The Dos and Don’ts of Open Plan living Harrogate
Open-plan living: a perpetual fashion, or simply a better way to live? In some cases, perhaps it’s the most expedient way to go – the creation of conversion apartments, say – but homeowners do seem to be constantly talking about ‘knocking through’ to the dining room, say, or extending the kitchen out over the patio. Or both: a kitchen might conceivably be extended and then combined with a dining room and living room to create a living space.
The effect, clearly, is to create more room, whilst maintaining purpose and functionality. But what’s the point if the homeowner is not taking full advantage of the space created? Once the actual renovation and/or extension work is completed, the added room still needs to be utilised and styled in a way that fully exploits the benefits on offer.
Here at Arora Construction, we certainly know a thing or two about undertaking renovations and extensions: whether to undertake one or the other, or perhaps both, to maximum effect, for example. It’s a knowledge born from skill and experience, but the thing about experience is that not all of it is necessarily good. The point, therefore, is to observe and absorb, using the good, the bad and, yes, the ugly to inform and advise. And in our years of extending and renovating, we think we’ve seen enough to offer a few helpful pointers:
- The most obvious is to divide a large space into smaller areas, each with its own purpose. What might have been the living room is now a chill-out area, with sofas and chairs, say, surrounding a TV. Avoid putting furniture against a wall, though, as it tends to make the space feel smaller. Besides the living space, a kitchen space tends to be the other common destination area. There might also be a bar area, say, close to the kitchen, with stools, and a work area with a table and chair for a computer.
- There needs to be a balance across the areas. Otherwise, with too much furniture in one part of the living space, the general appearance might be lop-sided. There should be a (roughly) equal spread of furniture throughout.
- Avoid putting too much furniture in there – like too many chairs, for example. Consider too how the objects are placed.
- Maintain a visual connection across the space, so somebody cooking in the kitchen area can talk to someone, say, in the living area.
- Keep the space looking and feeling open by avoiding the use of dark colours. That means having neutral coloured furniture and plain coloured walls. Different shades work, in the sense that they might create focal points, but to really draw attention then use artwork or, perhaps, wallpaper.
- Be smart with lighting. You can create a warm, homely atmosphere if you so desire by using small table lamps. They can be switched on during the evening to create a cosy feel in a space.
- Highlight the dining area, for example, by using a pendant lighting feature that really emphasises the presence of the dining table.
- Use wooden flooring, since it maintains the sense of a large, spacious room. Then use rugs for areas to create a more intimate feel. The rugs will help ‘anchor’ the furniture in the room; otherwise you won’t get a sense of identity – ‘That’s the chill out area, that’s the eating area’ etc – it’ll just look like a big mess. For definite, place rugs in the living room area and the dining room area.
- Make sure there’s space for travel. What we’re talking about here is akin to that feeling you sometimes get in a busy bar or pub, where you’re stood quite close to the bar, say, or the toilets: people are always brushing past. Unless you’re a complete party animal, your home will probably experience nothing like that much traffic; nevertheless, there should be plenty of space for people to move between room entries and exits.
It’s all pretty commonsensical but, still, we hope that this advice helps. For more information about our house extension service please contact us either by phone on 01423 866606 or simply complete the contact form and let us know what type of project you have in mind.