Desired for their hospitable no-walls concept, open living room designs present a few decorating challenges. Here's how to link different areas, define zones, add style, and establish flow in open spaces.
Take your cue from a kitchen's costly-to-change fittings and duplicate their colors in softer textures in an adjacent sitting area. This sofa's slightly rumpled slipcover fabric repeats the grayish tones of the streamlined appliances and stone countertops. The area rug and throw pillows echo the kitchen cabinets' ruddy undertones and black painted details.
Open concept floor plans have many advantages, but present a few challenges too. Watch and learn how to tackle some of the most common hurdles.
When it comes to painting great rooms, it's sometimes hard to know when to start and stop applying color. The simplest solution? Paint all adjoining walls and architectural details the same color so as not to disrupt visual flow. Further the link between kitchen, eating, and sitting areas with similarly hued accents. In this great room, sage green, silvery gray, brown, and white tones supply chromatic connections.
Stylishly separate work and entertaining areas in ways that let views and conversation easily flow from space to space. Partial walls, strategically set islands, breakfast bars, columns, and dropped or raised ceilings do just that. In this family space, knotty pine boards and timbers accentuate kitchen doorways and frame the breakfast bar to create the look of a large pass-through window.
Though a properly placed sofa noticeably marks a transition from one space to the next, beefier furniture arrangements do the trick in a more impactful way. Extend a sofa's presence, while hiding its not so-pretty back, with a console table that suits your decorating preferences. Stow good-looking baskets holding TV-room necessities underneath the table to make the arrangement appear more substantial.
Make sure that open-concept spaces read as one cohesive whole. Lay the same type of flooring in all areas and duplicate ceiling treatments whenever possible. When it wasn't feasible to add beams to the dining room ceiling, the homeowner carried the living room's tongue-and-groove board details to the dining room ceiling.
When planning cooking, eating, and relaxation stations, consider what you want to see from each area. Place your sink or cooktop in an island so as you work, you can enjoy a hearth's flickering flames, watch your kids as they play, talk with guests, and take in panoramas framed by doors or large windows in adjacent areas.
Hang eye-catching light fixtures to distinguish different areas in an open floor plan. For continuity's sake, choose like-minded light fixtures that mirror a material, a color, or a finish used elsewhere in the great room. Underscore the separation of spaces by picking style-apt lights sporting dissimilar silhouettes.
Open-concept plans are popular because they allow eyes and feet to move freely from area to area. Create walkways at least 36 inches wide that direct and carry traffic safely through the different spaces. Pay attention to furniture height and where hanging light fixtures fall to ensure that sightlines remain unblocked.
A clever ceiling treatment and horizontal white painted boards on the walls immediately identify this as one space. Thoughtful furniture arrangements double its purpose to include television-watching seating anchored by an area rug and a more intimate grouping meant for conversation. Splashy aqua hues, popping up as banding on slipcovered chairs, floral patterned pillows, and solid-hued club chairs, supply a vibrant link.
Incorporate a focal point in each adjacent space. These look-at-me elements capture the eye, while improving how the space works. This open-concept design showcases four standout features: A mirrored bar area, a paneled television wall, light-inviting breakfast room windows, and a steely range-hood set against a marble backsplash, make one area as visually appealing as the next.
Built-in bookcases extend into a sitting area to handily unite work and relaxation zones, while supplying display shelves and behind-closed-doors storage for the family room. Shifting shades of tan on the kitchen and family room walls subtly delineate the two different areas. Want to create a similar look? Choose two shades of the same color from a paint-chip strip; the farther apart the shades, the greater the contrast.
Lay the groundwork for managing wide-open spaces. Arrange cozy conversation groupings, each defined with its own area rug; spotlight each group with an impressive ceiling-mounted fixture. In this large lounge, a pair of statuesque lamps set atop a console subtly divides two sitting areas without blocking sightlines or conversation.