Home Content // Open or Broken-Plan? A New Design Trend*

2018 is going to be the year where I really get in top of my house (but lets face it, I say this every year) and from the looks of things, I’m not the only one!

Houses have as many trends as fashion, and one of the more prominent ones from the last few years has been the multi-functional room. A room that accommodates everyone, serving as an open plan kitchen, diner and lounge, something that has been very popular in house layouts across the pond for decades but now it’s growing in popularity here in the UK.

However, once we have opened the British home from many small rooms, which was popular when many houses were built, to one big one, this is causing its own problems. One room zoned into specific areas for cooking, dining and relaxing appears to be a dream, but is the reality somewhat different? Harvey Jones, fitters of bespoke fitted kitchens, has been looking at that very reality;

Living in Open-Plan Spaces
When leading a sociable lifestyle, entertaining guests can be difficult in a cramped space. This is why open-plan spaces can seem like such a convenient solution. 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 lot of kitchens now feature an island which can have the hob, sink or simply an area to prepare facing the lounging or dining area.

Another reason for going open plan is the need to keep an eye on children. From toddlers playing to teens doing their homework, an open plan living area is popular for families as everyone can spend their evening in the same room after long days apart during school and work hours.

Apparently house sizes are decreasing, and because of this combining the kitchen and dining into one room is becoming a design trick to allow larger rooms in small space. You do have to be carefuly when planning a multi-functional room to ensure all zones work well together. This will also reduce privacy as your whole downstairs will become one area. No more watching TV in separate rooms! For some families having nowhere quiet to go while the kids watch TV or play can become a problem. Fewer walls also mean less space to put furniture, which can result in a room that’s crammed around the walls or jumbled in the centre.

Moving on From Open-Plan Living
This brings us to the new design trend for 2018, broken-plan living. The idea is to retain all the things you love about open-plan – such as the light and openness but at the same time zoning the space to allow for more privacy should you need it. Rather than doing this with colours and textures as you would in a true open-plan arrangements, broken-plan gives you more structural elements such as half-walls, dividing shelves, changing levels, walls of glass and even mezzanines to zone each area without creating a complete room.

But How Does This Trend Look?
This is the exact kind of design I have saved on Pinterest. Walls can be created by using boxed shelving and other furniture to define spaces that weren’t previously there in the room. This is a lifesaver for a small house that lacks storage. If you’re just starting your project, 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. Although you can use furniture to cordon off various parts of the room try not to do this too much as it will make the room feel cramped. And if money allows you can even look at pocket doors that slide out from the wall so the room isn’t always partitioned. Broken-plan spaces can accommodate changing floor and ceiling heights – helping to bring spaces together that usually wouldn’t work as an open plan space. With broken-plan living, the options are unlimited when it comes to your interior design space.

This trend is going to be huge for those embracing a modern look for their home as it’s all about being innovative. For the time being I’ll stick to my dreams about an open plan family friendly downstairs, but maybe that’ll change when she becomes a teenager!

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