How to Furnish Open Concept Spaces the Right Way
So you’re considering knocking down that wall between the kitchen and the living room, or maybe you’ve recently acquired a home with an open floor plan. What next? Before you go wild and dive headfirst into designing the space, here are a few points to consider to help you maximize your open concept space.
Figure Out Your Floor Plan
While it may be tempting to buy a large, plush sofa or throw in your favorite chunky lounge chair, the last thing you’ll want to happen is to run out of space before you’re finished. Before you start shopping for furniture or bringing in your old pieces, think about how much space you have to work with, how you want to divide and arrange the space, and how much foot traffic space you want to leave (three feet is the minimum for comfortable movement). This will help avoid crowding and enable ease of access between and within spaces.
Use Furnishings to Delineate Spaces
Even though your furniture will clearly display the intended use of each space, using a gorgeous rug or a sleek pendant light as a feature element not only gives the space a unique and defining quality, it’ll help create an understated division. This will also add a pop of character, so the individual spaces of your open space concept don’t fall flat with safe or overly minimal designing.
Keep Your Space Open
An open floor plan is valuable, so why divide it with visual barriers? Partitioning the space defeats the purpose of having an open concept space, and it physically gets in the way of time spent together.
But if your space is a little too wide-open for your liking, go with an open shelving unit; this will create division while still maintaining a sense of openness. Try not to furnish your shelving unit with too much or too loud décor, as it will distract the eye’s line of sight from space to space.
If a partition isn’t part of the plan, then all you need to do is refrain from using tall furniture that will visually anchor one area more than the others.
Keep it Consistent
When the entire room is within sight, it’s easier to notice the subtle inconsistencies that break up the space. Stay consistent with floor material, wall color and recessed lighting throughout the entirety of the area; doing so will keep everything streamlined within peripheries. If you want a little bit of diversity, then stick with complementary paint colors or add different textural accents.
Work with What You’ve Got
Because you have less walls, that also means you have less storage space. To remedy this problem, use your remaining empty wall space for built-in shelves. Or turn the base of a kitchen island or bar into hidden storage compartments. You could also consider using multi-functional pieces, such as a coffee table that doubles as a storage box or a sofa designed with exterior surrounding shelves.
Open floor plans are popular for a reason. They offer the illusory effect of making a space seem larger, the space feels lighter with less obstructions, time spent together is no longer divided and they promote design creativity and resourcefulness. These are only a few ways to get the most out of an open floor plan. Leave a comment below and let us know your great ideas on how to best to furnish an open concept space.
Yvette is a Site Merchandiser for YLiving. Her deep appreciation for design stems from a background in art history and interior design. During her off hours, she enjoys ogling cute animals, reading, catching up on TV series, following blogs, and enjoying the quirks of California's Bay Area.