How to design an open-plan setting

Advice and ideas for creating a daytime area tailor-made for you

A functional living zone that is ideal for socialisation

The whole point of an open-plan layout is for people to gather together and socialise. It is a place with a split personality. On the one hand, it is designed for cooking and food preparation, on the other, it is meant for relaxation so you need to include a lounging corner and a table for guests to sit around at lunchtime or dinner. And if there isn’t much space? There are plenty of solutions for anyone who wants an open-plan kitchen/living room that will provide you with all the basic functions while leaving enough space for entertaining. For instance, an extendable table is definitely an idea to be taken into consideration. In its short version, it serves as a practical surface in the kitchen, but, whenever you need, it can be pulled out to become a comfortable table with room for all your guests to sit around and eat.

Personality in an open-plan layout: an island kitchen

Whenever there is an abundance of space, there really is only one option for a characterful open-plan layout - an island kitchen. Multifunctional, majestic and highly practical: the island becomes the natural hub of a living area that is meant to be shared with others and encourages communication. The cooktop takes pride of place in the middle of the room and has been integrated into the countertop because it is meant for two chefs to work together; if you add a breakfast bar, the island is not only destined for food preparation, but also ideal for eating meals together. A composition like this lends itself to mixing & matching finishes and materials. It will be fun and easy to play with different styles, link and contrast colours and find combinations that brighten the whole place, including the lounging zone.

Exploit vertical surfaces to carve out more space

Regardless of whether you are working with a large room or a small setting, don't underestimate the space-enhancing value of vertical surfaces because they will come in extremely handy from many points of view. Walls can be exploited almost up to ceiling height for storage systems, shelving, tall units or standalone elements. This will prevent a small open-plan setting from being too cluttered without any loss of space for stowing objects. The right mixture of closed cabinets and open shelving on walls will also be a clever choice in large open-plan environments because they create a sensation of breeziness and also serve as strategic containers for showcasing art objects. 

A flowing environment organised into distinct areas

When you design an open-plan living zone, you must cater for the fact that it channels two different moods: the practicality of a kitchen and the mellowness of a lounge. These two halves must intersect and coexist without detriment to the core identity of either one. Sometimes just a splash of colour or a strategically placed accessory is enough to create a visual partition between the different parts of an open-plan space. A kitchen island could be both a bridge and partition that cordons off the food-preparation area from the relaxation zone, and different colours and finishes will also contribute to zoning off and tying together the various elements. Different nuances of the same shade can be used to connect the zones, but contrasting hues will also do as long as there are similarities between details. Another solution is a carpet. Large, visually striking and bright: it will stylishly demarcate the eating zone and the relaxation area.