to create and how your eye will travel around the area. Accent interesting elements around the room, linked to one, dimmable circuit, and add in appropriate task lighting. Use fittings at different heights – floor-level, wall up or downlights, and ceiling lighting – to produce an interesting and well-balanced scheme.’
Creative colour planning
‘A unifying colour scheme paired with vibrant artwork will add sophisticated depth to a room,’ says Natalia Miyar, design director at Helen Green Design. ‘Well-curated accessories will unite the space, giving a more cohesive feel and adding texture, while soft furnishings, such as rugs, will add warmth while giving the area individuality.’
‘In an open-plan space, use several geometric rugs to create different zones while still retaining a coherent narrative with the flooring itself,’ says interior designer Jennifer Manners (jennifermanners.co.uk). ‘Scale is especially important here; the key to success is mixing larger-scale patterns with smaller-scale ones.’
Featured image: This scheme by Helen Green Design uses soft furnishings, lighting, furniture and accessories to create a sophisticated, unified open plan space, but with clear zones for different functions