Decorating an Open-Concept Living Space

When asking home buyers their number one wish list item, most will say they want an open-concept living space. Open-concept floor plans suit modern lifestyles and offer a number of benefits that older, compartmentalized homes just can’t match. Flow, space, light and unobstructed views are among the top reasons open-concept living is so popular today. For those who love to entertain or just want to keep an eye on the kiddos while cooking, a space that combines living, kitchen and dining areas makes daily life easier and more enjoyable.

As wonderful as open concept homes seem, decorating one large, uninterrupted space can be quite challenging. Make the most of your open-concept living space by maintaining a cohesive design throughout while creating visual separation to subtly delineate each area.

Divide and Conquer
Create separate areas based on function. Use furniture groupings to define your “rooms” allowing enough space between each to accommodate traffic flow. Avoid shoving your seating against the walls. Open plan seating areas look best when situated within the space and well away from the perimeter. Outline each space with painter’s tape on the floor to determine the optimum placement of furniture pieces. Anchor living and dining spaces with area rugs to further emphasize the division of space. If you feel the effect is still too cavernous, bring in freestanding shelving units to establish a greater sense of separation between each area. These clever dividers will create visual definition without obscuring sight lines.

Create Separation with Lighting

Lighting offers a discrete way to identify and separate each designated area within a large space. Choose fixtures that coordinate with one another to maintain a consistent look. For instance, in the living area, combine a lighted ceiling fan with recessed lighting, floor and table lamps to handle all your families lighting needs. A single chandelier over the dining table will provide ample illumination for mealtime. Separate the kitchen from the living area by installing a row of pendants above the kitchen island. Employ recessed and under cabinet fixtures to enhance the space and keep the resident gourmet happy.

Choose a Consistent Color Scheme

Tell a consistent color story. If you want to simplify your open-concept floor plan, keep the wall color the same all through the space. If your walls have distinct breaks or angles, you might want to consider a monochromatic paint palette. Use subtle variations of the same shade to indicate a focal wall or where one “room” ends and another begins. Coordinate your primary seating upholstery with those of your dining or breakfast nook chair covers. Use area rugs in complimentary colors. Take a cue from your kitchen cabinets and carry that wood tone into living and dining furniture.

Furnish and Accessorize Wisely
Select furnishings and small touches that give each area a singular presence, while creating a cohesive flow from space to space. Pretend you are decorating a single room and keep furniture and accent pieces in the same style. Try not to be too matchy-matchy, but make sure the elements are consistent. If you have a kitchen with a sparkling, glass tile backsplash, European cabinetry, leather and chrome barstools and stainless appliances, carry that look into your dining and living areas with a sleek, streamlined furniture and minimal accessories to create dynamic, contemporary vibe.

Use Uniform Window Coverings

As with paint color in an open-concept space, the best advice is to stay consistent by using uniform window coverings. If you prefer curtains, stick with the same fabric, color and pattern on each window. For extra privacy, light control and insulation, layer curtains over natural wovens, cellulars, roller shades, Romans or wood blinds, depending on your decor style. For the ultimate in simplicity, install crisp, white plantation shutters on each window opening for a clean, casual look.


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