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How to zone an open plan home

These days, the traditional floor plan has gone through a major transformation. Decades ago, you would have seen the main hallway entrance to a home serve as a pathway to all the different rooms. The kitchen would have traditionally been placed at the back of a house, and certainly wouldn’t have been used as a social space but as an entrance for staff. Entertaining would have taken place in the living and dining areas of the home, with the kitchen strictly off limits to guests. Kitchens have become much more than just a room to cook in – they’re stylish, inviting spaces where friends can gather while you whip up an unforgettable feast.

It was a revolutionary period for interior design around the mid-20th century. After World War II, people started opening up their homes to create a sense of togetherness and connection with others. But it wouldn't have been possible without major innovations in construction materials and central heating systems – steel constructions and other breakthroughs made open plan designs so much easier to achieve. It was a huge step forward for interior design and it's something we still enjoy the benefits of today.

Open plan living spaces also bring their own challenges - from sound echoing round the room to heating bills that seem never-ending! Home-working has certainly become the norm for many of us, but if you have no designated office, it can be difficult to zone off with privacy.

If your home is on the open plan side, it's important to have a place where everything has its designated home. That way, the space can be kept neat and tidy (even if you're working from home). Investing in storage solutions and multi-purpose furniture is a great way to make the most of the space. With a little bit of creativity and organisation, you can make your open plan living area feel homely, functional and conducive to productivity.


There are certain solutions that you can try to help “zone” your open plan living areas at home without the need to put walls back up. This can increase a sense of privacy, will reduce the noise that travels and rid you of the issue of having a vast, echoey and impersonal space.

Rugs are essential to defining different areas. They'll not only bring warmth and texture to the interior, but can help create a visual distinction between rooms too. Rugs come in a variety of styles and materials, from classic and traditional to modern and contemporary, allowing you to define each space in a unique way. Having the same floor running throughout your home will give an elegant, unified look, but adding rugs can really bring it to life! They're perfect for delineating between living rooms, dining areas and more - creating a sense of flow while still giving each space its own character. With so many options available, you're sure to find the perfect rug for every area in your home. Best of all, rugs are a relatively inexpensive way to give your interior an instant facelift - so why not start shopping today? You'll be amazed at how much difference they make!

The positioning of furniture is a sure fire way to define an interior. A corner sofa or modular version is an option as one side can be used as a low division between two areas.

Lighting plays a huge part in helping to create a divide too. Table and floor lamps, overhead, wall and task lighting are all available. A kitchen for instance will require brighter task lighting for cooking and preparing food, whilst an entertaining social space might require something a little calmer and more ambient. A pendant that hangs over a dining table will wow your guests, and if it’s on a dimmer switch, you’ll could create varying moods with lamp and wall combinations.

Glass walls create a divide with no effect on the way light can filter through.

Open shelving is the perfect way to divide your rooms without having to go through the hassle of putting up walls. Not only will it be cost-effective but you can use it to keep all your favourite trinkets and ornaments on display. Have them open on both sides so that light passes through, creating a connectedness between your living areas. You can also incorporate glass walls or doors for the same effect. Not only will it create a visually stunning look, but it'll help you define your living space too. If you want to really make an impact, why not mix and match different materials? You could have wood shelving on one side and glass panels on the other - whatever you decide, it'll add a unique touch to your home. So don't be afraid to get creative and think outside the box.

Paints are the perfect way to define an interior space. Photo: Michele Beatty

There’s always that old debate that crops up about feature walls… are they in or out? Regardless, if you like them they’ll never go out of fashion. And they zone your home in an instant! If you’d rather not use bolder contrasting colours in different spaces and want to stick to a neutral theme, then you can always go for a lighter or darker variation of the same tone. Little Greene Paint Company offer a selection of paint colours in Light, Mid and Dark tones. You’ll also get the same effect with Dulux on one of their paint colour charts. By choosing a darker tone in a space with less natural light, you can give the impression of depth here, saving the lighter paints for the brighter rooms.


Well there you have it! How have you divided your open plan space? What has worked, or hasn’t in your own home? Please comment and share your own tips and tricks!


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