Interior Decorating

Tips for Decorating Open Floor Plans

The open floor plan layout for interiors is becoming popular nowadays. It’s great for modern homes because it breaks the traditional walled home and allows free flow in an open space. It also allows plenty of light to come in the home, and it showcases how roomy and wide your house really is. However, pulling it off is a great challenge, because if executed poorly, your interior may lack warmth, privacy and intimacy you want in a house. Also, it may seem overwhelming to plan your furniture arrangement if your home has no defined areas. In an open concept home, it’s important to make sure that you define areas while keeping the look cohesive. Here are some tips and tricks for decorating an open floor plan home:

Create a focal point

In an open concept home, the lines between the living room, kitchen and dining room are blurred. To add definition, incorporate a focal point for each adjacent space. Let the room’s focal point guide you in adding furniture, and arrange it in a way that the pieces point to the focal point. Make sure that as you look at the elements that capture the eyes, it improves how the space works.

For instance, if you have a fireplace or a large wall where you can put an artwork or create a gallery wall, start there. Arrange the furniture around that starting with the largest ones, then work your way out from there. You may also paint a focal wall in a rich, contrasting color to make a striking focal wall.

Move furniture away from the walls

An open floor plan home with the sofa and kitchen island on the middle

To make best use of an open floor plan, float your furniture in the middle of the room. This will help maximize your space. The wall area is best used as a hall to move from one area to another. Since furniture for open floor plans are best placed away from the walls, it’s best to get those pieces that can be accessed from all sides, like a shelf that’s open on both sides, or a floating island for the kitchen. This adds functionality to your interior.

Define spaces using area rugs

This is the easiest way to define specific “rooms” in an overwhelmingly wide open space. In a large room, area rugs do not only serve as a protective and comfortable layer to the floor – they help ground the areas visually.  Since there are no natural divisions between rooms, the rugs can create them. For instance, you can place an area rug under the dining room table and place another nearby where the couches are facing inwards and where the coffee table lies. This way, you have visually defined and separated the dining room area from the living room area. To know more about how to choose the perfect area rug for a specific space, read here.

Create intimate conversation areas

An interior of an open floor plan home featuring the living room, dining room, entryway, home office area and some intimate conversation areas by the wall

If you have a large space, it is tempting to simply set up a huge sectional sofa and turn it towards the TV. However, planning a variety of seating throughout your large living room can give it a more intimate vibe. You can arrange cozy conversation groupings, each defined with its own area rug. For instance, you can group couches that points towards the TV and then group a couple of chairs beside the window or the walls to encourage conversation or quiet time.

Add architectural details

If your house doesn’t have architectural details like molding and paneling, consider adding some to aid in creating breaks between spaces. You can add wainscoting, for instance, in the dining room so that even if your walls have the same color all throughout the space, there’s a defining feature that helps differentiate the room from the adjacent spaces. Sometimes, all you need is to look for the corners and use them to define your areas.

Repeat elements for a cohesive look

To make an open floor plan work, it must feature several “rooms” that tie in with each other. Each area of the house must carry one or more common style elements. For instance, if you have brass legs for your dining chairs, match it with a brass chandelier or brass floor lamp in the living room. You can echo the stainless steel shine from your appliances in the kitchen by picking up a coffee table with chrome legs for the adjacent living room.

Use a cohesive color theme

A black and white modern interior of an open floor plan home

To help create visual continuity for your open concept home, decorate with a specific color scheme and repeat it for all the areas of your house. Using a monochromatic color scheme is the safest option, like in this photo. The walls are painted all white, and it uses a white kitchen island with white bar stools in the kitchen and it is echoed by the white couch. The black countertops mimic the black dining chairs in the dining area. Because of using a limited color palette, the interior looks put together. You may also do this with your architectural details by retaining paint all the trim in the same color.

Don’t forget to incorporate some patterns and accent colors as well. For instance, you may choose shades of yellow and seafoam to accent a white interior, and inject these colors through the throw pillows in your living room, accent wall for the dining room and your flower arrangement by the kitchen island.

Define spaces using light fixtures

Same as area rugs, light fixtures on the ceiling can help define specific areas in your house. A large space needs to be made warm and inviting, and it can be achieved with the help of adding a variety of light sources. You can hang an eye-catching chandelier in the middle of your living room area, and a series of pendant lights by the dining area. For continuity’s sake, choose both fixtures with the same finish or color, or choose a fixture that mirrors a color, material or finish that is used in the adjacent room.

Create a flow

The strength of open floor plans is their ability to allow the eyes and feet to relax and move freely from area to area. To make this work, make sure you plan walkways and encourage movement through the home by creating S-shaped walkways instead of only straight lines. The walkways must be at least 36 inches wide to be comfortable and to carry traffic safely. To do this, you have to make sure you calculate measurements and be mindful of the size of the furniture pieces you’re going to put inside. Also, pay attention to the height of the furniture pieces you pick. Make sure that sightlines remain unblocked, so keep your furniture low.

Make furniture work as dividers

The way you place your furniture is crucial for separating a single, large room into multiple areas. Use them to break up the space. For instance, you can place the couch in the middle of the room as it faces the TV on the wall while turning its back on the dining table. This way, you define that the area on the back of the couch is not part of the living room anymore. If the back of the couch is not so good-looking, you can hide it by placing a thin console table that matches the interior design, then stow some pretty baskets, table lamps and some magazines in there. You can also use a low bookcases or screens to break up spaces. However, avoid using high furniture pieces as dividers to keep the flow going (except maybe if you want to separate your bed area if there is no bedroom in your open floor plan space).

Bring in organic shapes

Since most open floor plans are already rectangular and angular in shape, it’s best to add some organic shapes and materials inside the home to help bring visual balance and a sense of hominess. Too much boxy stuff can make your interior looking all sharp yet uninviting. The best way to do this is to add round furniture pieces, like a round coffee table in front of your rectangular sectional couch, a round footstool or pouf, a round side table, and a curved floor lamp.

Make functional zones

When you set up an open concept home, you don’t just need to think about the general spaces. Also think about how you can break the space down further to maximize its use. For instance, you can place your couch area that focuses on the TV on one side and create a compact home office area on the remaining space. You may also place your kitchen island perpendicular to the kitchen cabinets to create a zone for a breakfast nook.

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