When Openness Is Too Much of a Good Thing
Identifying the Problem Areas
Open floor plans are a wonderful way to make a home feel inclusive. However, no walls and ill-defined areas can leave us with too much visibility, and at times, even a lack of understanding on how to use the house in particular. When faced with too much of an open space plan dilemma, start with a walk. Begin at the front door and think about your process and needs as you walk in the door. Put yourself in a guest’s position and think about how, where and when they can and should use the areas in question. By going through the motions in your head, you will already set yourself up for easier delineation planning.
Once you’ve determined a plan, use pieces like bookcases to serve as a temporary and open-feeling walls. Because they are typically less severe in their finality, either because they are open or not fully to the ceiling, they set you up for a nice perimeter check, all the while providing something pleasurable and colorful to look at and enjoy. Consoles also serve this purpose well. Lower in nature, they work well as a partition in an entryway or at the back of a sofa to help anchor the space. When choosing a console, think of how it interacts with the piece you are pairing it with, ensuring it can do double duty on storage and surface space provision. By being able to fill a console with say, something like books, you further help someone understand where one space ends and where another begins through the purpose you have now created.
Another great way to create a more palatable perimeter is to use the right chair groupings. Since chairs vary a great deal in height, proportion, size, color and texture – similar pieces can help tie down the size of a room, giving you a great advantage to how you see the space. Space planning and room arrangements clearly define a space that can feel too open, bringing back to within your grasp, a comfortable space you’ll want to spend lots of time in!
Area rugs are also great definers. Living rooms can easily feel untethered without a rug to ground them. They immediately signal to anyone – this is for example, where the living room begins and say the entryway ends.
Paint the Walls
Don’t underestimate how your wall color defines any space that feels too open. The right, cohesive, palette serves to really highlight space and how it continues on or envelops you. By getting a palette right the first time, you immediately feel an area fits the home and how you feel in it. Different colors can help create different feelings – like how white helps accentuate architecture and can keep a room feeling clean and calm. Our design team is happy to help you find the perfect color values, just reach out and let us know.
Lastly, don’t forget to get creative and have fun. Dressing screens and plants can be used creatively to break up a space as can large baskets or pots. The key to an open-plan space is to give everyone clear direction so it quickly makes sense to enjoy.