Hello World! Welcome Friends! Multi-functional rooms are nothing new to many Brits & Americans, with many embracing these around their homes for a few years now. However, opening up the downstairs space of a home instead of having a number of small rooms does have problems as well as benefits.
To find out if a room that is zoned into specific areas perfect for dining, cooking and relaxing really is the best move when changing the look of your home, designer kitchens expert Harvey Jones has provided this insight:
The case for open plan living spaces
Under-used dining space that is knocked through into a smaller kitchen is one example of an open plan living space project, with the idea being to bring more light into the area and generally make the home feel a bit more open. For multi-functional rooms that include a kitchen, the benefits are clear. It prevents the cook from feeling isolated for a start. No more retiring to the kitchen for half an hour on your own to prepare meals. A bespoke kitchen scheme that includes an island or peninsula that looks out onto the rest of the space means that cooking and preparing food need no longer be a solitary process.
Keeping an eye on children is another popular reason for opting for an open plan living space. From toddlers playing to teens doing their homework, for busy families a space that performs several functions allows the family to spend time together even when they’re performing many different tasks.
Take note too that homes are getting smaller in general, which makes space much more valuable to occupants. A room allocated just for formal dining can seem an extravagance then, while a well-designed kitchen-diner allows you to prepare, cook and eat in the one room comfortably. However, you do have to be canny when planning a multi-functional room to ensure all zones work well together and recognize that this kind of layout will reduce privacy, particularly if you’re opening up the whole of your downstairs. Having nowhere quiet to retire while the kids watch TV or play can become a problem.
Another thing to consider is whether noise from appliances could disturb you or a pile of washing-up distract you just as you’re about to relax in front of the TV or enjoy a read of a favorite magazine or book. Fewer walls also mean less space to put furniture, which can lead to a room that’s crammed around the walls or jumbled in the center.
How broken-plan living comes in
Could the answer lie in broken-plan living — one of the latest trends to emerge in the home improvement scene?
Seen as a compromise because of the potential pitfalls which could be realized from undertaking an open-plan living project, the idea is to retain all the things you love about open-plan – particularly the light and openness – while at the same time zoning the space to allow for more privacy should you need it. Rather than doing this with colors and textures as you would in a true open-plan arrangement, broken-plan employs structural elements such as half-walls, dividing shelves, changing levels, walls of glass and even mezzanines to delineate and formalize areas for different uses.
Making broken-plan living work for you
Erecting ‘walls’ by using open boxed shelving units in a space that is already open is broken-plan living in one of its simplest forms. This will define the space between a kitchen and chilling out area. Of course, you don’t want to regress back to small poky rooms so don’t cram the shelves full of books – instead, artfully arrange a few favorite pieces to signal the change between one room and another and leave some of the shelves open to allow light to freely cascade from one zone to another. If you’re just starting your project then consider just knocking down half a wall and leaving the top open, allowing sight-lines through but at the same time giving you more wall space to play with. While hatches should remain a distinctly 70’s invention, a larger aperture in the wall between a kitchen and sitting room, for example, is a workable and modern substitute.
As an alternative, why not keep a ‘block’ of wall at each side of the open space instead of knocking out the sides completely? This will enable you to station pieces of furniture against these walls to signal different uses clearly but subtly. Also consider building in pocket doors that will slide out of sight into the walls when you want to join two rooms but can be closed quickly to create separation when needed.
For an additional stylish touch, Crittall-style windows can also be simply incorporated into the design of a broken-plan living plan. Metal framed windows and sometimes doors traditionally used in industrial spaces or as exterior walls onto gardens have celebrity fans such as TV presenter and architect George Clarke, who celebrates their ability to cleverly divide an internal space without shutting off one room totally from another. When joining two rooms together, different levels will often be an issue but broken-plan schemes can actively embrace changing floor and ceiling heights.
Which do you prefer? Open or closed plan living?
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