A Few Ideas for Open-Plan Living

A Few Ideas for Open-Plan Living

Susie Nadler
May 5, 2009
Having a large open space in your home which functions as several rooms at once is a wonderful luxury, but also a decorating challenge. It's difficult enough to establish a workable, dynamic layout in a little box of a room, but trying to configure many little vignettes in a room without walls and doors can be downright perplexing. Click through for some inspiring open-plan interiors and the ideas we gleaned from them...


1 Choose large statement pieces, like the two Chinese armoires in this photo from Living Etc, to anchor the dominant area of the room. The collection of birdcages emphasizes the symmetry even further, giving the eye a concrete place to land in that wide open space.

2 Rugs are also a great way to delineate the space, creating little "rooms" within the larger room. Here a round textured rug works well for the lounge area, while a more formal rectangular rug defines the dining room. The low arrangements of branches on the floor also provide some demarcation, emphasizing the architectural details that break up the room. (Image also from Living Etc.)

3 In this open-plan room from an upcoming house tour, a large, contrasting solid-color rug has the same effect as actual walls without breaking up the lovely light and air in the space.

4 Shelving units are another great way to define a room-within-a-room. We've got an open shelf next to our dining table to give that area of the room some weight (a counterpoint to the large sofa in the nearby living area).

5 Statement chandeliers create separate focal points for each area of this open-plan space (from Inspace Locations).


6 Another example of dramatic lighting used to demarcate an open place. The three large pendants over the dining table here add interesting depth and contrast against the outdoor view beyond. (Image from Aun and Su-Lyn's home on Design*Sponge.)

7 Architectural details, like the fireplace and inset niche along the far wall in this room from Airspace, are a great help in dividing an open space. If you're lucky enough to have some lovely details, work with what you've got, be it exposed beams, columns, staircases, molding, etc.

8 The aforementioned exposed beams give this open room from House Beautiful some structure.

Do you have an open-plan room in your home? If so, how do you handle the decorating challenge?

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