When done well, open-plan spaces have well defined areas centred around activity, yet consistency through colour, furniture, window treatments and styling to ensure the all important flow is respected. Don’t worry, if all that sounds a bit much, here are some simple tips to create successful open-plan spaces…

Start with a plan: Drawing a furniture plan before you start lugging existing furniture around, or buying new items which don’t work in the space, is a practical idea to avoid disappointment. Get your tape measure out and think carefully about what it is you’re trying to achieve. Tip: In a living area, one of the most important things you need to decide first is where the TV goes. There is usually only one option and then everything else needs to stem from that.

Defining zones: Despite being open, a multi-purpose area needs to be able to do many things. Rugs, artwork, plants, accessories and even a feature wall are great options to define a space. Tip: Cleverly placed lighting, whether a feature standing lamp in the lounge, or some low hung pendant lights over a dining table, are simple effect ways to give purpose to an area.  

Go with the flow: Use furniture cleverly – choose low back sofas and furniture to suit the space. Your dining table needs to work with the furniture that’s over in the living area and a single theme or colour scheme is the key. Tip: Don’t block off entrance ways and windows and ensure both your eye and your feet can make their way through the space seamlessly.

Noise: Big open plan areas with hard floors can be really, really, noisy. Sound-proofing bedrooms will muffle a blaring TV or dinner party brouhaha and adding soft surfaces like rugs and artwork help absorb sound. Items like a large a bookcase full of books will also suck up a lot of the sound.

Mess: Being able to see from space to space means you can see everything and mess in one area often means mess in another. Add kids to the mix and it can be a housekeeping nightmare. You’ll want to maximise storage at every opportunity and be clever with your cabinetry. Tip: Lots of furniture products have really discreet storage like sofas and beds that lift up with storage underneath.