Open plan living is about more than just removing a wall to create a kitchen-diner.
An increasingly popular look, ‘open plan’ is more of a lifestyle choice than a decorating decision. To meet the demands of our busy modern lifestyles, today’s spaces need to combine kitchen, dining area, study, entertaining space and family life in one coherent and stylish room. And this means furniture manufacturers and designers are increasingly imagining ways to create coordinated furniture that will work perfectly across the home.
This trend is not as ground-breaking as we would like to think, as families have been living in multifunctional spaces for centuries, however this was often out of necessity and not by design. Today we are living in relatively small spaces; the typical one-bedroomed new build is apparently the same size as a carriage on the Tube according to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). So in a smaller space it makes sense to have fewer separate rooms, and a coordinated look that blurs the lines between the different living areas, so that we can extend the dining table into the living area for a really big family meal, or move it out of the way entirely for a party. Open plan living paves the way for true flexibility.
Increasingly we are being asked to design a ‘living kitchen’ where matching furniture for an adjacent study, dining or living room creates a cohesive living space. If these spaces are in view of the kitchen, this design approach makes perfect sense. Channel 5’s House Doctor was an advocate for a unified colour palette throughout the home, to create a single look and feel for the entire property. Designing a larger open plan living space presents just the same opportunity when both colour scheme and furniture design are combined.
The latest trend towards wall-hung units, and an increasing choice of glass door options create great opportunities to add storage in any room of the house, and this works for both traditional and contemporary styles. If your supplier can design bespoke units in any dimensions, you can have the cabinet dimensions you actually want, rather than depending on off-the-shelf furniture which will not coordinate well with the rest of the space.
Widescreen TVs and their attendant boxes, routers and wiring are a case in point. They look odd and untidy perched on a TV unit that is too small, and spoil the clean lines of your new kitchen. So speak to your designer about the range of shelving and cabinet options for your dining, study and living spaces and get the streamlined, open plan look you’ve always wanted.