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Another transitional element, a pair of wood columns, visually separates the dining room from the adjacent living area.
A low, built-in bookcase carves out an entry hall in this open-plan bungalow. The tapered column punctuates the transition from entry to living area and reflects the Arts and Crafts architectural style of the house.
Wood columns and decorative millwork rise from low half-walls to define the dining room without closing it off from the entry. The half-wall continues around the room as wainscoting, and square pilasters frame the windows, mirroring the entry columns for a unified look.
A floor-level change and a broad passage delineate this family room from an eat-in kitchen, sharing views while preserving a separate identity for each space. The family room's lowered floor lets the ceiling truly soar.
Support columns serve double duty when fitted with open shelves. The display areas visually divide the entry from the family room without shutting off either space.
Open transoms above each door and at the top of the wall in between enhance the connection between the two spaces.
Both a storage wall and a style statement, these floor-to-ceiling built-ins share views between adjacent rooms. Integrated spotlights illuminate treasures on the high shelves.
The crown molding and trimwork in this kitchen and family room are virtually identical (apart from their contrasting finishes), creating visual harmony throughout the space. A change in levels helps separate the cozy sitting room from the cooking and dining areas.
A row of wood columns on paneled pedestals further subdivides the space, separating the dining room from the kitchen while preserving the expansive feeling of the open floor plan.
To open up the room-to-room flow that encourages social engagement, limit the number of walls that you use to define separate spaces. A wall that drops like a curtain from the ceiling to the floor offers a backdrop for dining but permits the flow of light and views.
An L-shape knee wall wraps around the baby grand piano to enhance the acoustics, but it also defines the living room without enclosing it.
Bookend a multifunctional island with cabinetry to underscore its role in subdividing a great-room/kitchen. Paneled cabinets at each end of this island mimic wainscoting, enhancing the illusion of partial walls that direct traffic around rather than through the work zone.
Built-ins topped with faux plantation shutters provide visual transition between the master bedroom and the adjacent sunken sitting room.
An open plan feels cozy when architecture creates a sense of individual spaces within it. Here a limestone fireplace fronts a partial wall dividing the living and dining rooms. Limewashed timbers set off a gallery along one side of the space.
Light flows between the master bedroom and master bath shower thanks to a wall of glass—a textured, semi-opaque panel and a section of transparent window. Sharing light and views enhances the sense of space in both rooms.
To provide transition from the flat ceiling of the kitchen to the arched beadboard ceiling of the sitting area, pilasters and a broad arch frame the wide opening. The trimwork offers a subtle visual cue that you're leaving one room and entering another.
A mahogany bar from an English pub finds a new home dividing this kitchen from its living area. Guests can sit at the bar and talk to the cook without even entering the kitchen.
Custom glass shelves suspended from metal cables display a collection of glassware and ceramics in this dining room. The shelves act as a wall dividing the dining room from the adjacent passage, giving the home a look of openness.
An opening between the family room and kitchen makes the spaces seem bigger and provides shelves for display to personalize the home.
A column and half-wall mark the boundary between the master bedroom and the sitting area, connecting the two visually while giving each a separate identity.
The half-wall also encloses one end of the built-in cabinets and bookcase. Topped by shuttered windows, the built-ins add functionality to the master bedroom by eliminating the need for a freestanding chest of drawers.
A partial wall separates the kitchen and the dining room but still lets traffic, air, and light move between the rooms. Reaching a few feet shy of the ceiling and leaving floor space on each end, the partition screens the dining area from the kitchen but keeps the feeling of a great-room.
Panels of sandblasted glass framed in dark-stained wood separate the bedroom from the dressing area in this California Modern home. Textured glass provides privacy but preserves the airy ambience of the open floor plan.
A room divider with glass shelves and an open serving area separates the kitchen and dining room, but sunlight can still flow through. Mirrored panels on the drawers bounce light back into the room, enhancing the feeling of openness. Black paint inside the wine cabinets echoes the dark cabinetry in the kitchen beyond, creating another visual link between the two areas.
Lofts satisfy the desire for generous living space but they also call for creativity in addressing the natural desire for functional zones.
At the far end of this room, a sculptural wall consisting of a steel frame clad in plywood and drywall is layered over panels of naturally oxidizing steel and 200-pound sheets of glass. The combination of art and industrial materials separates the home office from the rest of the loft.
Lengths of linen encircle the bedroom area in this loft, separating it from the formal dining area/study. The draperies give a sense of enclosure and delineate private space from public space in a setting that celebrates openness.
A freestanding media cabinet stops the eye between the living room and dining room but doesn't interfere with views through the house. Ornamental oak timbers outline the wide openings that connect one room to the next, echoing the original timber-frame farmhouse at the back.
In this small space, stepped walls separate the bedroom into zones—entrance, sleeping, and bathing—while preserving an overall sense of openness.To further enlarge the sense of space, a translucent panel behind the head of the bed backs up to shelves in the living room and allows for the passage of light.
A floor-to-ceiling double-sided gas fireplace divides a long, narrow room into sitting and dining areas. Each area benefits from the cozy fire. Commercial-grade glass panels inserted into one wall let light in from a stairwell skylight.
In this long, narrow space, the island forms one hardworking side of a galley kitchen. To provide visual and physical separation from the living and dining areas at each end, the island is flanked by tall, custom-built glass-front bookcases.
Square columns frame the boundary between the entry hall and the living room. When ceiling heights change dramatically from one space to the next as they do here, columns provide visual weight and a sense of grandeur to mark the transition.