How to zonally break up an open-plan room
Open-plan design is a great way to open up a space and bring in more light. However, this style of design requires you to think a lot more carefully about how you can zonally break up the space. It is important that you understand how to undertake successful zonal divides within the room. For example, the atmosphere generated in the kitchen is one of hunger, stimulation, and creativity, whereas a lounge will be a soothing, relaxing atmosphere.
When you first start setting out the floorplan think about the different zonal areas you have and how they relate or differ to one another. For instance, you don’t want to locate a kitchen in the centre of open-plan layout because you don’t want children running through a kitchen when you have a pan full of boiling water on the hob. Accidents like this should be considered when exploring how the zones relate to one another.
Furniture and flooring is a great way to create this divide. Different zones will naturally require different flooring; you typically use softer finishes in a lounge, and harder, easy to clean surfaces like tiles or vinyl flooring in kitchens, this is because it makes cleaning up any mess easier. It’s important to remember that hard floors like tiles are likely to bounce and amplify noise. When creating an open plan design it’s important that you consider circulation and the location of key furniture (like a sofa). If you are reading this and already have an existing open plan space, which only uses one type of flooring across the whole design, you can use soft finishes, such as rugs to create that divide with the lounge. You can also create this soft divide by adding a curtain or blind into your design, the use of a curtain will also minimise the amount of noise travelling across the space.
When it comes to the use of furniture to zonally divide a room, there are some easy quick fixes. One of these is to use semi-transparent objects, like a fringe curtain, or a fish tank/planting unit or a bamboo wall. Items like shelving units although bulky, can also provide a good divider, this is because the negative spaces it create, as well as having the shelving unit accessible from both sides, means a sense of flow and accessibility is still there. The objects filling the shelf can generate aesthetics for both sides. Don’t forget objects like vases or sculptures can be places within units, you don’t have to be confined to just books.
Sliding doors and glass panels are good in open-plan design as they are able to close off an open plan space and generate that private cosier feeling. You can also use screens to create this divide. The beauty of this style of zonal divide is that the extent to which each zone flows and integrates can be altered according to the occasion.
In kitchen spaces, you can use islands and worktops to generate this sense of zonal differentiation. They can integrate the hustle and bustle of the kitchen with its busy prep areas into a relaxed, social bar/dining /drinks area, this integration is a great way to start to provide that divide without cutting the kitchen off from the rest of the room.
With any open plan design it is extremely important that everything flows, you don’t want it too look like you’ve just thoughtlessly placed total opposing room styles next to eachtoeher. You can create different atmospheres whilst maintaining a flow by how you integrate colour into your design. The main danger with zonal division in a room is that the different areas you create don’t go together as a whole.
Don’t forget that when you plan an open space, you want to keep the rest of the design of the house in mind. Creating an open-plan can transform your interior to quite a modern atmosphere, so try to make sure that this open space integrates with the rest of the design.
Lighting is a great way to divide a space zonally, when you think of a kitchen, you typically want a clear, natural light, something bright for cooking. In a dining area, you may want statement lighting, whichever lighting you choose here can act as a centrepiece to dining room. However, in a lounge, you will want either natural or mood lighting, that can generate that lovely cosy atmosphere.