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Open plan living: Yay or Nay

Open plan living Yay or Nay

Open plan living: Yay or Nay

The lure of the convenience of open plan living seems so attractive – large airy kitchen – living areas looking out over the rolling hills with only a glazed wall separating you from the outdoor elements. Sounds like perfection doesn’t it. A la Grand Designs is all very impressive, but what are the downsides of the open plan living arrangement?

For the positives, open plan living does suit modern life, it’s easy to watch children playing and have various activities going on within one space. It’s sociable – like we all know – at a party you’ll always find people congregate in the kitchen. I guess it just means you’re closer to where the drinks are served.

Open plan living will also make your rooms seems lighter, brighter, purely as it will generally allow more light from more windows. Add in that glazed wall, or bi-fold doors, a sky lantern on even some additional Velux windows and you’re bound to let more light flood in. If you’re anything like me, more light and more sunshine makes us happy. Although I guess we can’t count on that in good ole’ blightly.

But what are the pitfalls of open plan? What do you need to consider when planning an open plan space? Here are a few pointers to think through when planning your communal living area:

  • Consider a separate utility room. If you need to put a washing machine or tumble dryer into the kitchen as part of an open plan space it’s going to make noise. And let’s be honest the sound of a 1200rpm spin at a dinner party probably isn’t what you planned.


  • When talking about appliances and on this note, look at their energy ratings. In and open plan environment those extra ££s for the quieter appliances may well be worth the investment.


  • Consider your floor covering. If you’re going ultra modern a high gloss tile might be appealing – and doesn’t it look fab in all the magazines?! But, if you have children, pets and anything close to everyday life it’s a nightmare. The gloss acts like a mirrored surface so every little piece of dirt or dust looks twice as bad. Trust me I learnt the hard way, or maybe I just need to clean more often.


  • Create zones. You can keep the feel of airiness even with zones; a cosier area for lounging with a the tv in situ or perhaps a darker corner for dining. Use furniture to separate spaces or change the floor covering, you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes.


  • One of the hardest parts of open plan living spaces is deciding where to place the TV. Naturally if you have sofas in there it will sit with them – but try and work it so that you can also see if from the kitchen area – it’s good for that dinner party prep.