Successful Design for Open Plan Living

Are you thinking about extending and opening up your house, creating an open plan living but not sure how to approach the design?  As someone who has spent countless hours researching my own renovation here is my quick list of top tips for getting it right:

    1. Zoning
      Just because everything is open plan doesn’t meant you should think of the area as a single space.  Think of the space in terms of zones, so for example you’ll probably have the kitchen area, dining area, perhaps even a lounging area.  In our case we incorporated a kids play area.  Identifying zones early in the process will help with getting the lighting right, sound system, TV points, furniture placement.  It sounds boring but getting the design right early can save you a lot of hassle and expense later.
    2. Lighting
      Once your zones are defined your lighting should reflect these different spaces. Your architect or builder should be able to help with this, ask about a lighting plan.  Try to avoid what I call the ufo effect, a whole ceiling covered in spotlights. So kitchen can have spots but also down/up lights.  Think about the more decorative lights as well above kitchen island or dining table.
    3. Storage
      Where are you going to put all your stuff. It’s a good idea to take stock of what you want around.  Do you have books you would like to display on a shelf? What about art, toys, games, etc. Again it’s wise to think about this at the beginning and build into the design. In our case this meant a built-in bookcase that we also use as a display cabinet.


  1. Big Furniture
    Incorporate this early into your design.  If you know that you want to fit a sofa into a particular corner it helps to know the dimensions so you can share with your architect and/or builder.  It’s a lot simpler to drive the design at the initial stages rather than later finding out that your dream layout wont’ fit a decent enough sofa.

I would love to hear about your projects.

Maggie x

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