The key to decorating an open-plan room is to zone and define the different areas within the space. You can do this with everything from furniture to focal points – follow our expert guide to find out how
Pic: California Shutters
Put the kitchen in the right place
The kitchen takes precedence in the layout – and needs lots of wall space for cupboards and appliances, so get that nailed first, ensuring if possible that it isn’t a thoroughfare to the rest of the room. Consider, too, how to separate it from the rest of the room – perhaps with an island or peninsula, hiding appliances and fittings, such as the microwave or bins, within it so that they can’t be seen from the living space.
Find room for dining and lounging
Ideally, the dining area should be nearest the kitchen, with the living space closer to patio doors or windows overlooking the garden.
Pic: Cue & Co
Choose your style
Forget colour schemes for now, an open-plan room will only work if the style throughout is complementary and consistent – in other words, there’s no point in going for a contemporary kitchen if your dining table and living space are going to be distinctly traditional.
Choose a colour scheme
An open-plan space needs to be light and well co-ordinated to feel restful and spacious, so start with a neutral background colour – for walls and floors – that can run throughout the room. Next, choose a stronger, bolder shade as your main accent and a paler, toning colour as your second accent. You can use these shades in furniture, accessories and window dressings to bring the whole scheme together.
Pic: Marks & Spencer
Use furniture to divide your open-plan space
Planning an island or peninsula for your kitchen is the perfect way to separate the cooking area from the dining space, but you can also use the dining table between the kitchen and living zones to do a similar job. Want to separate the living area from the rest of the room? Choose a high-backed sofa and put its back to the kitchen/diner.
Consider your focal points
Each part of the room needs to have a focal point to help create definition. This might be eye-catching light fittings over the kitchen island that complement a beautiful bowl on the dining table that co-ordinates with a painting in the living area. Get the picture?
Pic: California Shutters
Define the zones further with lighting
Ideally, each zone in the room should be on a separate lighting circuit so that you can control them individually. In reality, this might mean having bright task lighting on in the kitchen, dimmed pendants over the dining table and softly lit table lamps in the living space all at once. The goal is to be able to create the appropriate mood for each area of the room at the flick of a switch.
Dress the windows
When it comes to window dressings, it’s not just about how they look – practicalities come into force, too. Curtains in a kitchen space are a definite no – they attract everything from kids’ fingerprints to splattered food. Our advice? Choose practical, wipeable window dressings, such as shutters – and don’t forget that ours can be colour-matched to co-ordinate with your scheme.
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